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To Live is the Best Revenge: A Junior Self-Portrait Diptych by Michelle Rubinstein (2011)

I Am. I am a realist and a visionary. I wonder what their tears actually are for. I hear flapping wings overpowering the sound of sobs. I see a mountain of ashes covered with splashes of bright orange. I want them to realize that their tears are useless. I am a realist and a visionary. I pretend to spread my wings expecting to ascend. I feel the wind in my antennae. I touch the sky with my vibrant beauty. I worry that I might be too small for them to see. I cry for those who cry for those who cannot return. I am a realist and a visionary. I understand that we must mourn and remember. I say that to live is the best revenge. I dream for the day stomachs won't twist with pain. I try to accentuate the monarchs and the grass, not the flies and the ash. I hope for people to stop crying and to start living. I am a realist and a visionary. For my self-portrait diptych, I chose to illustrate the belief expressed in my personal essay, The Revenge of the Monarchs: to live is the best revenge. The essay describes my experience at Sobibor Death Camp in Poland this past summer where I struggled to find sadness in such a now-prosperous setting. Eventually, inspired by the brightly colored, lively butterflies, I came to the realization that mourning simply means victory for our persecutorsIt means that they not only took the lives of our innocent ancestors but also that they successfully inflicted pain upon all future generationsI believe that we must make the most of our lives by living for those who weren't able to as a result of the Holocaust and by doing what we love. That is the best revenge. The first photograph of my diptych is of a butterfly resting upon leaves dampened by rain. Similar to the brightening effect that the monarchs in Poland had on the dingy scene of ash and death, this butterfly livens the aura of a dark, rainy day. Beside the butterfly, the second image portrays taking revenge on life itself. By doing what I love--dancing--there is no way that life--the fragile paper--can get me downIn the photograph, two dancing feet are taking revenge on the paper by tearing it and therefore not allowing it to get in the way of their desire to dance. The action takes place on a rough, dark street to convey the idea that life can be difficult but that it can manifest itself in any situation.
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