For my text selection, I have chosen Peter Pan, written by J.M. Barrie. In 1902 Barrie wrote the novel Little White Bird which contained a very early version of Peter Pan. In 1904 he opened a stage production of Pan. It was a huge success. Finally, in 1911, Barrie published Peter Pan and Wendy. It is known today simply as Peter Pan. I couldn’t find any reference to it being in the canon, but maybe I’m wrong. It’s not exactly new (100 years).
In reference to what the novel is about, there are really two sides to it. For a child reading it, they would find adventure, fantasy, extraordinary lands far beyond their own, and many unforgettable characters involved in a variety of harrowing tales. For adults, the themes go much deeper. They would see the story as being about the loss of childhood and the struggle between youths and adults.
Despite having only seen film version of the story, I had never actually read the true text until this summer when I came across it at Barnes&Nobel. It being a short novel, I finished it in about a week.
I expect that my research will bring new ways of thinking about and viewing the text in regards to theme, plot, and characters. I’m sure I will come across plenty of ideas that I had never previously thought of before. It is such a beloved and familiar tale that I don’t anticipate any trouble whilst doing research.
The text I have chosen for the assignment is The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien. I read this in my first semester of college and fell in love with it. It’s a collection of short stories about Vietnam. The author actually got drafted, and sometime after his return, he came up with the collection of short stories about his time in Vietnam. It was published in 1990, so I’m assuming it’s too young to be in the cannon. What makes this text so interesting is that even though it’s a collection of short stories, a lot of the characters are the same and the stories mesh together. I’m usually not into war novels, but in my opinion, this collection is one of the best examples of excellent writing that I’ve ever encountered. One of the big factors that you have to be aware of while reading it is knowing that the narrator is probably not very reliable. It makes the each story very interesting. Each story keeps you guessing.
I personally choose this collection of short stories because this was a text that surprised me for the first time in a while. I haven’t gotten so engrossed in a book in a long time. The Things They Carried wasn’t what I originally had expected it to be. I fell in love with the writing style. Reading each story really takes you there to Vietnam. O’Brien’s style makes each experience expressed in every story personal somehow. Analytically, I think one of the main points I’ll be targeting is the unreliable narrator. Tim O’Brien himself has stated that some stories are true, and others are complete lies. But, each one was influenced by his experiences. He manipulated his experience and produced these short stories. My professor had us analyze whether we thought each story was true or not based on certain factors in each story. The Things They Carried is more than that as well. It’s almost, in a way, an instruction on how to tell stories. It’s an extensive instruction on how to lie to tell good stories. That was a topic that we talked about in depth and very frequently when I read this collection of short stories in class.
Also, it will not be too difficult finding any secondary sources to can use for the assignment. There’s a good amount of resources I can use to support the MLA Bibliography without a problem.
The text that I’ve chosen to center on for this research paper process is Mary Karr’s The Liar’s Club. This relatively recent memoir of the author’s life growing up with a mentally disturbed mother and a father whose ability to, in the author’s own words, “bullshit” is from where the work draws its name. The work, while not a part of the traditional canon, is held up as a powerful example of life writing at its best and is often considered one of the key books in the recent explosion of confessional memoirs that have flooded the market over the past twenty years. Karr is able to capture both the large, traumatic moments in her life and the small, everyday occurrences that make up a lifetime in such a way as to make them seem untarnished by time and as though they just happened, even though at the time the book was written it had been well over 30 years. I have come across this book in both my Creative Nonfiction class and in my Women and Autobiography class. This book deals with the problems of memory, with the issues of silence that surround rape and sexual abuse, and the power of psychological disorders in the everyday lives of both those who suffer from them and their families. It is about the transition after divorce and the feelings of separation that children feel in the aftermath and also about the power of stories and communication in the shaping of your own life. I think by researching this text, I might dig deeper into the tradition of life writing, specifically female life writing, and see how Karr’s text might intersect with or possibly call into question the conventions of this genre. I believe that she, at least in the respects of the sexual and psychological revelations, is somewhat divorced from the more conventional life writings and this bravery of expression might very well explain the overflow of confessionary memoirs since The Liar’s Club was published. I really enjoy the life writing genre and its willingness to own and express the struggles of the everyday lives of people without the shield that invention allows the author to hide behind in fiction. In this book, Karr probes to the personal truths that made her life the way it was and in reading it I was able to find personal revelations that I have meant so much to me. The more personal a thing is, the more universal it has the potential to be. There is a wealth of scholarship that I am very interested to start digging into…
My text selection is the novel Wuthering Heights written by Emily Brontë. It was first published in 1847, and is deemed a classic. This book is very dear to my heart. I first encountered it in my eighth grade English class, and then again in my sophomore year of high school. My second encounter was absolutely amazing because I combined two things I love – a great book and filmmaking. I was able to adapt the novel into a short film as my final presentation. I wrote a screenplay, filmed, directed, and edited my adaptation. Now, college has allowed a third scholarly encounter that I look forward to. I’m sure there is much to learn as my perception may have altered as I have gotten older; however, maybe I’ll see what I saw in earlier years. I’ll find out. Brontë tells the tormented tale of “childhood playmates who grow into soul mates” – Cathy and Heathcliff. Heathcliff, noted often as a Byronic hero, loves Cathy will all his heart. Yet, when Edgar Linton enters the scene and sparks a friendship with Cathy that turns romantic things begin to change with Heathcliff. The novel illuminates a dark side, but also an undying love that pulls readers into the plot. The MLA International Bibliography offers quite a range of intriguing information to look in regard to Wuthering Heights. I’m confident that I will be enlightened in some new way at the conclusion of this project.
This novel, written by Colombian native Gabriel Garcia Marquez, is about the relationship between love and time. Written in 1985, the novel attempts to define true love in an atmosphere of aristocratic society within Colombia’s culture in the 19th and 20th centuries. The two main characters, Fermina and Florentino, meet upon a random occasion and immediately fall in love. However, as is accustom of the culture, Fermina’s father forbids her from seeing Florentino because he is a boy and is not of affluent society (Florentino is a bastard child of a wealthy shipping merchant and therefore associated with lower class society). Fermina is sent away for her behavior towards Florentino by her father, and the two write love letters in order to remain in contact. After her return, Fermina is unsure that the love she once had for Florentino was true love and decides to abandon him. She marries a wealthy doctor, Dr. Juvenal Urbino, and leaves with him to go to Paris for a few years. She gets pregnant and they move back to Colombia and settle into their house. Meanwhile, Florentino has never given up his love for Fermina and continues to pine over her for over 50 years while he waits for his chance to ask her to marry him (when Fermina’s husband dies).
The majority of the novel revolves around this 50-year period when Florentino fills his love for Fermina with the love of other women in the form of unattached sex with an astounding number of partners. He keeps a journal of every woman he has slept with, and this journal is a means of documenting the time Florentino passes while hopelessly waiting for Fermina.
The relationship between love and time is what I would be researching in this novel. Cholera plays into these themes, as well, and will be looked into. The title of the novel encapsulates the overall theme of the novel, and this is the origin of my inquiry. I am hoping that as I continue my research that I will uncover some interesting truths in the novel underneath the facade of true love and the longevity of time.
The book I have chosen is “The Fountainhead” which was written by Ayn Rand in 1943. The central themes of the book are Objectivism (Rand’s personal philosophy exemplified through her literature), Individualism, and Architecture.The book is studied in classrooms today, even in Architecture courses (cool!), and therefore we can consider it canonical, although it is relatively “young.” I began reading this book for fun this past summer because I read her novel Anthem as required reading for a philosophy course and became interested in Objectivism. I have read most of ”The Fountainhead”, but still have about a hundred pages to go; the book is a total of about 700 pages. I would like to do a research project on this book because I believe, just from reading it, that it has been and will continue to be influential in the future. Analytically, I would like to see how many different ways the books has been studied, and what types of approaches have been taken to analyze the text. It would be very interesting to then comment on what the future may hold for this novel.
Ayn Rand’s description of her philosophy Objectivism:
Rand characterized Objectivism as “a philosophy for living on earth,” grounded in reality, and aimed at defining man’s nature and the nature of the world in which he lives.
My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.
—Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
Article titles I found in MLA International Database:
The Russian Subtext of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead
Adapting The Fountainhead to Film
The Fountainhead from Notebook to Novel: The Composition of Ayn Rand’s First Ideal Man
Thus Spake Howard Roark: Nietzschean Ideas in The Fountainhead
The Fountainhead as a Romantic Novel
Reading The Fountainhead: The Missing Self in Ayn Rand’s Ethical Individualism
Ayn Rand and the World She Made
Ayn Rand for Beginners
How Not to Guide Students to Ayn Rand’s Fiction
A Revival of the Ancient Tradition in Ethics: Aristotle versus Rand
The Strange Attractor in Randian Aesthetics
Guilty by Omission: Girding The Fountainhead for the Cold War
I am going to work with Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises. The novel is narrated by a man named Jake Barnes; a man left impotent by the war, which embodies the broken end of the war and complicates the surface love story that is between him and a Lady Brett Ashley. It is the novel of the Lost Generation. It is a novel with many characters, most based on people Hemingway knew; the main ones followed being expatriates. From a very café Paris, a couple of them go on a fishing trip outside of Pamplona, Spain, in the beautiful hill country. Later, they all meet in Pamplona for the Fiesta, and the bull fights. The novel was completed in 1926. It is a canonical work; is listed in Harold Bloom’s Western Canon, and is 45th on the Modern Library’s 100 Best Novels of the 20th Century list. There is, to say the least, sufficient material dealing with this text—i.e. far more than ten sources.
I had actually listened to audio of this book twice before I ever sat with the text; before I read it. This was the last novel that I read this summer. It was all so new. Those characters whose voices I had heard; I met them. The novel is beautiful. I think what it is is Jake Barnes looking down into the kitchen and seeing all the workers having their dinner, and Jake’s being a real working man all muddled with men who have it all handed to them; and the way that the Basques shot wine to the back of their throats, atop the bus, rolling up the dust going along the country in the sun. Jake doing dives off the dock, all alone in San Sebastian. And poor, poor Robert Cohn; I was in his situation at the time I read it–not necessarily the guy you want to connect with, but I felt like I was reading about myself. And it helped me, tremendously. And that makes a reading of something be something huge. So, my connection with the text: I really love it; and, if that constitutes as a reason, that is why I want to study it.
I am quite aware that the iceberg is real. The prose of the novel is pure; the depth is grand. This novel embodies the mood of the post-war generation. It covers war in the bull ring, heroism, masculinity, impotency, love, disillusionment, Paris, &c.; and I shall further that list to my knowledge, and validate things I feel, I am sure, through my study. As for a direct study or a developed thesis; that will come come a few readings, I am sure.
As my Big Project, I have chosen to focus on Nine Stories by J.D. Salinger. More specifically, I’d like to focus on two of the nine short stories: “For Esmé – With Love and Squalor” and “A Perfect Day for Bananafish.” Both were originally published in The New Yorker, included in Salinger’s Nine Stories collection in 1953, and are generally considered to be part of the American Literary Canon. These two stories deal with men who suffer nervous breakdowns and alienation, but are able to communicate with children. One of the stories ends with the suicide of a broken man, while the other ends with a broken man beginning to attempt to mend himself.
Although I read The Catcher in the Rye in high school, I did not explore J.D. Salinger’s other works until I saw the film The Royal Tenenbaums. Upon discovering that the movie was inspired by a family of recurring characters in Salinger’s short stories, I began to devour his entire published collection. These characters, the children of the Glass family, are geniuses who feel alienated from society. They are witty and relatable, and more is revealed about each of the characters throughout each of his short stories. ”A Perfect Day for Bananafish” follows a member of this family, while “For Esmé” never mentions the main character’s name. I would like to research these stories to better understand their ambiguous meanings. I believe my research will help clarify the role of the young girls in both of these stories, as well as the meaning of their dialogue with the broken men. Because Salinger’s stories are so intertwined, I believe that uncovering meaning in one of these texts will help to clarify the other.
After some thorough searching, I was able to find an abundance of analyses written about all of Salinger’s published short stories. I believe there will be no shortage of literary articles about these two stories, as they are widely regarded as two of his best. The articles I have encountered so far have been fascinating and encouraging in my goal of digging deeper into these Salinger stories.
I intend to study Kate Chopin’s novel “The Awakening” for my research in order to explore the controversy surrounding this story of gender roles. “The Awakening” was first published in 1899 and was welcomed by some critics and attacked by others. Depicting the life of a Creole wife in Louisiana essentially shedding her roles as wife and mother to explore her sensual desires in an affair, Kate Chopin’s novel outraged some audiences in the twentieth century because of its portrayal of gender conformity and social accommodation. Chopin illustrates the repercussions of social norms and the journey to self-realization through the protagonist’s separation from her family and
I chose this particular novel because although I have encountered it in classes in the past, I would like to further my research in its controversial depiction of women’s roles in
twentieth century society. I first read “The Awakening” my senior year of high
school and even in the small class of fifteen students there were many
different reactions to the text, similar to the critics’ reviews after the
novel was first published. Some students applauded Chopin’s description of a woman’s
quest for individual meaning and pleasure in life, while others detested the work
because of the harsh depiction of marriage and parenting in twentieth century society.
With this in mind, I wish to explore the difficult issues of gender roles and
learn more about the shifting views of critics over time in regards to Chopin’s
work. This research will shed light on the sociological impact of gender
conformity and domesticity in the early twentieth century. Ever since the novel’s
publication, critics have discussed its portrayals of feminism and self
realization, thus producing many articles and books linking Kate Chopin’s work
to other feminist writers. I hope to study contrasting critics’ views to gain a
thorough understanding of “The Awakening” and women’s roles in society.
The text I’ve chosen to work on is The Giver by Lois Lowry. This is a short novel that was published in 1993. Though it is a fairly new text, it is already being taught on a middle school level in many schools and is likely on its way to becoming part of the canon. The themes that are focused upon in Lowry’s work are similar to themes found in Thomas More’s Utopia, in that it takes what looks on the outside like a perfect society and reveals the flaws. Ultimately, both of these works take many choices away from the people of the society and completely devalue familial and romantic love. While in Utopia, More simply says he can’t see a society really existing like that in England while Hithloday maintains that it’s the best society in the world, Lowry shows how in order for a system like that to function, some true atrocities have to occur.
I first read this text when I was eleven years old, and it has definitely shaped my literary preferences today. I find dystopian novels, such as Margaret Atwood The Handmaid’s Tale and Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, completely fascinating in the way people come to terms with a society so completely different than their own. In all the works mentioned, there is always at least one character that knows how the normal world (the reader’s) is supposed to function, which often serves as the basis for resistance. I would love to learn more about Lowry’s thought process throughout the writing of her novel and what prompted her to put such a serious subject into a book for children.
Because it is on its way to becoming canonical, there are quite a few writings on Lowry and The Giver. Between EBSCO and JSTOR, both partnered with the MLA Database, I’ve found numerous hits for Lowry’s work.