Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Through the Library

Since we didn't have class today (Wednesday), I spent some time in the library looking up articles and books that might be helpful sources to use for my paper. Using various combinations of "Ayn Rand," "Anthem," "Lewis Carroll," "language," "linguistics," "thought," and "control" (some general searches, others combined more specifically), I found a few sources that I may or may not use directly in my paper, but either way could be helpful:
Major levels of  linguistics / Wikipedia
  • an article about Rand's promotion of narcissism and worship of "This god, this one word: I" (which also slams Donald Trump as a politician)
  • a brief abstract of a graphic adaptation of Anthem, made in response to a letter that Ayn Rand wrote to Walt Disney requesting that if Anthem were to be made into a film, she would like it to be represented with stylized drawings rather than live actors (so the graphic novel version apparently features stylized drawings)
  • a book called Language and Lewis Carroll which sounds very relevant to my argument
  • an article that puts Lewis Carroll's use of linguistics into the context of Victorian language theory--the idea of "autonomous language" wherein words have a life outside of the speaker, which actually sounds really interesting
  • an article examining the historical origins of language and speech itself (maybe relevant?)
  • a more science-y article about how automatic language processing is, focusing on neurological processes (probably not terribly relevant to my paper but still interesting)
  • and another science-y article about whether or not thought is dependent on language (which actually should be very relevant to my paper)...

    This article actually suggests that thought is not dependent on language, which is making me rethink my thesis a little bit. Because at the present, it has something to do with whether or not language controls thought/behavior of the characters, but now that I'm thinking about it, I'm not sure that's the point I actually want to make.

    The point is that I'm aiming for more of a literary analysis than a psycholinguistic something-or-other; I'm not trying to make a scientific point, which I think is where I started to head on accident. I just want to observe how, literarily speaking, language itself affects the characters, and not prove that language does or does not control thought in general.

    But then how do I make this into a more specific, arguable claim for my thesis? This is tricky stuff. I'll go back and review the different types of claims again and try to figure something out. Meanwhile, though, I'm open to suggestions. All help is appreciated. 
Anyway, the other things I really need to do, aside from sorting out my thesis again, are writing out an outline (which should help with cohesion) and figuring out which sources I actually want to use aside from the primary texts. It should be a busy day tomorrow!


  1. Awesome! Good for you, finding all those sources. I still struggle with that (and I'm sure I'm not alone). As you update your thesis you'll have to keep me posted, since I'm still trying to figure out which sorts of sources would help me in my vaguely-language-themed thesis.

  2. I had a similar experience when I looked at new sources. My thesis evolved and now I'm about doing a more character-analysis oriented paper. It seems to me that theses are living things that evolve until they become exactly what you want.

  3. Good sources, thinking, and comments. I think you are in the zone to produce a good draft at this point.

  4. Yay! I'm happy that you found some good sources. I got some more historical info for Count of Monte cristo, and it did kinda shake my paper and thesis just a little bit too. I think maybe you should try to just start analyzing your texts ( or if you already have maybe take remind yourself of what you found) and then go from there to say how language affects the characters, rather than try and build up a framework and make your evidence fit it.