Forbes and Fifth

Volume 14, Spring 2019

Download a PDF of Volume 14

Desi Girl

By Meera Patel

Walking down the street, you don’t know whether to say hello or not. You don’t know their name, have never met them, have never even seen their face before. Something in you still tells you to smile. You had a similar childhood. You brought rice cakes to school and have been made fun of for this. You have been asked what you are eating and been treated to pursed lips and furrowed eyebrows. You have been told you smell like curry, you have been told you’re too white, you have been told you’re exotic. You have been asked if you know ___ Patel. You do not. You nearly never do. You smile when you’re by yourself. You don’t when you’re with your white friends. Read More

“Our Happy Domestic Home”: Queen Victoria, Separate Spheres, and the British Sovereign’s Popularity in America

By Sarah Fling

Perhaps the most evident aspect of the Anglo-American relationship in popular culture today is the peculiar way in which Americans marvel at the British royal family. Interest in royal weddings and births has become equally as ingrained into American society as in British society, and popular movies, television shows, books, etc. across the United States similarly reflect interest in this topic. Today, this attention is paid to the royals as a result of the perceived glamour, class, and fairytale of the family, but American obsession with the British monarchy spans almost two centuries—beginning with the young Queen Victoria in 1838. Read More


By Nicolette Kier

The door through which you enter matters. It is one of those benign things that can change the cadence of your life. It is like the chair you sit in next to your future spouse. The door is like that. But not at all like that.

If you carry yourself up that concrete mountain and walk through the front door—that is, if you willingly admit yourself—then you are, by definition—admitting to your crazy and are thinking, at least right now, that you’d like to do something about it.

This will work with you and against you.

Read More

How Urbanization, Race, and Gender Impact Serious Mental Illness in America

By Eion Plenn

In 2050, it is estimated that more than 70% of the world’s population will live in an urban environment (Gruebner et al., 2017). By that time, health specialists predict more than a quarter of Americans will have some relationship with mental illness (Galea, Uddin, & Koenen, 2011; NAMI, 2018). While many social and technological developments have increased mental illness diagnoses, such as improved screening and counseling techniques, underlying causes are apparent (Weissman et al., 2017). Past and current research has questioned how environment may link to mental illness. This has brought attention to how one’s level of urbanization—from living in the city to a suburban or rural area—not only impacts one’s health, but also their mental state. Read More

Adventures in Beekeeping

By Tanner Smida

The Pittsburgh summer was buzzing along steadily.  Every day was warm and sunny, and the forests had exploded with the familiar menagerie of wildlife, lush vegetation, and floral fragrances that never fail to make my head spin.  But pollen wasn’t the only thing floating on the breeze.  Love was in the air, too.  This newly minted beekeeper had a date. Read More

Broken Clocks, Painted Dolls

Mei (Seung Won) Baek

She noticed it on the first day. The gilded grandfather clock in the guest room was lovely, but it startled Sujin out of her wits, at 10:30 in the morning, when the porcelain bird sprang out to chirp its twelve metallic notes. She quickly realized that it was not only the grandfather clock, but all the clocks in her parents’ apartment that were wrong: the metalwork clock with the ornate chimes in the entranceway, the heavy wooden one on the mantelpiece, and even the digital one by her parents’ bed. Read More

Beach Story

By Zev Woskoff

FAITH: A woman, visibly expecting.

LESTER: A man.

PAIGE: A woman.

(Lights up slowly. A beach. The sea crashes. FAITH and LESTER are seated at a picnic table. FAITH rubs her stomach. FAITH and LESTER look out.)

Read More

Like a Lion

By John Starr

I wanted to write a story about language because someone said so but that would put to rest too many elephants so I sat my shield down and napped and then tried again. The first time, I stopped, because I was afraid. This second time around, I am still. Read More