Monday, March 31, 2014

“Every fairy tale needs a good old-fashioned villain”

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I went to two panels at the English Symposium last week: “The Hero We Need: Superheroes – and Supervillians – in American Popular Culture” and “Adaptation and the Art of Transposing Myths Ancient and Modern.” The first panel included Sherlock as a hero, Batman, and the Joker. The second one was about the modern Sherlock Holmes, Merlin, and Sherlock Holmes as a fighter. The second panel helped me a lot with my paper, so I’m glad I stayed.

Each of the presenters at the second panel used a comparison strategy, which is what I’m doing in my paper. It showed me that despite the doubts I've been having, it is possible for my comparison to work. The presenter who compared the different and more modern adaptations of Sherlock Holmes compared the differences in the portrayals of Watson. She talked about his movement from a bumbling character who only provided comic relief to the more modern, helpful, and confident Watson. Her timeline comparison gave me some good ideas and tips. The second presenter compared the original version of the Merlin myth to the modern BBC adaptation, which gave me some ideas on how to compare original death myths (Thanatos) to Death in The Book Thief. The final presenter used the same adaptations of Holmes that the first presenter did, but instead of comparing their Watsons, he compared their fighting styles. His presentation gave me the idea that I could more fully compare how each of the variations of death behaved when compared to each other.

The last presentation of the first panel, about Heath Ledger's Joker, was helpful too. The presenter compared the Joker of The Dark Knight to a mass shooter rather than to the typical comparison to a terrorist. It was very interesting and gave a new spin to the Joker, which is what I'm hoping to do with the character of Death.

I had doubts about how attending these panels would be helpful with my paper, but they showed me that what I’m planning on doing is in fact possible.

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