Festival of Scholars

An annual celebration of research, scholarship, and creativity

English Capstone Presentations

Date: Monday, April 28, 2014
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.

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Student Abstracts at this Session

Student(s):
Carrie Baarns

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Brian Rasmussen
Arabian Nights Unframed: Have You Seen This Protagonist?

The story of Scheherazade, the protagonist of Arabian Nights’ frame story and narrator of the ensuing stories, has widely influenced English literature. However, little or no research examines versions of Arabian Nights, such as Kate Douglass Wiggins’, which remove Scheherazade entirely. I argue that although both Husain Haddawy’s 2010 edition and Kate Douglas Wiggin’s 2012 edition share a title, Wiggins’ exclusion of Scheherazade reveals the editor’s wish to regain control over the narrative, resulting in fundamentally different volumes. Using these texts as representatives, along with Edward Said’s Orientalism, I survey this frame story’s role in bringing order to non-concurrently written stories, and the extreme pruning of the stories which occurs as a result of its removal. This project details Arabian Nights’ removal of Scheherazade as an important continuation of the text’s ongoing revision at the expense of its ethnographic and gender-conscious elements.




Student(s):
Tori Dahl

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Joan Wines
Environmental Poetry as Education: Writing for Greater Awareness

In the U.S., attention to and concern for the environment can enter the public consciousness by way of its educational systems. As a powerful form of expression, poetry is especially suitable for this purpose and can also be used to unite English and science lessons. Early on, American educators used British nature poetry in their classrooms. Later, the work of American poets became available, some of whom concentrated on environmental themes and subjects. Using Henry David Thoreau, Robert Frost, and Wendell Berry as what I refer to as examples of “Environmental Poets,” I have extracted techniques from their work to serve as guidelines for my own poetry collection. This collection will serve as an interdisciplinary resource to be used in U.S. elementary classrooms to increase awareness about the aims of the environmental movement.




Student(s):
Jesse Hecht

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Joan Wines
Enhancing the Creative Process: A Writing / Drawing Synthesis

Scholars who have studied Chinese Calligraphy, Egyptian Hieroglyphs, and cave paintings have often explored the curious and interesting relationships between art and the written word. Clearly, as language changed and developed, words and images gradually became less integrated, until, in many current cultures, they must have been increasingly perceived as two entirely separate functions. We do, however, have examples of modern writers who have integrated these two means of expression as a way to enhance the creative process. To demonstrate, I have specifically examined the relationship between writing and drawing in Aldous Huxley’s 1912 Marburg sketchbook. This research has convinced me of the worth of the Neuroconstructivist Theory that advocates a return to a writing / drawing synthesis and fusion as a method of stimulating creative work.




Student(s):
Lyndsey Kelleher

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Joan Wines
Cultural and Programming Interrelationships in Children's Television

 
The producers of American children’s television programs have a complex interrelationship with their viewers. The programs reflect, adapt to, and even significantly change the current culture. Because the producers of these shows need to attract and sustain a targeted audience, their programming has to reflect and often adapt to the current cultural preferences of that audience. But sometimes, a program’s creators also change the culture of their audiences, especially when sub cultures of fans devoted to individual programs begin to develop. I demonstrate how programs such as Phineas and Ferb reflect on the current culture, how other shows, like Spongebob Squarepants, have had to adapt in order to survive, and how My Little Pony and Adventure Time are examples of programs that can change the current culture because of their growing fan base.
 




Student(s):
Kiersten Lopez

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Joan Wines
Translating the Games: Reader-turned-viewer Issues in Adaptation

Some of the most successful box office films today are adaptations of young adult novels, two of which, The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, are a part of Suzanne Collin’s series The Hunger Games. While the films were successful, the fans of the original novels voiced their various complaints. This paper divides Hunger Games reader-turned-viewer complaints into two categories: complaints of infidelity and complaints regarding film structure. I examine these complaints through the lenses of film adaptation and literary cognitive theory to prove that they are not grounded in the text, but that they stem from excessive empathy and a misunderstanding of cinematic grammar. This excessive empathy in readers creates unreasonable expectations that are impossible to translate to film, making it impossible for any adaptation to satisfy both a film centered audience and a literary centered audience.




Student(s):
Allison Martin

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Bryan Rasmussen
Readers, Biography, and The Picture of Dorian Gray: Our Response to Reading

Using reader-response theory and Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, I explore the impact of biography on reading literary works. I argue that biography eclipses the novel because readers are consistently presented with biographical information prior to reading the novel. This means that before reading the work, readers learn that Wilde was tried and convicted of sodomy, and that passages from this novel were used against him: reading biographically means, in Wilde’s case, that readers encounter the novel first as evidence, and second as art. A brief survey of readers from the nineteenth century to today suggests how much the influence of Wilde’s trial has impacted our reading practices. This paper attempts to recover Wilde’s “ideal reader,” reconstructed from his critical and autobiographical writings. I argue that only by doing so can we recover the novel as art in an age dominated by the evidence of biography.




Student(s):
Christopher Meyers

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Bryan Rasmussen
To Be or Not to Be

In this project, I use historical fiction to interrogate an important but little-regarded feature of the literary history of Shakespeare’s Hamlet—the play’s originality. Even though Hamlet is credited to Shakespeare, there are written documents giving credit to another renowned writer of the time, Thomas Kyd. In the preface of Robert Greene’s novel, Menaphon (1589), Thomas Nashe attributes the original Hamlet to Thomas Kyd. Greene also accuses Shakespeare of plagiarism in his book, Greene's Groats-Worth of Wit (1592). These statements by Shakespeare’s contemporaries raise some doubt about the authorship of Hamlet. My fiction experiments with the unknown records of the last part of Kyd’s life and the mysteries behind the originality of the play. By giving life to the “character” of Kyd I am provoking readers to empathize with him as the discredited author of the first Hamlet, and of his own work.




Student(s):
Elizabeth Nuno

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Joan Wines
The American Camelot

The virtues, values, and symbolism integral to Arthurian legend have helped to keep the legend alive in various cultures and historical periods. U.S. culture has also appropriated the legend and made it relevant in and to a democratic American society. I demonstrate how this has sometimes been done to help effect political stability (as was the case in the Kennedy administration) and, as well, how American writers and filmmakers have used the legend as a kind of blueprint for their work. Both our literature and film repertoire include many examples of how the legend has been used to define and reinforce American cultural values. I will touch only briefly on certain relevant films, and have limited my discussion chiefly to the works of American writers. These include Mark Twain, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, T.S. Eliot, and John Steinbeck.




Student(s):
Andrew Olson

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Bryan Rasmussen
Eliot's Waste Land and Writing Culture

In writing The Waste Land, T. S. Eliot was influenced by available scholarship about non-Western cultures. This essay explores the fantastical nature of scholarship such as The Golden Bough by J. G. Frazer and From Ritual to Romance by Jesse Weston, the extent and creative uses to which Eliot put that scholarship, and the extent to which Eliot was “writing culture” in the manner outlined by anthropologist James Clifford. Though modern scholarship has discredited much of the turn-of-the-twentieth-century theory developed by Frazer and Weston, the poem is perhaps best understood in light of that scholarship. Therefore, I offer a new interpretation of The Waste Land and show that Eliot was writing culture, but not anything exotic— through his poem, Eliot was molding his own culture. Eliot used an interplay of non-Western voices and ideas to define postwar Europe in 1921 as hopeless and full of social isolation.




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