The first presenter spoke about how Sherlock Holmes was the first Superhero. I had heard similar arguments in the past, but his approach was interesting because he linked many aspects of more modern superheroes back to Arthur Conan Doyle's literary hero.
An interesting theme that was present throughout was the relationship between good and evil. The dichotomy between good and evil is the driving theme in most superhero stories. What is different from the superhero stories is the clear distinction between good and evil. Instead of black and white, reality tends to be more grey.
The presentation that I enjoyed most had to deal with the Joker from Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight and how he is a reflection of modern school shooters. He related the randomness of these acts of violence to the seemingly random character of the Joker. Interestingly, the Joker represents the more modern villain who just wants to "watch the world burn." Unlike terrorists, they are without agendas or purposes. I thought that his presentation was really well done and he had a knack for public speaking. I appreciate that because it is a hard thing to do.
I think that the English Symposium is an excellent idea for people who want to share their ideas with their peers and teachers. I am strongly considering entering one of my own pieces into next year's symposium. If am lucky enough to be chosen as one of the presenters, then I think it would be a very exciting and rewarding experience.