Monday, April 21, 2014

The Journey's End

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Initially, I had no idea what direction to take for my paper. I knew I wanted to write about Anthem, and I knew I wanted to write about either Alice's Adventures in Wonderland or Through the Looking Glass, and I knew I wanted to tie the two together somehow, but I really didn't know which way to go.

Then I looked back at the Personal Literary Narrative I'd written about Anthem, and the thing I said I loved the most about this novel was the language. And then, as I thought about it, I realized that all of the papers I've written in this class so far have had some sort of linguistic twist. Language is my thing, apparently. And since language is such an integral part of both novels anyway, it seemed like a good topic to discuss.

But even though I had a topic, I still didn't know exactly which route to take. My first idea was actually to write about how language controls thought. I circulated this vague idea around to a few of my friends, who gave me some decent feedback and suggested that I talk about how language affects identity.

But as I started researching and doing a bit of writing, I realized that I was taking some sort of scientific, psycholinguistic approach instead of a literary analysis, and that's not what I wanted to do. So I stepped back and looked at the effects of language in both novels, and tried to form my new topic around the similarities I found. Then I had a small crisis a week or two before my paper was due, where I decided to write about names and how they create identity.

In the end, I combined all of my ideas--language's control over thought, behavior, and reality, as well as the power of names to shape identity. I think all of these ideas ended up playing together well enough.

Here is my final paper if you'd like to check it out: The Power of Language and Names in Anthem and Through the Looking Glass

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