Photo by Orin Zyvan ’04

Bárbara Guerra-Torres ’10

English

Hometown: Montebello, California

How Reed changed me: I came from a traditional Hispanic family; I was the first one to leave the state to go to college. When I entered Reed I was timid, but that’s the last word anyone would use to describe me now. For the first time I was asked what I wanted to accomplish and who I wanted to be; the whole experience put life in perspective. Reed encouraged me to break out of my shell and have confidence in my abilities—an effect that extends beyond the classroom. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Reed’s generous grant and a good amount of financial aid.

Influential book: Roland Barthes’ Empire of Signs.

Cool stuff I did: Discovered Sondheim. Took a class on the history of American musical theatre. Took up ju-jitsu. Coordinated Peer Mentor Program. Writing tutor. Latino Student Union. VOX.

Adviser: Prof. Maureen Harkin

Thesis: Arabian Atrocity: The Oriental Tale’s Contribution to Gothic Horror

What it’s about:  A close reading of the gothic novel Vathek, by William Beckford, reveals that several elements of the genre are grounded in the tradition of the oriental tale. Succeeding gothic novels adopt these formal aspects and reveal the oriental tale’s influence on the development of horror, as well as the gothic’s characteristically disjointed form.

What it’s really about: I’m far more morbid than I look.

What’s next: Tutor for Americorps in Los Angeles. After that, hope to go to Athens on a teaching fellowship.

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