Thursday, April 3, 2014

Battling Reluctance

So yesterday, while I was more excited than usual to write some more substance into my paper, I still delayed as much as possible in working on it. I used all sorts of things to postpone actually writing sentences. I don't know why I find it so hard to begin writing. But once I did, I was able to get a whole page down (woo! 3-4 more to go today!) so that's decent progress for me. From the ridiculous battle against my reluctance to write,  I did manage to find one tactic that did helped me just get going: doing a 5 minute free write completely disconnected with my paper. So as I head into today, I'm going to do another free write, and then just get going. If I need some sources to back me up, I'll be in the library so I can easily access that as I go. But what works for y'all in getting yourself to finally write?

Perpetual Change

As I was working on my paper, I feel like I lost a little of my new found enthusiasm. The task feels daunting once again. I realize that there is still much work ahead of me, but I do take comfort in one thing, and that is the two pages we were required to write and bring in for review a few weeks ago. Looking back at those two pages, I noticed that all of my ideas are very shallow and unfinished. One step I took for this assignment for the 4-5 page draft was to go back and flesh out all of those ideas. Although I have a tad bit of anxiety about how to pull of this paper as a whole, I do feel confident in the ideas I currently have. After they are developed a little more and expanded upon, I'll have a pretty solid portion of my paper. From there it should be easy to continue to develop on the theme of my thesis and keep the ideas flowing. I'm very interested to see where my paper ends up in its finished form.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


So, I think I've had a lot of feedback from my mom and my friends, so I don't think I need more feedbacks from them. But as I've talked about in my previous post, I sent an email from back home. He has given me some good suggestions on what I can do with all the crazy ideas I have in my head. My thesis is ready to go, so I'm satisfied for now.
I've been very busy with mid-terms this week, so I hope to get a lot of my essay done tomorrow.

The Ultimate Tuesdays with Morrie Feedback!

So I chatted with Mitch Albom today. WHAT'S UP. I'm so excited. I'm actually kind of flipping out right now. Back story!

Maybe a week ago, I was chatting with Sophie about getting feedback from experts, and I mentioned that I was waffling with the idea of asking Mitch Albom some questions. She jumped on board right away, encouraging me to go for it. I hesitated and put it off because I didn't feel like I really had any valid questions, and I didn't want to approach a great author with dumb questions.

Jump to yesterday night, when I was having a small breakdown about my paper. I knew it was lacking the honesty and deliberate care I usually put into my papers. The subject I had chosen to write about was lackluster at best--I simply couldn't bring myself to care about it enough to write a paper I really liked. I went to my dad, feeling ready to give up completely. Sensibly, he sat me down and made me tell him why I care about Tuesdays with Morrie in the first place. I answered earnestly and quickly--I know why I love it. It's honest, heartfelt, and deeply touching to me. I love it.

So, ever the wonderful father, my dad told me to write about that. I scrunched my face up critically--write about love and feeling in a literary analysis? I didn't think I could manage it. But we talked things through and I finally came to a thesis and topic that I can really truly embrace. And now I'm excited to write my paper!

Now for the best part. I snuck into my dad's empty office this afternoon to work on my paper in peace and quiet. I got in the groove and was getting lots done when I realized that I finally had a question for Mitch. So I did some research and ended up on his official Facebook page. I worked and reworked a suitable question, and then posted it with low expectations but high hopes.

AND HE RESPONDED. Ahhhh! Best day ever. His answer was really interesting, and it lends itself perfectly to the topic of my paper. Speaking of which, I've finally decided on a topic. I'm going to write about the fact that Tuesdays with Morrie is not a literary book. It doesn't lend itself to analysis or interpretation--it simply isn't formatted that way. In spite of that, it is a very valuable, touching, sentimental text, and that kind of literature is very literary because the whole point of literature is (or should be) to make us more human. And that's exactly what Tuesdays with Morrie does. Not really elegant yet, but that's the general idea.

This Marks the End of Me Getting Any Sleep

I went to the library yesterday and read some different critical essays about Hemingway to get a feel for the type of analysis I was wanting to do. I found a lot of good sources that are shaping the way I think about my topic. As I studied more, my original thesis statement evolved into something clearer. Instead of focusing on the generation of characters, I decided to focus on the main character, Jake Barnes, and analyze him a little more. He is an intriguing character, and I can draw some parallels between him and Alice. So, my thesis statement is a little different, but I think it will help me get to the point that I wanted to make all along.

I've started drafting and I think I should be done by tonight. I'm still reading more essays and I want to really make sure that I can defend my argument before I go any further. I think that our peer review session on Friday is going to be a big tell on whether or not I made the right decision. I think I'm going the right direction with this, but I could use some feedback from my peers.

Here is my revised (and hopefully final) thesis statement:

Although many of the characters in Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises personify the schizophrenic moral attitude of the twenties, Jake Barnes represents the resilient moral compass of his lost generation.   

Getting Something Onto the Page

My current challenge for writing this research paper is the "writing" part. I just need to start writing -- no more research, no more social validation (for now). I think I can handle adjusting my thesis (once I have one), or making my ideas coherent, or doing research or asking people for feedback... but only once I've actually started writing.

At this point, I don't see much purpose in trying to ask a professional a good research question before I even know what I want to do with my paper. And I need to actually have something on the page before I begin doing any serious research -- I have precious little time as it is to finish the essay, and I don't want to waste it panicking and chasing down references, quotes and essays which I will not end up using when what I most need to do is just write something.

While I've done a close reading of The Phantom Tollbooth, armed with my red pen, I've found quite a few topics that really interest me. My current course of action is to let the words flow out, putting my ideas down to the paper. I've loved finding puns, new perspectives, and repeated themes. I feel like there is a paper floating around in my mind, even though I don't know the thesis yet. I'll write the paper, then see the thesis spell itself out in the words.

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)...

Baby Steps

Ah, a status report.

On Monday I posted such a report and wrote about how I need to visit the good ol' library once more.

Well, I did.

While some people love to watch the hours slip by while studying in the library, I have a really hard time doing so. I'd much rather be outside and eating something chocolatey and ice creamy. Anyways, today I forced myself to sit. And research. And think. And organize. Like crazy. And it was a good time to do it because it was a blizzard outside, which would've made it less pleasant to be outside and pretty ridiculous to eat something ice creamy.

Now, I'm proud to say that my little baby of a paper has gained a little chubbiness and is almost, almost ready to walk. I've gone through all my sources, organized them, and took out any quotes that I may use in my paper.

So here it is, my appropriately-named Big Baby Outline.

After this, it's time to get this puppy on its feet.

Connecting the Dots

Open Clipart
Currently I am going through all of my research and assembling a short outline that lists the characteristics of several different representations of death. Unfortunately, I’m having a harder time with my new idea to connect the Queen of Hearts to a goddess of death. I’m sure it will work itself out though. Once this outline is done I’ll simply need to flesh it out and connect the dots. It shouldn't be too hard.

I also plan to talk to a librarian whose main focus is YA literature tomorrow. I hope he can help me clarify some of my ideas.

A Treasure Trove of Information

Creative Commons license 2.0 / flickr

I emailed my high school English teacher last week because i knew that she liked Faulkner a lot, and within mere minutes, she emailed me back! What a gem! This is what she sent me:
Because I haven't specifically studied him for a long time, I'm not sure what to say but I do remember he grew up in a very strict southern household where he was sent to a corner of the parlor for punishment. His family owned slaves and became close their children--playing games with them. He played hokey when it came to go to church and often got in trouble for it. It was during his Parlour Punishment that he took out the dictionary and read it over and over--hence his love and mastery of words. I also know he was bitter about the U.S. army's rejection of his desire to serve in the military, saying he was too small--to short, only 5'6". He was not particularly close to his father--he was also alcoholic and tyrannical. He fought a great deal with Hollywood elites when he worked there briefly as a screenwriter. He drank a great deal, and the only person he ever really loved was his wife--who was forced to reject him as a young girl and even married someone else. She later divorced that man and married Faulkner. He was an extremely proud man and didn't take rejection kindly. He didn't like others telling him what to do and battled that all his life. He was extremely proud of his roots, even the distant grandfather/relative feud that he tells stories about in many of his novels--a recurring character, Colonel Satoris. He is based on a real character in Faulkner's family tree. I hope this helps.
This is definitely useful information, and a good way for me to understand one of the authors I'm studying and what he thinks about family. 

After my success with my teacher, my library visit, and the English Symposium, I am excited to dive into my books and write! 

Two down, three to go!

On Monday I wrote a post about my literary analysis goals for this week. Now it's Wednesday and I have been able to accomplish some of them so I thought I would post an updated “Goals List” at my mid-week mark. 

Goals for the next two days:
  • Complete a close-reading of Fairest by Gail Carson Levine.
  • Look again at the sources I have now and incorporate them into my working paper.
  • Find which sources that I have already complied aren't working for me with my revised thesis, and replace them with new ones.
  • Organize the ordering and structure of my paper in preparation for Friday's half-draft.
  • Complete 4-5 pages of organized, purposeful text to bring to class on Friday.*
It's good for me to post this, even though it embarrasses me a little to display all that I still have left to do. I think that's why it is so good for me to post it. It embarrasses me and thus motivates me to move more quickly through my goals. 

*I added this last goal because I want to bring something to class on Friday that is worth being peer reviewed. I don't want to waste my classmate's time. I want to bring something that they will enjoy reading and be interested in critiquing. 

Keep On Keeping On

Creative Commons 1.0
That picture is basically me throughout most of my writing really. I find myself thinking way more than I should and not writing/researching as much as I need to. My status report so far is a little over satisfactory. Honestly, I can feel myself starting to get a bit complacent in my paper and not pushing for making that brilliant paper. Although, my ideas are flowing and I am getting more comfortable in my topic. Improvements are being made with all of the feedback and suggestions I have been receiving. I just have some things to work out and couple more steps to complete. These include:

1. Consult Professionals - I plan to talk to Professor Cutchins who knows a lot about film adaptations and literature. I'm glad he is a BYU professor and father of one of my peers. This way it makes it a lot easier for me to consult him in regards to my paper. He can definitely help with the mechanics and content of it.

2. Better Rough Drafts - my drafts need to be taken more seriously on my part. It feels like I complete them just to get it done instead of significantly flushing my ideas out and doing it as a preparation for the final one. A lot of that probably has to do with how much time and effort I actually put into doing them.

3. WORK HARDER - this would probably be my greatest challenge. I've done so many papers they are sort of like an exercise that I've grown to shortchange and not give my all. This paper is probably one of the more important ones I'll do here in college so I need to step it up. As a recently accepted English Teaching major, I need to be a paper expert and this is the only way I'll get to that level. Practice makes perfect!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Progress Reports

I understand the importance of progress reports but for some reason the idea of elementary school progress reports still sticks in my head. So, here's my progress report.

As for creativity, Kristen is getting a B+. She's doing well with coming up with creative ideas, but she needs to put more effort into those ideas. She comes up with a new ideas but she can't seem to stick with just one idea. As of right now, she likes the idea of comparing themes in Victorian literature. Both Dracula and Alice in Wonderland play with the ideas of reality, identity, knowledge, and memory. They also use similar tactics such as symbolism and foreshadowing. With these in mind, Kristen can write a good paper comparing and contrasting the two texts.

As for application, Kristen is getting a B-. She's got the ideas but she has a hard time applying the knowledge she has. When she does apply the knowledge, she does a pretty good job although sometimes connections can be lost. She just needs to make sure that all of her ideas tie back into her thesis.

As for research and preparation, Kristen has a solid B. She has done a lot of research but several of her sources lack substance. The idea of the source is nice, but there's not necessarily a way to apply the source to her current paper.

As for in-text examples for her paper, Kristen gets an A-. She knows both of the texts very well and she has enough examples to compare and contrast Dracula and Alice in Wonderland.

As for the actual paper, Kristen hasn't received a grade. She's got many of her ideas figured out, but she hasn't actually written more than two and a half pages. She is working on it and her outline appears to be helping her. We'll see what the final grade will actually be though.

Monday, March 31, 2014


What I need to do (I hope you don't mind, Jessica, that I've copied your idea):
- Get more sources
- Find more quotes to use in my writing
- Get more feedbacks from friends

I'm having a hard time trying to get all the analysis I've done so far to line up with my thesis, which is really difficult because I end up changing it constantly. I've been trying to find all these similarities and differences between Alice and Sara, as I've briefly mentioned in my previous post. And as I've listed them out, I found out that different thesis could be written from them. The problem is, I can't use all of them for a specific thesis. I'd like to incorporate all the analysis I've done so far in my paper... 

So that's the problem I've been having. 

I think I'm close to choosing a thesis, but I'll be talking with a teacher from back home who helped with my college essays.  

Unexpected Benefits of English Symposium

Creative Commons License 2.0 / tripu
 When I went to English Symposium, I didn't expect it to be very helpful for my paper, especially considering that the panel I attended was entitled "Teaching Harry Potter."  I'm not an English teaching major and Harry Potter didn't seem to have much to do with A Little Princess or Alice in Wonderland.  I just went because they were talking about Harry Potter.  I thought that maybe I could get some tips on using a seemingly non-academic book for an academic paper.  I also thought it might be somewhat helpful to see how they used their sources in analyzing the text.  While attending the panel was helpful in that respect, it was helpful in other ways that were more specific to my paper as well.

To Do Lists Are My Favorite

-Re-read book and relax
-Annotate Sources
-Read Former Analyses
Creative Commons License BY-ND / Mufidah Kassalias

For my paper right now, I need to spend some time reading my book a little closer. Specifically, I need to go to specific sections of my book that I am considering using and read those sections from a more analytical standpoint. And I don't know if I need to just read my book for fun, but it would be therapeutic and relaxing for me to do so, and it  might also contribute to my paper.

The main thing on my to do list, however, in terms of my paper would be to digest the sources I have. I actually have most of the sources that I need, and I may need to do more research, but the sources I have are varied enough to help me make the connections I need. What I really need to do is go through my sources and annotate them. 

Another thing I have to do is read my former papers. I want to go through the literary analyses I wrote earlier this semester and make sure to incorporate the things I didwell as well as improve upon the things I did not do as well on in my last papers. 

Striking Gold at the Symposium

I just about died and went to heaven at the BYU's English Symposium. I heard three presentations on Catcher in the Rye, and although I've never actually read it, the information was incredibly helpful for my research and ideas on As I Lay Dying! Specifically, a student named Katie Nilson discussed her paper called, "A Phony Family: Upper-class Materialism and the Creation of Holden Caulfield." Well there you go! 

Her discussion on the influence of parents on their children and what that does to individuals and family was right along the lines of what I'm discussing in my paper. I spoke to her afterward and asked her about an article she quoted. It was called "Making Normal People" by Read Bain. Bain says that "Adolescent rebellion is a disease of parents." Perfect! I'll definitely delve more into this article as I write my paper.

In Betweens

Question: How is my paper coming?

Answer: Not extremely well.

Why? Because the past two weeks have been an exam-and-essay-filled nightmare.

BUT there is a bright star on the horizon. (No, not one of Keats's "bright stars"-- one a lot less exciting.) I plan on meeting with a professor of Historical American Lit today at three to discuss women and colonialism and I am praaayyyiiinnggg something in our conversation sparks a new idea or angle because, dear friends, I am FRESH OUT.

If anyone has any interesting sources I could explore about women and colonialism, I will give you the greatest high-five the universe has ever known.

Wrapping Up

Have you ever seen the "I Love Lucy" episode where Lucy and Ethel work in a chocolate factory for a day? Their job is to wrap every single chocolate on the conveyor belt, and in the beginning, it's a piece of cake. They begin wrapping the chocolates lackadaisically. Then, the conveyor belt gets faster...and faster...and faster, until eventually, this happens:

Feast your eyes on the end of semester for a college student.

This is how I feel about all of the information, feedback, and research I've collected. It's all precious as chocolate. But with so much information and so little time, I think I'm ready to stop the conveyor belt and wrap everything up neatly.

I've made connections with many characters in Alice in Wonderland, I've begun to analyze the characters in As I Lay Dying, I've found useful background information about Faulkner through an enthusiast, I've found some Aristotelian ideas, I've found some present-day applications--time to narrow down, zero in, flesh out, and organize.

Wish me luck!

A Thousand Splendid Reasons To Continue

Where am I at in my writing?

Pretty much, I am comfortable with where I am.  After talking to Professor Burton, I have a much better idea of where I want to go with my writing and this paper.  I'm now going to discuss why Khaled Hosseini was so successful in writing a feminist novel in a very anti-feminist atmosphere, which I think narrows down my original broad thesis before.

With this in mind, I am glad that the sources I originally chose still apply, although I may now have to do a little more biographical information on Hosseini and his experiences in Afghanistan.

Furthermore, I will need to do a little more research on Carroll before I am comfortable with including his contributions in my essay.

Apart from that, the game is on! 

Coming Together

The thing I've worked on most with my paper so far is just finding key passages that demonstrate how language affects the thoughts and/or actions of the characters, and I've done a bit of research, but the thing I need to focus on most as I write my paper is cohesion. I know how to analyze specific passages to support my point, but I know that a collage of key passages doesn't mean anything if I can't draw them together in a cohesive argument that starts somewhere and leads to somewhere else in order to prove (or at least support) the point of my thesis.

Creative Commons License 2.0 / Matt Gibson

I think that I have enough feedback at this point in my process to start digging into my paper, but more feedback and suggestions are always welcome. But I feel like at this point in the process, more feedback won't be helpful until I actually write more of my paper and give people something more substantial to give me feedback about. If that makes sense. So I really just need to sit down, stop procrastinating, and start writing.


It’s time for some TLC with my sources (echoing the voice of Annalee said).  

As I have been getting deeper and deeper into my thinking about my topic I realize I really do need to go back to key passages in the text.  I think I know what I will find, and I certainly know now what I’m looking for, it’s just about going and doing it and finding those needed annotations! 

This week I want to nail down a few, strong, articles about feminism and the empowerment of woman, specifically looking at how their definitions may have changed throughout the years.  I also want to skim through Alice’s and Elsha’s big moments when they stood up for themselves = who were they up against?  How did they emotionally handle the situation?  What were the consequential changes in their character development?  In every sequential experience after that a little more easier to stand up for themselves? (i.e. did their confidence continue to grow in their personal abilities to grow?) 

I know the answer to these questions, I just want to support myself exactly with quotes and annotations for the text.  

I think my highlighter and I are going to be creating a special bond with our books this week.  

Wish me luck! 

Let's See How I'm Doing

From Wikipedia
Well, we're in the homestretch now. I feel like I have a fairly clear idea about what I want to write. I still have a little way to go. Basically, I am going to focus on the Lost Generation in Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises and relate that in some way to Carroll's Alice. At this point, I still need to do some deeper analyzing of my primary text. 

I have a lot of different sources that I need to digest. I feel like I have all of this information, but nowhere to put it. I need to organize my information and probably throw some of it out. Once I get more into the writing process, I think I'll do some more research, but we'll see. At this point, I think I have a lot of what I'll need already.

I've received some good feedback from different people, and I feel like it is enough for now. I'm trying to think of a good question to ask my "expert." I'm also trying to figure out how to get in touch with him. Hopefully, I'll have a more developed idea of what I want to ask by the time I've finished my rough draft on Friday. Once I get writing, I'll get on a roll and then everything will fall into place. I'm excited to get going and I feel more prepared than I have felt before writing previous papers. This week is important and will determine the ultimate tone and direction of my final paper. 

The Bond between Old and New

What is the relationship between old and new?  Classic and Modern?

The BYU symposium gave me a new perspective and reminded me of something I think I already knew.  The New is here because of the Old.  Modern texts morphed from the Classics.  Like T.S.Eliot I also believe that we need the past in order to understand and create a future. 

One of the presentations I saw was on the modern TV adaptation of “Merlin”, the Camelot myth, and the deviations that were made from the original text to better suite modern ideals and expectations.  Apparently, I old bearded man is not very relatable… but a 19 year old boy total is!  Guienivere’s adultery was scandalous back then, but modern rules of “was it for true love?” makes it much more ok these days.  And, we don’t seem to be able to handle to evil of a character who has the conflicting tendencies to be good — so current writers saw the need to split up the Lady of the Lake into two characters so viewers wouldn’t have to go through such an internal acceptance/ shunning battle. 

Thinking about my own topic, I see the empowerment of woman also going through a kind of metamorphosis.  Modern woman seem to feel that feminism is just simply standing up to the oppressive male.  Since when did a woman’s empowerment have to only come to her if she is up against a man?!? 
Like Alice standing up to the Queen, I feel a woman can step into her empowered role as long as she is standing up for herself, not just standing up against a man.  

>> More coming as I respond to an enthusiast response to the question: “At what moment did Alice step into her role as an empowered woman?” 

My Momma's Wisdom

Like I've said before, I still need to come up with a specific thesis. However, I still have a strong desire to write about the role of language in The Phantom Tollbooth. I recently brainstormed by creating a list of Things That Language Does that I feel would be applicable to my analysis of the book.

First I'm going to sit down and write out as much of the paper as I can (working on the goal of 4 to 5 pages from the middle of the essay). As I go, I hope to get an idea of what kind of research I would need to do: definitions, analyses done by my fellow students (such as  Kimberlee), and so forth. I don't feel it would be wise to do research until I actually know what I'm looking for. In other words, panicking and thinking "Oh crap, this is a RESEARCH paper so I need to do RESEARCH!" and wantonly scrambling around the Humanities Reference section of the library without any clear goal is not going to be productive.

My mom once said: "People are scared of commitment until they're committed." So I just need to get started and have some faith in myself.

Tally-Ho! A Writing We Will Go

What's next? As we are heading into the end of this week where we have to produce 4-5 more pages of our draft, I am feeling okay. Normally I would be panicking and avoiding my paper, but its really helped that we have done little bits of preparation for this paper these past couple weeks. I really like my thesis right now, and while I'm sure it will get tweaked, I feel very good about what I am going to be writing. What I need to to this week, is to spend some more time with  my sources, and really pick out quotes and evidence to use in my paper. Tori encouraged me to use the Chat with a Librarian thing to find the French Encyclopedia in English that I so desperately want, so I'm definitely going to do that this week. And then I just need to write! And, dare I say it, I'm actually looking forward to writing.

What the Harry Potter Symposium Taught Me

Let me tell you a sad story. Once upon a time, I was shadowing an 8th English class and we were all in a library. The librarian asked the students to raise their hands if they have read the Harry Potter books. About 3-5 out of twenty students raised their hands in each of the 4 classes I attended. That's like 20% people. After that experience, I decided that if I became a middle school teacher or even got to do British literature in High School, I would most definitely be bringing Harry Potter to the masses! So I was incredibly excited to go to the Harry Potter Pedagogy (or teaching) Symposium.

While none of the content related to The Count of Monte Cristo or my thesis whatsoever, two of the the three presented their comparison papers. Which is what I'm most nervous about in writing my paper-its comparison structure. It was helpful to see their successful structure. One person compared Remus Lupin's teaching style to Dorlores Umbridge's, while another compared the first day lesson plans of Lupin, Umbridge and Treawley. Both of them organized their presentation by focusing on each character at a time. I realized that for my paper, if I did that tactic, I could easily end up giving more importance to Edmond Dantes, who I have a lot more text on, and make the comparison unequal between him and the Queen of Hearts. So I am going to organize my paper based by the common and contrasting elements not the characters.  

Dazed and Confused

As the time for writing my paper draws near, I find myself reverting back to a state of anxiety and confusion as to how I'm going to pull this task off. I still have a good framework in mind of how I'm going to structure my paper, and what I want to write about, but I know there is a lot lacking. Since I'm doing a biographical comparison of Adams and Carroll based on similarities in their writing, I decided to check out biographies on both of them last week. I've been putting it off, but I know the next step is to start investing serious time to peruse through them and solidify the material I plan on using for my paper. I think I have just about all the feedback I need. More feedback is never a bad thing, but I've been noticing a lot of repetition in the suggestions I've been receiving, so it's apparent to me that I need to just quit stalling and dive right in. The time is now.

What's the next step?

What's next for my paper? Honestly, I think the next step that I need to take is to just start writing. I think I have enough analysis from The Book Thief, I think I have sufficient research (I may need some more specific details with certain myths, but those can be done as I go), and I think I have enough feedback (however, I am going to talk to a librarian specializing in Young Adult literature this week). Other than those few steps that I’m already planning on taking I think I've got a pretty good handle on this paper.

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

Creative Commons 2.0
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.

Go for the goals.

There comes a time, when writing a literary analysis paper, when one must stop and appreciate the progress that has been made, as well as assess what still needs to be done. I have a pretty good handle on what I would like to address in the novel Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine, but now that I have included Fairest (by the same author) in my paper, I feel the need to do some close reading with it. I have only read Fairest once all the way through and so I think I need to take some time to really study it in context of my topic. Also, I think I have several sources that aren't as relevant any more now that I have shifted the direction of my topic. I'd like to replace some of those with fresh sources that are more applicable.

My goals for the rest of this week:
  • Complete a close-reading of Fairest by Gail Carson Levine.
  • Look again at the sources I have now and incorporate them into my working paper.
  • Find which sources that I have already complied aren't working for me with my revised thesis, and replace them with new ones.
  • Organize the ordering and structure of my paper in preparation for Friday's half-draft.

Misty Mountain Hop

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I attended a symposium that related the themes of Nature, Fairy Tales, and Songs of the Hobbit. The first speaker was a junior who spoke about Emerson's essay entitled "Nature." He highlighted some of the main points about how we connect to nature and how we can receive revelation from being alone in nature. Next was a graduate student who talked about fairy tales and the frame stories that often accompany them. She focused on one particularly obscure fairy tale called "The Yellow Dwarf." She emphasized how this tale was one that lacked a happy ending, but was meant to be more of a teaching tool. The Third and final speaker presented a paper entitled "Tunes of a Tale" focusing on the songs of the Hobbit. She mentioned how long lines of poetry in the literature we read can often make that literature boring, but in The Hobbit is serves as more of a way to progress the story along. All three talks had interesting elements that I benefited from and new things that I learned.

Little Progress Post

This post is a self-analysis. How am I doing? What do I need to focus on?

I've been avoiding this type of thinking and blindly following whims for a while.

But I finally feel like I need to do this to keep moving forward.

I've made some changes to my thesis, and I think that's starting to work. Now it's time to spend a couple more nights in the library, which is something I'm becoming accustomed to. I've gone back to the drawing board several times and now it's time to get my hands dirty. I'm really looking forward to it.

Process of Perks Paper

We've come a long way folks. We are getting closer to our goal which a well written and supported paper. It's incredible how all of these steps we have taken toward writing this final draft have really improved our process. With all the feedback, revisions, and suggestions, it has made it a lot easier to finalize my argument. I have a few things left to do. First, I plan to talk to an expert about my paper. Professor Cutchins, also known as Kate's dad, is an instructor here at BYU. He knows a lot about adaptation theory and he even wrote a book about it! I will be contacting him and sharing how far along I am. I think he could really enhance my paper in many ways. Another thing I plan to do is incorporate the primary text more. I have been rereading The Perks of Being a Wallflower to become more familiar with what I had read before. I'm almost done with it again and I have been taking notes on what passages are strong enough to use as evidence. This will definitley help me sort out my sources as well and see which I can incorporate more. Of course, I also want to give way more time to this paper and really focus on developing everything I have been working on. The more time I give, the better this paper will turn out. I can do this! 

Lost in Translation

I've always found it interesting to see how an author's explanation of a text is different from the way he or she writes. This was definitely the case for the English Symposium session I attended.

I chose to attend a session on Puritan Society because of the student journal (Criterion) that I volunteer on. This semester, I have been working to help publish a paper and I was fortunate enough to attend the author's presentation at the symposium. His topic was about the Trial of Anne Hutchinson.

The paper argued that Anne Hutchinson was convicted because she was seen as a threat, rather than the fact that she was a woman who advised men. The paper took a bit of work, but by the end of the editing process it was so much clearer and there was one central idea. By working with this author, I realized that many writers have the same problem I do: they know what they want to say but it becomes muddled when being turned into a paper.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Perks of Public Speaking

Took this picture myself....I'm awesome
This was my first time attending a session of the BYU English Symposium. It was a really good experience because I realized a lot in terms of writing papers. The speakers were very articulate in their papers and I think this added to the way they spoke on the panel. The session I attended was called "A Whole New World: Disney, Adaptation, and the Americanization of Fairy Tales" and the topics included were very interesting. The first speaker talked about Walt Disney and argued how much of the criticism aimed toward him was false and misinformed. Her points actually gave me a lot of insight on how to accurately discusses false accusations or beliefs in a way that will support a paper. The second speaker was probably the most relevant in terms of my paper concept. She discussed book and film adaptations and how the father figure image in many disney tales was portrayed differently. This was helpful for my writing process because I really paid attention to how she managed to compare all the adaptations and successfully support her thesis without going off topic. Finally, there was the last speaker who I think was the most proficient when discussing her paper. She came off as very knowledgeable and well prepared for her turn on the panel. She talked about the way fairy tales are portrayed differently in social media frames. She used the website Tumblr as her biggest example with fairy tales and their portrayals. It was interesting to hear her argument because it relied a lot on relation to the readers and their understanding of how social media works. Nonetheless, her explanation of her paper was convincing and made me reflect on my ideas.

After attending the English Symposium, I definitely think I will submit one of my papers in the future. It also made me to realize that you don't have to be an exceptional writer and speaker to be part of it. There is a way better chance of me being chosen to share at the symposium. All you need is a well done paper.


Better late than never but never late is better... 

Since I am still a bit reluctant to messaging strangers online, I decided to reach out to enthusiasts in person. For my enthusiasts, I decided to use fellow English majors and lovers of writing. I consider them to be enthusiasts because they have the same passion of research and analysis that I do. I had an electronic version of my draft in hand to every enthusiasts I talked to. Most of the English majors I talked to gave me similar advice. They had great advice about formulating the paper and how the structure could be improved to help fluidity. One enthusiast I talked to was a Writing Fellow here at BYU. They're advice was very useful because they have a lot of experience with guiding other in their writing processes. In terms of ideas, I got way more points to discuss and ideas I hadn't thought of before. I really like sharing my drafts with others personally. It's probably the most useful practice we have done in this class, in my opinion. Yay for enthusiasts!

Disney Symposium

How cool is it that the BYU English Symposium had a panel called: "A Whole New World: Disney, Adaptation, and the Americanization of Fairy Tales"? Pretty much, really cool.

The paper that helped me the most was "From Adoration to Antagonist: Father Figures in Popular Cinderella Tales" by Jenna Cooper. It was about the father-role in Cinderella book and film adaptations. One of her examples was Ella Enchanted! She wrote not only about how fairy tales are retold, but also about gender roles. Needless to say, this was a very helpful paper for me to listen to.

Cooper wrote about how Hollywood fairy tale adaptations have to adapt to the movie watching culture, which has little connection to the traditional tales. Novels have the power to be more literary and can thus connect audiences more easily to traditional fairy tale literature. She made the point that films tend to have a father role who is loving, supportive, and vital to Cinderella's determination and success, whereas books usually portray the father as a demeaning antagonist more like the original story of Cinderella. Because really, who would marry such a wicked woman as Cinderella's step mother?

I loved listening to what Jenna Cooper had researched and collaborated and found it really helpful to hear very similar ideas from a completely different angle. After the presentations, I approached her and asked her a few questions and explained the paper I have been working on. She agreed to let me see the entirety of her paper while we both expressed our love for the novel Ella Enchanted.

I don't know why I have never gone to the English Symposium at BYU before.