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Bonny Bruzos

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Finalist

Bio

Hello! I have committed to the University of Richmond as part of the Class of 2028, and since I have a variety of academic interests, I may pursue an interdisciplinary degree that overlaps humanities and sciences. My biggest dream is to work in the film industry, but my broader aspiration is to inspire empathy and build human connections through art. I also hope to one day be able to give back to my hardworking parents and five younger siblings that have supported me all my life. Scholarships are going to play a crucial role in how I afford college as I am Pell Grant eligible, so I appreciate the consideration of my applications immensely. To the scholarship panel—thank you!

Education

University of Richmond

Bachelor's degree program
2024 - 2028
  • Majors:
    • Physics
    • Radio, Television, and Digital Communication
    • Philosophy

Atlantic Coast High School

High School
2022 - 2024

Miscellaneous

  • Desired degree level:

    Master's degree program

  • Graduate schools of interest:

  • Transfer schools of interest:

  • Majors of interest:

    • Philosophy
    • Mathematics and Statistics, Other
    • Drama/Theatre Arts and Stagecraft
    • Radio, Television, and Digital Communication
    • Visual and Performing Arts, General
    • Visual and Performing Arts, Other
    • Physics
  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Motion Pictures and Film

    • Dream career goals:

      To be able to make a living from cinematic arts.

    • English tutor

      Au Pair
      2023 – 20241 year
    • Front and Back of House

      Panda Express, Zaxby's
      2020 – 20222 years
    • Pharmacy Technician

      CVS
      2022 – 20231 year

    Arts

    • Douglas Anderson Recording

      Music
      2021 – 2022
    • Florida State College at Jacksonville

      Cinematography
      2022 – 2023
    • Douglas Anderson Yearbook/ Florida State College at Jacksonville

      Photography
      2021 – Present
    • Florida State College at Jacksonville

      Printmaking
      2022 – 2023

    Public services

    • Volunteering

      Douglas Anderson Coffeehouse — Audition and rehearsal coordinator
      2019 – 2022
    • Volunteering

      Proyecto Espanol — Beach cleanups on the Spanish coast
      2023 – 2024
    • Volunteering

      Feeding Northeast Florida — Spanish translator/ Food distributer
      2019 – 2024

    Future Interests

    Advocacy

    Volunteering

    Philanthropy

    Entrepreneurship

    ADHDAdvisor's Mental Health Advocate Scholarship
    As the eldest daughter of six children, many of which deal with mental health issues like clinical depression or ADHD, I take pride in the fact that they feel comfortable enough to talk to me about their problems. The emotional support I offer as a caring listener makes a huge impact on their mental health by showing them that they are never alone. I plan to use my future career in film to portray common difficulties of mental health through relatable characters in order to grant people in real life the empathy that they may lack from society at large. Creating this sort of representation could have a huge impact on not only those around me, but especially on those that do not have anyone to confide in. Media plays an integral role in influencing societal beliefs. Therefore, if there were to be more accurate, thoughtful portrayals of complex mental health issues in movies and television, perhaps societal values would shift to recognize the importance of emotional support in community. Simply offering a listening ear to someone in need of reassurance can make a tremendous difference in their mental state. In order to spread this message through digital media, I will use my education in philosophy to train my logical thinking and rhetorical skills, which are vital for creating this complex thematic work in film. Since digital media offers such a versatile artistic medium, with overlapping elements of written, audio, and visual content, it is ideal for creating multi-dimensional plot lines, dialogue, and characters that form deeply nuanced depictions of what mental illness can be. Everybody should check in on their loved ones every once in a while because they could be suffering in silence. Something as simple as communicating with one another can be critical to improving mental health in our society, and my goal is to create cinematic art that will emphasize this belief as well as making my loved ones and those in my community who suffer from mental health issues feel seen. Ultimately, I hope that by exposing audiences to the ways in which mental illness can impact one’s life, I will breed empathy in people that has the potential to foster a healthy society for all.
    WCEJ Thornton Foundation Low-Income Scholarship
    When I told my parents in July of 2022 that I planned to take a gap year and use it to travel, they both scoffed and shook their heads. After a series of questions and comments that I had fully expected (with what money are you going to travel, with whom, you won’t go back to school after a gap year, it won’t be safe, etc.), they wished me a sarcastic good luck and dismissed the issue altogether. I didn’t allow that conversation to demoralize me, and before bed that night, I secretly got to work on my Au Pair profile in order to begin the search for work in Spain so that I could travel affordably. I was fully aware that my parents just wanted me to be healthy and safe, but for them, being safe meant staying at home with family, and I felt that this perspective limited the ambitious dreams I’ve had for myself since I was a child. My father, a Cuban immigrant, and my mother, the child of a low-income single mom, have not had much opportunity in their lives to travel or focus on their own self-development, especially now that they have six children together. I wanted to break this generational pattern, so I worked full-time throughout my senior year of high school and became extremely frugal. I drove for six months with the air conditioning broken in my car, even with the oppressive Florida heat, because it would have cost me around one thousand dollars to fix it. During that time, open windows and a hand fan were enough for me; my plans for the year to follow were enough to keep me going even when I was sweating in the driver’s seat. In May 2023, right before graduation, I found the host family I would work for as an Au Pair in the fall after months of interviewing. Delivering this news to my parents completely blindsided them. They never believed that I would actually go through with the plans I had been talking about since the year before. The news rippled through my family, and I soon received concerned messages from my aunts and grandparents telling me not to go, but I had already bought my plane ticket. In September 2023, I landed in Granada, Spain. My greatest achievement to date has been traveling independently and dealing with the obstacles I’ve faced along the way by myself (there have been a lot). Within months of being abroad, I contracted a painful bout of shingles, dealt with various bureaucratic failings in my visa process, causing me to have to pay fines, got lost with no phone signal while visiting Amsterdam, and struggled to make friends in my new city, Granada. Possibly the biggest obstacle I have faced was two months ago when my host dad made unwanted sexual advances towards me, but I didn’t panic. The confidence I had gained throughout the year allowed me to deal with this swiftly and tactfully. I found a separate apartment to rent on the fly and started to live off my savings, determined not to let him cut my year abroad short. I learned that the only way to face the unknown is by taking things as they come, like a baby bird learning how to fly by being pushed out of its nest without warning. In overcoming each challenge, I felt myself becoming stronger and more worldly, and many times it also gave me an interesting story to tell. I also started to see these challenges not as setbacks but as small stepping stones in my journey, clues even, to self-realization. This experience has taught me that I can do hard things and that I should never let others dictate or limit my aspirations. The biggest dream I have now for my future is to get a bachelor’s degree and pursue a career in the film industry. This gap year has been an important step towards my goal by inspiring me artistically and expanding the cultural perspectives necessary to create nuanced art. Additionally, I want to give my parents the same opportunities to see the world. I have proved to them that traveling can very well be affordable and that getting out of your comfort zone is necessary for self-development. When no one thought that I could, I did, and I want others to realize that their dreams are also never out of reach.
    Fall Favs: A Starbucks Stan Scholarship
    It’s seven a.m. in the first days of October—time to head to school. Upon stepping through the front door, the heel of my boot crunches the dry, orange leaves that accumulated on my doorstep overnight. This is my first step into autumn. Crossing the threshold of the door on this crisp fall day becomes like a portal of nostalgia; the brisk snaps of wind, deep earthy smells, and richly warm color palette of the environment all transport me back to my fondest childhood memories of outside bouncy houses at kid birthday parties, eating pecan pie while watching scary movies, and family trips to pumpkin patches. Things have changed since then; my life is much more complicated than it once was, and the reminiscent feeling that the fall season brings on reminds me of that. I breathe in deeply and hop into my quaint 2002 sedan with the matte-red paint. On days like these, a morning Starbucks stop is mandatory. With the change of seasons come my cozy comfort rituals, and here enters the defining star of my fall narrative: the Hot Apple Crisp Macchiato. I go through the drive-through with my windows down, letting the fall air come in, gently whisking around my hair to the beat of the light pop tunes playing on the radio. I drum my fingers on the side of my car until it comes, a grande Hot Apple Crisp Macchiato in all its glory, the first warm sip signaling that autumn really has begun. In actuality, the beauty of the drink is in the routine. Suddenly every single morning requires a before-school Starbucks trip in which I get my regular (a Hot Apple Crisp Macchiato, of course). The morning shift employees now know my order just from seeing my face, and in the process, this drink becomes its own established character in my life. At times when the thought of getting up out of snugly warm blankets in the morning is unbearable, the promise of brown sugar dissolved in coffee intermingled with spicy touches of apple puree, cinnamon, and nutmeg even becomes my motivation for getting out of bed. The changes I undergo as the years pass from one autumn to the next creep up on me undetected, until suddenly I realize that I’m eighteen, driving my own car to my senior year of high school instead of the bumpy school bus rides to elementary school ten years before. My fall morning routine has evolved to consist of waking up, switching on the car engine, pulling up to Starbucks, and exhaling a satisfying first sip of my favorite drink. The bounce house days are gone, but now I have new characters in my life to be grateful for, like my go-to Starbucks drink. Routines change and are replaced by updated rituals. Someday I’ll be 23 and a senior in college; maybe I’ll have a different car by then, and maybe the Starbucks fall menu will have changed. The changes ten years after that are more unfathomable to me still, but something I know for sure is that one day I will reminisce on my Hot Apple Crisp Macchiato era autumn days, and they will always hold a special place in my heart.
    Rainbow Futures Scholarship
    Throughout my life, I have felt pressure to retain the image of being the “perfect example" as the eldest daughter of six kids. I did everything right—got good grades, dressed according to my family’s tastes, always helped with my siblings, and never got into trouble. Unbeknownst to anybody, the older I got, the more I dealt with a deep sense of shame and guilt. At first, I did not understand this vague shameful feeling that nagged at me, but when I finally realized I was lesbian, I had to face this truth as it shattered the model identity I had worked so hard to cultivate all those years. The political situation in my home state, Florida, further intensified my internal struggle, especially with the famous “Don’t Say Gay” bill that banned any gender or sexuality-based discussion in K–12 Florida classrooms. Before, school gave me the chance to express myself more freely, especially with clubs like the Gay Straight Alliance (GSA). However, after the aforementioned law was passed, I saw all the “safe space” stickers in classrooms come down, the GSA club shut down, and even AP Psychology banned from the curriculum due to its content on gender and sexual orientation. All of these changes effectively showed me that being gay was wrong, and I was forced even deeper into a hole of self-hate. Even though I still struggle with my identity, I actively strive to live true to my own desires, not those of my family or others. I also know that I want to create change so that the coming generations of LGBTQ+ children don’t have to deal with the same distress that I have had to. My plan to advocate for LGBTQ+ rights hinges on extending empathy throughout society in general. My first step in accomplishing this is pursuing an education in philosophy and digital media. As someone Pell Grant eligible with disabled parents and five siblings, receiving this scholarship will be vital for affording my education, as I have limited help or resources besides the money I make from working. My biggest dream is to work in film and, in doing so, create more representation for not only those who identify as LGBTQ+ but also for any other marginalized group that did not get the accurate representation in the media that they needed growing up. It is well established that media plays an integral role in influencing cultural perceptions of identity groups. If there were to be more accurate, thoughtful portrayals of complex minority characters in movies and television, perhaps people would begin to see past identity markers as the sole facet of a person’s existence. I will use my education in philosophy to train my logical thinking and rhetorical skills, which are vital for creating complex thematic work in film. Additionally, training in digital media offers such a versatile artistic medium, with overlapping elements of written, audio, and visual content. This opens up the possibility for multi-dimensional plot lines, dialogue, and characters that have the potential to create deeply nuanced depictions of LGBTQ+ and other minority people. Everybody experiences a unique version of reality through the lens of their identity, so understanding and accepting our differences is paramount to reducing discrimination in society. When people have not experienced something themselves, like being a member of the LGBTQ+ community, it is only natural that they would have misconceptions or implicit biases. That is why I want to expose audiences to ways of life that aren’t their own through film, consequently breeding empathy and, in turn, fostering a healthy society for all.
    Our Destiny Our Future Scholarship
    Growing up with a completely blind father and mostly blind mother, I learned to detect the subtle discrimination they face for their disabilities. This includes the well-intentioned, yet misguided, ways people try to help, like at the doctor’s office. When I would take my father to his appointments, medical professionals would often direct their questions about him to me, to which he would reply plainly, “I’m fully capable of answering your questions myself.” The widespread lack of understanding of visual impairment is what I want to change in the world. I plan to make a positive impact by breaking misconceptions about people with disabilities, but more broadly speaking, I want to extend empathy throughout humans in general. I hope to pursue a career in the film industry, and through my work I want to create more representation for not only blind people, but also for women, minorities, and any other marginalized group that did not get the accurate representation in the media that they needed growing up. I believe that this goal is so important because a large amount of the misconceptions around visually impaired people come from a lack of representation in the media. For instance, time and time again people ask me how my parents can hold a job, cook, have kids, or even shower by themselves as blind people. These questions are not wrong to ask if they come from a place of genuine curiosity and willingness to learn, but they do, however, point to a huge lack of understanding around how visual disabilities work. If there were to be more accurate, thoughtful portrayals of blind people in movies and television, perhaps people would not have these questions and would see blind people as what they are: people capable of working and having children just like anybody else. A lack of representation in the media is not only a problem visually impaired people face, but also other groups of minorities. Everybody experiences an individual version of “reality” through the lens of their identity, so understanding and accepting our differences is what breeds the empathy in people that is so important to a healthy society. This strongly held belief of mine was a main influencing factor in my decision to pursue digital media as a career. Digital media as a medium is so versatile due to the overlapping elements of written, audio, and visual content. This opens up the possibility of creating multi-dimensional plot lines, dialogue, and characters that have the potential to create deeply nuanced depictions of different kinds of people, for example, blind people. This means creating scripts that are accurate to daily life, and characters that have lives outside of their disability. When people have not experienced something themselves, like blindness, it is only natural that they would have questions or not fully understand the realities of the disability. That is why I want to raise awareness around visual impairment through my career in film. Not only that, but through exposing audiences to ways of life that aren’t their own, I hope to increase empathy, and in turn, strengthen human bonds throughout our society.
    Reginald Kelley Scholarship
    I have known that I wanted to pursue a career in the arts since I was a child, writing stories and directing plays with my cousins. Since then, it has been a continuous process of artistic discovery, trying to discover what medium truly encapsulates my style and vision. I decided to go to an arts magnet high school for creative writing, and by the second month of my freshman year, I was at a pivotal moment in my life, standing at the crowded bus stop every day after school, trying to sell chocolates for the student literary magazine fundraiser. Carrying a heavy box strung around my neck full of melting chocolate was embarrassing, but I wanted to contribute to the magazine in any way I could. Once I was a junior, I finally held a leadership position on the magazine staff (Junior Managing Editor). Leading up to the deadline for my first issue, I was in a frenzy organizing submission folders, obtaining digital release forms from the artists, and editing final page layouts. While I was glad to have surpassed menial roles like fundraising, I had imagined that being a leader would be much more exciting than meticulous editing of layouts. However, by persevering through the necessary, yet at times monotonous, procedure of the publication process, I was able to uplift student voices both in my community and around the world by giving their creative work an audience. My passion for art was important for the magazine, but my consistent work through tedium was what built the actual project up from its foundation. To truly make an impact, you must have consistency beyond your initial passion, which is what has influenced my decision to study digital media. After dabbling in many different art forms, I have realized that film as a medium best suits my artistic vision due to the collaborative environment and many overlapping, auxiliary elements. By studying digital media, I hope to fine-tune my technical skills in order to achieve my actual film career goals. As an aspiring filmmaker, I want to represent real characters in all their contradictions. I was attracted to film in the first place because of my love for people and our boundless complexity. Hence, I want to extend empathy and understanding to those generally deemed undeserving of it through “unlikeable characters” or “problematic characters." To show people as we are, not as stand-ins for a universal dichotomy of good and evil, but as a reflection of our nuanced culture and the human tendency to be ever-growing and changing. With my study in the digital media field, I hope to gain the technical skill-sets necessary to accomplish my ultimate goal of creating a more empathetic society through portraying nuanced characters in film.
    Strong Leaders of Tomorrow Scholarship
    A fundamental part of becoming a leader for me was working as a pharmacy technician. The day I walked into the pharmacy for the first time, I entered with big aspirations of helping my community. However, I was met with loose pills scattered on the floor, stacks of unorganized paperwork, and expired medication on the shelves. Although shocking, this only made me more determined to work towards my goal. Due to the high turnover rate and my clear dependability, my boss almost immediately promoted me to lead technician. It took about three months in this role to get the pharmacy consistently tidy, but it was still a major achievement once we did—even the division managers were astounded. While I enjoyed this initial accomplishment, I couldn’t imagine what a substantial moral dilemma my job would become. Once the focus of my role shifted away from survival-mode workplace upkeep, I began concentrating on patient care responsibilities, like ensuring people got the best prices from insurance on their prescriptions. As my ambitions to help people grew while my time to do so diminished, I quickly came to understand the pitfalls of retail pharmacy. Pressure from the corporate office to complete a myriad of marketing tasks, coupled with a lack of employees, reduced the amount of time for what I considered the important work of making healthcare affordable for patients. Being a leader meant grappling with the inequities of the system I worked under while still getting the job done that I was hired for. The most difficult part of this role was simply accepting what was out of my hands. For instance, seeing people cry at the sight of the cost of their insulin was extremely difficult, but instead of guilt-induced stagnancy, I delegated tasks with the objective of maximum productivity in order to get the prices down as much as possible. For example, in the aforementioned situation, I would get my coworker to handle the pick-up line since it is a mostly automated task that just needs to be “knocked out,” so to speak, while I would handle calling insurance about the insulin since I was more experienced in that process. In this way, I was able to help patients while still finishing my work. My leadership experience in a pharmacy chain has taught me what a fine line there can be between ethics and obligation. Although, perhaps more importantly, it has shown me how to make a change despite having limited power. Although I no longer work as a pharmacy technician, the lessons I learned from that job have played a major role in developing the invaluable leadership skills I possess today. What makes me a leader is as much my earnest desire to inspire change in the world as my resilience in the face of apparent injustice. As a leader, I recognize that society is naturally and inevitably flawed due to human error, and instead of resigning to feelings of disillusionment, I strive to change what I can. My work with pharmacy retail, especially in relation to patient medication costs, is a small example of the impact I hope to create through my leadership in the future.
    Learner Math Lover Scholarship
    A paper-mache bust of Elvis Presley stared out at me from a sea of junk mail on the kitchen counter as I struggled with my calculus homework. A significant challenge I faced in my life was growing up in a hoarder’s home, where the chaos took a major toll on my mental health. Unexpectedly, what was previously my least favorite subject, math, became the propeller for enabling me to overcome these challenges I was facing at home. The first week of junior year, as I stared dumbfounded at my calculus homework under the watchful eye of Elvis Presley, I kept asking myself that classic rhetorical question: "When am I ever going to use this in real life?" My AP Calculus teacher answered that question for me soon enough with a speech born out of other students’ complaints about the practical application, or lack thereof, of what we were learning. Her explanation finally made it click. Although math may seem alien to everyday life, it aids in general systemic thinking. Fundamental skills like logical reasoning are underlying processes trained through other disciplines, like math. From kindergarten on, kids are taught skills like coloring inside the lines that aren’t explicitly useful in the "real-life" career world. However, these are the building blocks that enhance life and enable advanced learning. After all, how would we learn practical career skills like creating a project planning diagram without knowing how to draw within the lines? While in a house so devoid of order, math helped me navigate my life. As I eagerly accepted the challenges of integrals, vectors, and derivatives, my academic horizons broadened, and my logical capabilities grew as well. What I most love about math is its ability to inconspicuously build neural pathways for logical processes that are ostensibly not even related to numbers. Math has a multitude of advantages beyond its practical applications. At the end of my junior year, I ended up with all A's in AP Calculus and a 4 on the exam, something I did not think possible at the beginning. Now, I recognize that I am at a single point in time, a derivative of the function of my life, where I am continuously subject to instantaneous change. Math has propelled me in better directions, with a vector of force stronger than the weight of any unfavorable situation I may come across.
    RonranGlee Literary Scholarship
    “He had come to that moment in his age when there occurred to him, with increasing intensity, a question of such overwhelming simplicity that he had no means to face it. He found himself wondering if his life were worth the living; if it had ever been. It was a question, he suspected, that came to all men at one time or another; he wondered if it came to them with such impersonal force as it came to him. The question brought with it a sadness, but it was a general sadness which (he thought) had little to do with himself or with his particular fate; he was not even sure that the question sprang from the most immediate and obvious causes, from what his own life had become. It came, he believed, from the accretion of his years, from the density of accident and circumstance, and from what he had come to understand of them. He took a grim and ironic pleasure from the possibility that what little learning he had managed to acquire had led him to this knowledge: that in the long run all things, even the learning that let him know this, were futile and empty, and at last diminished into a nothingness they did not alter.” ― John Williams, Stoner Stoicism in John Williams’ Stoner William Stoner, the protagonist of John Williams’ Stoner, lives a life consisting of a series of notable failures, both in his personal life and career. These include estrangement from his wife and daughter, as well as his inability to rise above the status of assistant professor after forty years of working at a university. Time and time again, when the reader wants so badly for Stoner to take control of his life, he ends up succumbing to the pressures of his environment and adopting an attitude of resignation. This pattern of behavior ends up resulting in a life that most would deem unsuccessful. In fact, the book actually begins by noting the death of William Stoner and how he was quickly forgotten, leaving behind no significant impact on the world or even within the university that he worked at. The excerpted paragraph is a culmination of the book’s themes, and the writer’s underlying meaning of the text is revealed through the character’s death-bed reflection and subsequent acceptance of his life. On the surface, the life of William Stoner does not seem like one that would merit interest, much less an entire book. He barely had a single friend, practically no relationship with his wife or daughter, and achieved nothing of any professional importance during his entire teaching career. The syntax of the passage plays an essential role in conveying the winding, reflective thoughts Stoner experiences as he mulls over these facts of his life. All of the sentences are either complex or compound, giving the impression of following Stoner’s tangled thought process as he works through this grand existential problem in his mind. The excerpt is also full of seeming contradictions, which is in itself an allegory for the impermanence of the human condition. For example, he refers to the meaning of his life as a “question of such overwhelming simplicity that he had no means to face it." The phrase “overwhelming simplicity” is an oxymoron that juxtaposes the contrasting ideas Stoner faces about whether his life had any definable, significant purpose. He impassively wonders if life had ever even been worth living at all, since it basically amounted to nothing. The simplicity of this question is almost too much to bear—another contradictory statement that points to the convoluted emotions he later describes, antithetically, as grim pleasure. The meaning of life is an elusive issue of profuse debate, but all the same, the writer suggests that near death, that question merely becomes a matter of simple reflection. The narrator mentions the vague sadness of the protagonist as he reflects, noting, however, how this emotion had little to do with “what his own life had become." In such a simple phrase, it is clear to the reader that his life was considered unimportant, even without any additional context. The simplicity of the writer’s language in general not only makes for an accessible text, but actually functions as a powerful tool for conveying the simplicity of Stoner’s own life and his stoic attitude towards his various failures. Stoicism is largely defined by an indifference to life’s fortunes. After a mostly unfortunate life, Stoner plainly refers to complex existentialist questions as coming to him with “Impersonal force”. He does not even directly refer to his life’s misfortune, instead crediting the sadness he felt to “the accretion of his years, from the density of accident and circumstance, and from what he had come to understand of them.” This sentence is faintly nostalgic and intentionally ambiguous, as it demonstrates how even after living to old age, Stoner still practically knew nothing about the source of man’s purpose. He hardly even understood the very emotions he was processing, although he approaches this incomprehension with the total neutrality characteristic of a stoic outlook. This perspective is emphasized by the diction of the paragraph, highlighting Stoner’s passiveness through a detached tone. His emotions, for instance, are described as separate entities; the text does not create a direct relationship between character and emotion, as Stoner was not said to be sad or feeling sadness; rather, a “general sadness” came to him. The reader comes to understand the stoic view point through the subtlety of this language. It is precisely this tone that allows for Stoner’s final acknowledgment of his life's futility. In the excerpt, John Williams explores stoicism through the lens of an “unsuccessful” man on his deathbed. Stoner’s life was of no great significance, and neither was his death. In Stoner’s reflection and ensuing acceptance of his situation, the reader is reminded of the inevitability of their own death and the meaninglessness of not just their failures but also of their successes and acquired knowledge. What the author does in this passage is acknowledge this inescapable fate, contend with it, and ultimately accept death as another element in the intricate inner workings and vast complexities of the human condition. In a way, Stoner’s ordinary character becomes a source of solace for both the author and the reader. Within this ostensibly depressing story emerges a character who embraces the fact that he knew almost nothing and that his life was worth almost nothing. By approaching death stoically and with the utmost neutrality, people can begin to see themselves as what they really are: not as an independent individual but as a constituent thread in the fabric of the universe.