Festival of Scholars

An annual celebration of research, scholarship, and creativity

English Capstone Presentations

Date: Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Time: 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Location: Roth Nelson Room
Description: English majors deliver papers and presentations as part of their senior Capstone experience, a year-long process combining independent and mentored research and creative writing. Students’ work reflects a high level of academic achievement and has likely been presented, in part or in full, at regional and national undergraduate conferences such as the Southern California Conference on Undergraduate Research (SCCUR), the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR), and Sigma Tau Delta, the International English Honors Society.

« Go back to the Schedule of Events




Student Abstracts at this Session

Student(s):
Patrick Bennett

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Joan Wines
Finding Identity in a Postmodern World: Paths of Discovery in Haruki Murakami’s Detective Novels

In his detective novels, Japanese writer Haruki Murakami demonstrates how his postmodern characters develop their specifically individual identities by way of various methods, experiences, and choices. Their common initial conditions of loneliness and isolation arguably reflect the condition of some of Murakami’s postmodern readers. I want to theorize that these readers can use the detective author’s “character-seeking-and-finding-identity” model to gain a rational set of skills with which to discover their own identities.




Student(s):
Brenda Gallardo

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Joan Wines
National Educational Policy-making: What’s needed? What’s new?

The U.S. Department of Education has implemented various policies to address the issues and problems in our country’s educational systems. In this paper, I specify how two national education policies have been less than successful in equipping our students with the necessary skills for meeting “the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship,” a goal that Frederick Hess, a Harvard University Professor, maintains we need to achieve. Both the policy-driven Excellence Movement during the 1980s and the No Child Left Behind Act in 2001 failed to reach their expected results, let alone Hess’s lofty goal. Recently, the Department of Education is once again on the verge of implementing a new national education policy--the Common Core. An examination of this new policy reveals that the Common Core has a good chance of providing what is needed to fulfill the expectations we have for national education.




Student(s):
Robert Galletly

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Bryan Rasmussen
The Mind’s Eye: Focalization in Post-Modern Films

In film, as in fiction, an audience is drawn in to the characters before them. This paper explores a key mechanism by which the audience is connected to characters in contemporary film, namely through the narrative action of focalization. Focalization is the process by which we see from a character's perspective. There has been a trend in contemporary filmmaking that makes the technical process of focalization a feature of the plot. In the 1999 film "Being John Malkovich," characters place themselves into someone else’s body and interact with others to find out more about themselves. As the characters enter someone else, the audience views this "outer" character, yet the "inner" character is acting and thinking for them. I will explore how this process works in "postmodern" films and what this move to make formal narrative elements like focalization the substance or content of the narrative has to say about film.




Student(s):
Jenna Nakamura

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Bryan Rasmussen
Time Progression and Reader Investment in Holocaust Autobiographies

Holocaust personal narratives contain elements that differ from fictional stories and informational sources that allow them to expose the character's emotions and thoughts that would not be provided in other genres. In Anne Frank’s diary, "Anne Frank: The Diary of A Young Girl," and Miriam Katin’s graphic memoir, "We Are On Our Own," the personal choices in their lives illustrate how each of their decisions affected their lives. My intent was to compare certain excerpts in these two different types of personal memoirs to demonstrate how their structures differ but they both still reveal more than factual sources. My interest in this project began with the connection to the characters in historical personal narrative as well as the opportunity to situate myself in the character's situation. I found that memoirs and diaries were similar in providing emotional information but they differed in their presentation of the character's stories.




Student(s):
Shannon Streeter

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Joan Wines
Banning Harry: A Long and Losing Battle

The rationales for banning books have often been based on religious ideology, and the outcry against the Harry Potter series is no exception. Fundamentalist religious groups have declared that the Harry Potter novels promote a wicked way of life. They fear that J.K. Rowling's "malicious message" will infiltrate the minds of children and have damaging long term effects on society in general. They argue that Rowling's world of magic is thoroughly Satanic because magic is always Satanic and therefore evil and dangerous. This opposition is ironic in its failure to acknowledge Rowling's own emphases on struggles between good and evil. I demonstrate how the author's magical world is neither distinctly Wiccan nor Satanic and how her Christ figures and other Biblical contexts challenge the rationales of those who would ban these highly popular and successful books.




Student(s):
Ashley Szanter

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Joan Wines
Homosocial “Theory” and a New Reading of The Picture of Dorian Gray

Homosociality (social relationships between persons of the same sex and especially between men) originated as a Sociology term referencing intra-gender relations. In 1985, literary theorist Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick introduced the term homosocial as an interesting supplement to Queer theory, exploring it as a way to understand masculine gender dynamics in literature. Although Sedgwick did not forge a full-blown homosocial literary theory, she did build its preliminary foundations. I aim to broaden Sedgwick’s preliminary construction and create a theoretical prototype that can be applied across literary genres. Grounding this prototype in historical and etymological contexts will enable the theory to be detailed in its focus on homosociality while retaining breadth in relation to socio-cultural and historical factors. Applying this template to Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray will reopen the conversation on homosocial versus homosexual readings of Wilde’s novel.




Student(s):
Elmira Tadayon

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Bryan Rasmussen
Sherwood Anderson’s “Grotesques:” Characters as Human Truths, Not Human Minds

This essay examines Sherwood Anderson’s implied function of character as a representation of human truth rather than human mind, and demonstrates how this reading of character changes the way narrative can be understood and defined. Anderson’s "Winesburg, Ohio" challenges the assumption that characters are intrinsically human elements by introducing the concept of the “grotesque,” or the perversion of truth by humanization. For Anderson, a character is a representation of an abstract “truth,” which integrates with other truths in the context of a narrative in order to derive meaning and morality. This theory of character is contrasted with cognitive theory, which argues that by assigning a human “mind” to characters the reader simulates narrative situations and experiences emotions by proxy. The proposed theory of character function suggests that the reader can identify and associate with various human “truths,” signifying the narrative’s relativity to the social context in which it is read.




Student(s):
Grayson Yoder

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Joan Wines
How Readers Read: Are the Processes as Elusive as Ever?

Reader-response theory focuses on the interrelationships of reader and text. Stanley Fish sees these relationships as reflecting “. . . the shifting and contingent conditions of a community’s practice.” Cognitive literary theorists seek to marginalize Fish’s emphasis on reading behaviors as dependent on socialization factors and re-focus the reader-response inquiry within a physiological context. Their approach grounds the reader-text relationship by suggesting that the brain is not only a discernible system, but that the system itself is definable and constant enough to sustain cognitive literary theory as a general rule. This attempt to shift the emphasis from a socialization to a physiological context is now itself being challenged by new brain science. The work of Mary Ann Wolf and others in this field may yet destabilize the physiological base that has provided the cognitive theorists with the consistency needed to support their application of common and defined reader-response processes.




Feedback Form