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My Journey Through The Inferno (S&D)

by Alicia Cappelli
(Stanford, California)

Beward: the content you are about to read is highly graphic.


Being a part of an Italian class titled Dante's Inferno by day, at nightfall a few nights ago I fell into my own Inferno. As my eyelids began to fall and my imagination began to drift, I found myself standing in front of a dark forest, unaware of my surroundings. Once I entered, I did not know I was dreaming, but merely thought I was in the very midst of hell itself, having recognized this scene from the poem I had been reading in class. The figure that replaced Dante Alligheri's guide in my dream, however, was none other than my Italian professor, Richard Harrison.

I had so many things to ask him that I was thinking about at the moment, but as I opened my mouth another thought came out. "Did I do badly on the midterm?" As I am on the verge of descending into my own hell, this is all I can think about. I really must be the typical Stanford student. As I reach the gates of hell with my guide, I realize that this hell is not just for those who have committed serious sins against God and others, but also my own ideas of what is in hell.

As I enter the first level, I see a large group of students in an eerie setting, all reading some sort of book that I cannot see the cover of. "This," said Professor Harrison, "is the circle of IHUM, where those who do not do well are sent and forced to write IHUM papers for the rest of eternity." Phew, I thought to myself. Good thing I did well in IHUM.

I descend into a lower level of "hell," and I am faced with a desert setting, the sands littered with blue and gold paint. "The people in this level are those false worshipers," said my guide, "they did not follow what is right and good." I noticed these people had "go bears" burned into their flesh, as real life bears were chasing them in a constant circle. Is this some sort of Gaities joke? I thought to myself. I quickly realized my thoughts were not silent, as Professor Harrison says to me "this is real, and this is a place you do not ever want to be."

We began to descend lower into the depths of hell, when I notice a small group of people in a ditch, reading the very poem that I was studying in class at that time. "What sins did these people commit?" He responded, "these unfortunate souls were those who did not pass my midterm... Unfortunately you are destined to join them!!" As he pushes me into the depths and I see the Inferno climbing nearer, I wake up.

Fortunately, my nightmare was merely anxiety, for even thought I was "destined to join" those who did not pass the midterm, I did in fact receive a high grade. Thank god my nightmare was only in my dream!!


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