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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Wu

McAfee Theater

Style: Allegorical Narrative

Writer's Statement: Whenever I did my homework, I would often stare at my walls and feel unfulfilled by my Sisyphean task, and listen to Albert Camus' philosophy. I wanted the reader to experience what they and I already felt within those walls—chained, confided, and restrained. Only to find freedom through reading the allegory and seeing that if only we had that one education, one examination, one application, and one solitary eventual realization, then one could perceive the absurdity of our situation.


The theater was somber. Within its walls, we sat on chairs, restrained by pillories, and gazed ahead on a level incline. In front of thee—a stage loomed, a view obstructed, and a lecture conducted. None of us knew a life outside the theater.

A regal figure stood before us, their chin stood high up. The Man spoke to the speaker. They vowed a reward that would render us sedated with anticipation. The Man comforted us with an unfathomable dream that was out of this world–a dream to reach for the stars. Somewhere of joy, fame, power, and fortune. “Shoot for the moon,” The Man imposed, “Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars.” They plastered posters with these quotes all over the theater, sowing seeds of their dream deep in our world.

However, the reward must be earned. The lecturer's stream of information must be guzzled down, only to be regurgitated on the Day of Judgment. Then the painful cycle repeats.

One eager individual was fully hooked on the reward. He thought of an innocently sinister idea: a better view would lead to better memorization. Thus, they rose from their seat. However, he was also obstructing the view of the person behind him.

In frustration, the second person also stood, further obscuring the view of the person seated behind them. This continued until everyone rose from their seats.

Again, all had the same level view. Witnessing the initial man's action, the others perched higher by standing on their chairs, until everyone stood on their chairs.

Then, some people brought stools, stacking them on top of the chairs. Others brought ladders, and some even brought climbing gear. The higher and higher the people climbed, the greater and greater the danger of falling to the ground.

Soon falling from such heights would’ve been fatal. Nonetheless, the race continued at even faster speeds and dangerously greater heights. People kept falling, collapsing, and dying—some accidentally, some on purpose. Yet the race persisted. But for what purpose? The reward? The information? The view? The peers?

Everyone kept climbing up, and no one dared to sit down.

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