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Temelyan, Edgar
Jennifer Rodrick
English 115
November 13, 2016
Project Text 1st Draft
When considering the city Los Angeles, whats the first image that comes to mind? A
remarkable city, rich in variety of people and cultures. From Hollywood superstars to extremely
wealthy plastic surgeons, Los Angeles is the host to a diverse community, unique to the world.
Los Angeles is the birthplace to all kinds of unique individuals. In Another City by David L.
Ulin, an array of personal stories and poems are put together to represent the citys impact on its
residents, in terms of forming their identities, and influencing their dreams. A specific story dives
deep into the idea behind the influential aspects of Los Angeles. Erika Schickel personal story,
Magic Hour, effectively portrays the significant impact the city of Los Angeles had on her
understanding of who she is, and the direction her life will progress. In her personal story, Erika
abandons her old lifestyle as a pessimistic and dismissive individual, for a more positive, and
extraordinary lifestyle, by way of hallucinogens, proposed by the stereotypical city of Los
The City of Angles, a unique metropolis associated with a variety of distinguishable
characteristics. From The Happiest Place on Earth to beautiful beaches, the city of Los Angeles is
the ideal place to be. So we are told. Many believe that with a little bit of talent and hope, they
can move to Los Angeles and become the next big face on the screen. When people think of Los
Angeles, the only thing that comes to mind is the entertainment industry, but theres much more
variety, to what is considered to be a one industry capital. According to the Los Angeles Business

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Journal, L.A. is not a one-industry town. Hollywood gets all the attention, but it is not L.A.'s
biggest industry. The city has an intensely diverse economy featuringmanufacturing, high
technology, construction, aerospace subcontracting, new media, apparel, biotech, oil, real estate,
finance, health care, law and retail, to mention some of the biggest sectors (Los Angeles
Business Journal, Pg. 66). The Los Angeles Business Journal is insisting that, the Hollywood
industry isnt the only notable characteristic that Los Angeles is notorious for. The journal goes
on to describe Los Angeles as a threshold for a variety of complexes and sectors. With all these
industries, comes a consequence that significantly downgrades the flawless city of Los Angeles.
The city of LA is considered to have one of the highest emission rates. One particular complaint
that residents have is the lack of quality air, which is surprising due to the vast array of sandy
beaches and towering palm trees. The Los Angeles Business Journal complicates matters further
by claiming, Of course, being No. 2 is nothing to be particularly proud of, but L.A. faces unique
disadvantages on the smog front that other cities don't, (Los Angeles Business Journal, Pg. 66).

Basically, the journal is stating that Los Angeles has its flaws and does not stay true to the
unblemished ideology that the city is infamous for. Overall, our unique metropolis has its

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positive features and indistinctive promises, but perfection is nonexistent and the beauty of Los
Angeles is a false motivation to attract newcomers. Erika Schickel vividly describes the city of
Los Angeles through a personal perspective in her story Magic Hour.
In the personal story Magic Hour illustrated by Erika Schickel, the author describes her
empirical experience when transitioning from a resident of New York to Los Angeles. The
motivation behind her transition exists, due to the common stereotype associated with LA, the
promising Hollywood industry, and a preferable life over her past. Her change in location
influences her to question who she truly is. From doubting her capabilities to fulfill her acting
dream to viewing herself as an individual with no significant place in the marvelous city. Erika
faces a great difficulty in shaping her identity. In her story, Magic Hour, Erika Schickel
maintains that, I arrived at the corner of Genesee and Santa Monica with the dawning certainty
that I had no purpose in the worldI was. An extra. Not a key player in anybodys story, but an
adjunct adrift. In other words, Schickel recognizes herself as a insignificant being in a city that
presents a variety of opportunities for striving individuals. Her negative opinion of herself, leads
her to view the spectacular city of Los Angeles as an inadequate initiative. Due to insecurities,
her pessimistic perspective forces her to only consider the negative aspects of LA, for example,
the blazing heat, and the cracked, trash filled streets. Schickel take a substantial turn toward the
better, in terms of perspective of herself and her surrounding, when she is reintroduced to
With the use of marijuana, Schickel was able to have a glimpse of what she had been
longing for since she moved to Los Angeles. She was no longer feeling the urge to fit into the
foreign city, nor did she feel the need to worry about whether or not she will enhance her career
and become the movie star of her dreams. Without her insecurities, Schickel began to see the

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positive aspects of Los Angeles. Suddenly, the weather wasnt an issue considering that she was
under the influence. Schickel stated, It was as if a big UV filter had been placed over the lowslung sun. Shadow had returned, adding depth of field. The golden light turned the landscape
Technicolor. In this description of Los Angeles, we notice that no longer is she seeing the sun as
a factor of heat, which her black clothes are soaking up, but instead sees it more as art over the
breathtaking city. Marijuana allowed her to focus on the direction of the wind, the cleanliness of
the air, as though she was breathing directly in the presence of the ocean, and gave the sensation
of hovering over the flawed portions of the city. This was the moment Schickel knew, she was
finally able to open her eyes towards the aspects of the city she was not able to visualize before.
Without the use of Marijuana, Schickel would not have been able to envision the positive
features of this city of Los Angeles. With the amount of dopamine that was released by her
hypothalamus, her brain was only able to feel joy because the feeling of being rewarded was
constantly being presented to her. In an article written on the topic of Marijuana, by the National
Institution On Drug Abuse they state, THC, acting through cannabinoid receptors, also activates
the brains reward system, which includes regions that govern the response to healthy pleasurable
behaviors like sex and eatingrelease the signaling chemical dopamineThis flood of
dopamine contributes to the pleasurable "high" that recreational marijuana users seek. (National
Institution On Drug Abuse, Paragraph 3)

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In this statement we notice, with the use of marijuana, our body extracts THC from the marijuana
plant, which then explores the body to find and attach to the cannabinoid receptors in order to
release dopamine, and feel the essential high. Such high, allowed Schickel to view Los Angeles
with a positive point of view. With the use of marijuana there are positive and negative impacts
such as pros and cons, but some like to disagree with this concept.
Some might argue that marijuana usage only has a negative effect on the people that take
advantage of the drug. On the other hand, others argue that there are also positive aspects for
users, because of the health benefits when the drug is being used for medical purposes, instead of
being used for irresponsible intentions. To contrast, I believe that the use of any drug is
dangerous without limits, there is always a negative effect when too much of any drug is abused.
For people such as Erika Schickel, the use of marijuana allowed her to see the positive aspects of
a city that she was not able to comprehend, being in a normal state of mind. For, her the use of
this hallucinogen was not intended for a negative effect, but for the opposite.
In conclusion, the character resorts to the use of hallucinogens in order to find her true
identity. For Schickel, the use of marijuana acted as a contributor to help see the city for the
beauty it truly holds. Schickel was able to apprehend that before being able to fit into a city, she
must make sense of it, by allowing herself to truly open her eyes in ways that most can not. She
was exposed to the negative and positive aspects of Los Angeles, which caused her to fathom her
purpose as an individual, in terms of identity.

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Work Cited

"Media Stereotypes Don't Fit L.A." Los Angeles Business Journal 14 Aug. 2000: 66. General
OneFile. Web. 14 Nov. 2016.

Aron, Hillel. "L.A.'s 10 Most Pervasive Stereotypes: True or False?" L.A. Weekly. Verdict:
Print the Legend, 02 Apr. 2016. Web. 14 Nov. 2016.

DS, Timberlake. "How Does Marijuana Produce Its Effects?" National Institute on Drug
Abuse (NIDA). DrugPubs Research Dissemination Center, 3 Mar. 2013. Web. 14 Nov.

Schickel, Erika. "Magic Hour." Ed. David L. Ulin. Another City. 1st ed. Vol. 1. San
Francisco: City Lights, 2001. 65-74. Print. Ser. 1.