Friday, March 21, 2014

The Quest for Greater Depth

For a long time I have felt that the topic of my paper is too shallow.

Too shallow?
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As I've already explained, I love The Phantom Tollbooth because it is an adventure story with certain character archetypes, plot elements, and so forth which are found in epics and other Hero's Journeys. But I feel that if I simply make a checklist of these monomyth-elements and go through the book, marking off each item, the paper will be rather bland and pointless. I might as well create a graph or an Excel document rather than write an essay.

So I need to find a way to make this paper matter. Even thinking about writing a two-page summary has me seriously pondering what I want my paper to do. (In case you're all wondering, yes, I am indeed begging for help!) I know that there are a lot of things I could do with an analysis based on the idea of "journey." Should I use psychoanalysis, and talk about why this book is emotionally fulfilling? Should I talk about perspective while growing up, like I did in this post? How can I make this analysis mean something?

For the moment, I'll plan on talking about how a person's perspective grows as they face trials, as seen through the character changes brought about during "The Hero's Journey." I'll put my paper up on this post soon, but please let me know if you have any ideas!

1 comment:

  1. I agree that just listing the reasons why the Phantom Tollbooth follows the "Hero's Journey" is not very fruitful. In that case, your whole paper could be explained in one sentence: The Phantom Tollbooth follows the Hero's Journey archetype. I think a combination of the ideas you've suggested could work to add some stakes. You could write about why this Hero Archetype appeals to young boys and what about this "hero's journey" pattern interests boys growing up and how does it relate to role insecurities? I think it would be better to talk about how it relates to all growing up boys rather than just your experience. How do you think books, specifically your text, shape societal ideas about gender roles and manhood?

    Just some thoughts. Hopefully they will help lead you somewhere with higher stakes. Good luck! I'll keep thinking of ways to deepen your ideas and let you know what I come up with.