RCL 5 Working Draft

The True Story Behind the Most Famous Kiss of America

Photography is an art that has the ability to alter humanity’s collective conscious. There is a story to every picture that is taken, whether it be a memory with your friends or a life changing moment in history. When you see a picture, do the colors and subjects capture your attention or do you want to dig deeper into what was happening during that photo. THESIS


August 14, 1945 was a day not many will ever forget. Alfred Eisenstaedt, a German photographer, captured one of the most iconic photos in history on this day. The photo was taken in Times Square right after the announcement of the Japanese surrendering and World War II finally coming to an end. New York City was swarming with cheerful people. At the time, people only knew that the man was a returning sailor from the war and the woman was dressed as a nurse. The identities were released in 2012 and they came forward with their version of that day.


The man, George Mendonsa, was out on a date with a woman named Rita Petry. They went to the movie theater in Times Square but never got to finish the movie. It was interrupted, mid-way through, when the workers busted in with confirmation of Japan’s surrender. George and Rita were ecstatic and ran out of the theater into the crowded streets. George caught glimpse of a young woman in a nurses uniform, Greta Zimmer. This woman brought nostalgia to George because it reminded him of the nurses that constantly tended to the countless wounded soldiers. With his mind on the hard past and also the promising future, he grabbed her and kissed her. In that spontaneous moment, Eisenstaedt grabbed his camera to document it. Unaware at the time, he caught the feelings of pure relief and people letting go of all their inhibitions.


Everyone found a way to relate to this photo. There were over 16 million men that served for WWII. The man intrigued families that had loved ones away at war and the excitement for their return home. For women with their husbands gone, it allowed them to relate to the extreme passion in seeing their significant other for the first time since they went away. They can find a common place in the passion because they are able to replace the woman with themselves. The picture showed the true beauty of the wars end and the instant happiness the world cultivated because of the announcement.

Much like the hookah, there’s underlying ideologies that this photo represents. It transformed from one of the most romantic moments of the post war era to revealing underlying social issues. The real truth came out once the identities were made apparent. The kiss was obviously spontaneous but the ambiguous fact was that they were actually strangers. The most prominent observations of this was the body language of the two. The woman obviously didn’t comply, she was clutching at herself not him. He has clenched fists and his back arm completely wrapped around her head to force her into it. She was swung off balance and her feet are trying to catch herself from falling. When Greta was interviewed, she claimed it was a kiss she would never forget and she said, “That man was very strong. I wasn’t kissing him. He was kissing me.” By referring to him as “that man,” she’s implying that they don’t know each other. Now when George was interviewed, he claimed he was so drunk that he can barely remember the kiss fully. He said how it was a mere celebratory action, not a romantic one. Both subjects had completely different experiences because the man didn’t put too much thought into his actions.

A social issue and even ideology that people tended to tiptoe around is how women were still subordinate to men in the 40’s. Men still had an insane amount of superiority over women. This photo depicts a sense of sexual assault that was very common in that era. This gives every woman who has felt dehumanized by a male and commonplace to relate to others like themselves. Women empathize with others that have experienced the same mental or physical abuse that they have. Society saw how unequal people were treated and became proactive to provide the equal opportunities for all that we have in the United States today.


Even though this ideology and belief isn’t still a huge issue in the United States, it is still a prominent issue in other countries and presents a kairotic moment for this poster to represent the women gender. For example, women in the Middle Eastern countries and the religions that inhibit that area face gender discrimination all the time. Under the Muslim faith, the women must obey their husbands under all circumstances. This makes women feel powerless and used while men still hold a place in themselves that makes them think this is okay. Just like the 1940’s in the United states used to be, countries still are treating women lesser than men.




As you can see, this poster has emically affected society. At first, it represented war, loved ones returning home, and true passion but when you dig deeper into the photograph, your attention is diverted to something so important in the world. It gives women a place to challenge society’s views and not feel isolated. This poster has allowed women to gain ownership of their rights and push for equality in the United States.


Works Cited

Callahan, Maureen. “The True Story behind the Iconic V-J Day Sailor and ‘Nurse’ Smooch.” New York Post, New York Post, 10 Sept. 2016, nypost.com/2012/06/17/the-true-story-behind-the-iconic-v-j-day-sailor-and-nurse-smooch/.

Zhang, Sarah. “The Unromantic Truth Behind the VJ Day Kiss Photo.” Mother Jones, Mother Jones, 24 June 2017, www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/10/unromantic-truth-vj-kiss-photo/.

The Hookah


Allison White

September 20, 2017

RCL 137


Artifact – The hookah

Introduction: Who here has ever smoked the hookah? The hookah has been around since the 15th century and is still making it’s way around the world today. It has gained insane amounts of popularity but also controversy that comes with it. The controversy is part because of the different cultures that are associated with it. The hookah serves different purposes for different people.


Topic 1: origin of the hookah

  • Originated in India
    • Iran next
    • Gained popularity under Ottoman Empire
    • Used only at royal meetings and dinners
    • Tradition and prestige


Transition: You may be asking yourself, how is this artifact civic? Being used only by royalty didn’t allow for the hookah to be a world known civic artifact until it hit America.


Topic 2: coming to America and us “borrowing” things

  • Touch on how we are copy cats
  • Last to adopt the hookah
  • Gained extreme popularity
    • Also controversy
    • Circulating rumors
      • “Worse than drugs”


Transition: Even though there are tons of skeptics in the US, the hookah was conceptualized as a tolerable thing while still maintaining it’s ideologies in its origin countries.


Topic 4: it’s obvious use vs it’s common places

  • Obvious use – nicotine buzz
    • Cooling system to ensure a smooth and calming inhale
    • Cigarette habits ending – people see cigarettes as a bad habit meanwhile a hookah is much less hated on
  • Different common places for different cultures
    • America – pastime and the social aspect we all truly desire
      • Going out w friends and socializing for hours at a time
      • The circular orientation of hookah lounges allowing for a conversational aspect
      • Comforting and inviting surroundings
    • Middle East – family gathering
      • Smoke at dinner or after
        • Bonding


Conclusion: Hookah has been part of many cultures but doesn’t share all the same ideologies in each one except giving people a commonplace that they feel comfortable in.

Addario Capturing the Reader

Addario really caught my attention when she talked about the “Invasion” of Iraq. It starts on page 93 and ends on 97. The most common technique she uses is imagery. Everything she saw, she described in so much detail. The specific phrase that stood out at me was, “Behind us, all I could see was black smoke, a charcoal sandstorm billowing toward us.” The author could have stopped her sentence after black smoke but she instead used vivid words to allow the readers to fully picture what was happening.


Another way Addario draws in the audience is with ethos. The culture she was surrounded with was nothing like any of us know first hand. She described it as “not pro-American” and “hostile area.” All those phrases showed how dangerous the area was.


She also does a great job with pathos. After the bomb went off, she saw the pickup truck full of “dismembered bodies” and she explained how there were people’s insides everywhere. Addario also mentioned that some bodies were just hanging onto their lives. This plays on readers emotions because they never want to have to see that and picturing any person like that is horrifying.


I would really like to use vivid word choice in my blog. I don’t want it to be boring for the readers. I’d like to incorporate logos through proven facts and studies that have been taken. My whole blog is based on how someone feels about themselves so I hope that ties back to pathos. Another thing I’d love to do is make my passion help someone else. Even this one part of the book has so much information on things we wouldn’t know otherwise. Addario did a great job keeping the reader’s attention and always keeping them on the edge of their seat. I hope to accomplish the same with my blog!

Is Your Love also Your Passion?

At this point in the book, Addario was conflicted with who she loved and what she loved to do. She was seeing her passion and love life as an intertwined mix and didn’t know how to choose between the two. I think her Nana noticed this confusion and her advice was her own story about a chance that she failed to take.

Her Nana’s story was of Sal. Addario’s Nana was crazy for him, and had never felt affection towards anyone else like she did him. Sal was broke and had no promising future which lead Nana to go her own way. After they both pursued their own lives, they got to catch up and the intensity of their connection also rekindled.

Addario saw that her Nana was reminiscing in how great her life could have been. She ends it with, “And I never wanted to regret the kisses I missed.” I think that Addario is referring to kisses as opportunities not legit kisses. Her passion is photography and bringing a social change but she was starting to allow a man to stand in the way of that. The story of her Nana put her own life into perspective and she was able to fully accept the life of a photographer. Unlike her Nana, she didn’t have regrets about following her passion.

Much like the author, I had support and encouragement in my passion as well. Growing up, my best friend was Lauren. She started to get into a routine of working out and learning how to make home cooked meals. She really pushed me to do it with her. Every time I was close to quitting the workout or eating something bad for me, she would encourage me to keep going or suggest an alternative snack. Lauren was really the whole reason I got in touch the positive side of life. 

Passion Blog Ideas

My first thought about this blog was traveling. I am so interested in different places and new experiences. I’m only 18 years old and I’ve been out of the country numerous times already. I have been to Europe, Bahamas, Dominican republic and many US States. I love documenting my trips through pictures too. I have had an adventure bucket list written for years and the things I want to do in each place. I would love to share with everyone the places i’ve been, my personal experiences there and the places I would like to go to. I think that happiness for me is brought through meeting new places and seeing new things.

Another idea I had was to write about personal fitness and a healthy lifestyle. I am a firm believer that a healthier person is also a happier person. I do like to workout and eat right but I don’t limit myself to what I eat. I also tend to “forget” to go to the gym some days because honestly, a workout doesn’t have to come from a gym. Saying that, this blog would be more about an average healthy person’s daily routine and ways to stay active. I would post meals, workouts, and other ways of exercising to it and keep it updated on my own journey. I also love gym fashion – workout leggings mostly so I would incorporate that into my blog as well.

A third idea I had was a music blog. My life has really been influenced and affected by all sorts of music. I love going to concerts and getting lost in the artist’s voice. I tend to listen to the words and find what they mean to me personally. I love every genre of music. I would write about different types each blog and include my personal favorite songs in them. The literal lyrics would be posted as well as the figurative meaning behind them. I think that music has played such a huge role in all of our lives and that I could write about it for days.