Recent Submissions

  • 'Who claims truth, truth abandons': epistemological anarchism in Pynchon's Mason & Dixon

    Lyew, Daniel Emerson; Johnson, Sara; Reilly, Terry; Carr, Richard; Farmer, Daryl (2021-05)
    This paper introduces and uses Paul Feyerabend’s Epistemological Anarchism (EA) as an interpretive lens through which to read key passages in Thomas Pynchon’s 1997 novel Mason & Dixon. In particular, this paper uses EA to provide a novel and distinct way of understanding what Brian McHale terms the novel’s subjunctivity, or spaces of possibility. I use EA as a new framework for understanding the epistemological, ontological, and humanitarian/ethical dimensions of the novel’s subjunctive spaces, and hint at ways in which EA might be used in Pynchon’s other novels.
  • "Love doesn't cancel colonialism": land, lesbians, and settler colonialism

    Janeschek, K. J.; Coffman, Chris; Johnson, Sara; Brightwell, Gerri; Schell, Jennifer (2023-05)
    This thesis examines the relationship between lesbians, land, and settler colonialism through an analysis of several texts written about Antarctica by lesbians. In the introduction, this thesis identifies the three fields of study which it draws upon--rural queer studies, queer nature studies, and queer indigenous studies--and notes the absence of settler colonialism as a point of analysis in rural queer studies despite the field's focus on the relationship between queer people and land. The following section, "Lesbians, Land, and Settler Homonationalism," provides both historical background of lesbian land-based movements such as the landdykes and theoretical considerations important for the thesis, namely how non-Native queer people and identities often uphold settler colonialism. In the next chapter, "The Antarctica Question," the thesis explores Antarctica's colonial history and its current queer relationship to settler colonialism. This is followed by a discussion of three texts--Approaching Ice and Towards Antarctica by Elizabeth Bradfield and On the Ice by Gretchen Legler--which examines the ways these writers' relationship with Antarctica resembles other lesbian land movements, their negotiations with settler colonialism and a masculine Antarctic explorer history, and the personal (queer) transformations enabled by lived experiences on land (or ice). The conclusion identifies how a settler colonial logic might lapse through a relationship with land and the transformations that such a relationship forges, but ultimately will heal over the lapse in its framework unless challenged directly.
  • Societal structure, family, and masculinity in the Bildungsroman: an analysis of The Great Santini and Portnoy's Complaint

    Salzman, Aaron; Farmer, Daryl; Carr, Rich; Holt, Joseph; Heyne, Eric (2023-05)
    This thesis considers the idea of Becoming as presented in post-World War II American novels. As a model, the Hero's Journey is presented as a structure in which an individual can achieve freedom and satisfaction through discipline ,according to internal psychological forces in combination with external narratives. In the body of this piece, I present two narratives: Ben Meechum's successful journey to adulthood under the cruel tutelage of his father, and Alex Portnoy's journey to an unstable adulthood after choosing a life different from what was modeled by his overbearing parents, who followed strict cultural rules. By comparing a successful journey to one which is unsuccessful, we can note how deviancies in upbringing, according to structures like The Hero's Journey, have a lasting impact characters as they seek to become well-adjusted, productive adults. We can also note the necessity of Becoming for the success of a character, as well as the fact that completing a Becoming journey is not guaranteed. The Hero's Journey is a literary story structure that appears in these novels and shows a path to Becoming.
  • Slack in education: a voice platform for quiet students a personal reflection using drawings

    Corby, Emma M.; Stanley, Sarah; Harney, Eileen; Heyne, Eric (2023-05)
    In this thesis, I will be exploring how Slack can be used as a platform for quiet students in the classroom. I do this by referring to barriers I faced as a quiet student myself. These barriers include the competitive atmosphere of learning, unheard communications for help, unread and unanswered emails, and limited connections with my teachers. The scholarship on Slack's presence in education hasn't yet researched the topic of Slack as a platform for quiet students to find their voice. In this thesis, I explore my own experiences as a quiet student and as a teacher using Slack; I don't have qualitative or quantitative research, however, my work is a start. I explore the ways that Slack can be researched and used as a tool in the classroom to give every student a voice, a place to express themselves, and a place to connect with their classes and their learning more deeply. While exploring the ways that Slack's platform can be used in a class, I use hand-drawn comics throughout my thesis; one of Slack's most powerful tools is its access to so many multimodalities. With my comics, my goal is to provide a deeper understanding on the affects and benefits of using multimodalities in a learning setting.
  • The linguistic dreamstate: Freud, Lacan, and intertextuality in Samuel Beckett's The Unnamable

    Kay, Michael R.; Coffman, Chris; Holt, Joseph; Carr, Richard; Brightwell, Gerri (2022-05)
    This thesis focuses on the process of symbolization and signification in Samuel Beckett's novel, The Unnamable. The introduction presents readers with important and relevant critical interpretations of the novel, primarily those that are focused on the self, the use of language, and psychoanalytic theory. Then, the thesis introduces readers to key concepts in semiotic and psychoanalytic criticism, such as that of the signifier, sign, big-O Other, and the Lacanian Imaginary, Symbolic, and Real, by applying these concepts to a reading of The Unnamable. The next section, "The Linguistic Dreamstate," argues that the novel's narrator occupies a state tangential to consciousness, subconsciousness, and unconsciousness. In occupying this state, one that is outside of physical reality, the narrator is confronted with a language he does not understand and, while speaking, seeks to understand what he has previously said, mirroring the process of psychoanalysis as it concerns the meaning of dreams. Finally, it is shown that the narrator attempts to use language to as a means to stop using language. In so doing, the narrator illustrates the inability of language (and the Symbolic) to reconstruct the Real, and the innate desire for the Real (or objet a) even in those who do not have a reality within which they see the lack of the Real.
  • From ennui to egress: Walker Percy's sovereign wayfarer

    Grissom, Samantha M. (2009-05)
    "After converting to Catholicism in 1947, Walker Percy abandoned his career in medicine in order to write novels about the human predicament: what it means to be a man living in the world who must die. Having personally experienced feelings of alienation and despair, Percy is especially interested in reaching those readers who suffer from feelings of estrangement, anxiety, boredom, and loss. In each of his novels, Percy seeks to bring readers, if not to the point of conversion, then at least to an awareness of modernity's spiritual bankruptcy and the possibility of a search for something more. This thesis investigates how Percy's unique perspective as a Christian existentialist informs his authorial strategy. He portrays a protagonist on an existential journey, reveals man's alienated state, emphasizes the importance of the search, and illuminates modes of egress for the wayfarer. Percy's twin ambition in each novel is to deflate traditional systems of value wherein men typically place their hope: Romanticism, scientific humanism, nominal religion, and Southern Stoicism. He is most interested in taking readers on an existential journey that ends in what Kierkegaard calls the 'leap to faith, ' and in demonstrating that Southern Stoicism is a false avenue of egress"--Leaf iii
  • Fortitude of the ordinary world

    Sheridan, Brooke O'Shay (2010-05)
    "Fortitude of the Ordinary World is a thesis in three parts, disparate in subject but with a common theme: some of the most identifying, challenging, and ingrained aspects of being human - love, the workings of the human brain, and war. The poems are based on personal experience in and out of love, addressing various functions of the brain, and my work with the U.S. Army during wartime. Most of the poems are in free verse, though I created some structure within the formless form depending on the needs of the poem. I have also included some formal poems, including sonnet, quatrain, couplet, and ottava rima forms. I work with the power of the form to harness powerful, often difficult subject matter. Most of the war poems are in free verse, though many have benefited from attention to syllabics and internal rhyme. The love poems use enjambment and line breaks to find their power. In the brain power poems I look at the workings of the brain - spatial orientation, coma recovery, etc., with an associative narrative addressing aspects of the specific brain functions. The Baghdad poems, containing some of the heaviest and most emotional subject matter, fall into under stricter auspices of line and meter. I aim for the collective sensibility of experiences of joy tempered with pain, and, most importantly, pain tempered with joy"--Leaf iii
  • "Never happy and honest at the same time": history, duality, and impossible choices in Jonathan Safran Foer's "Everything is illuminated

    Ruth, Julie W. (2010-05)
    "Jonathan Safran Foer's first novel, 'Everything is Illuminated', blends historical fiction, moral dilemmas, and post-modern techniques to examine the relationship between victims and perpetrators during the Holocaust and how this relationship affects later generations. Foer focuses on memory and stories within families and cultures, and within these records of identity, concepts of opposition and duality figure prominently. Although Foer implies a worldview is too simple when composed of opposites, such as absence/presence, good/evil, Jew/non-Jew, the ideas of opposition and duality signify conflict and unfilled potential for reconciliation. Patterns of opposites add weight and permanence to fleeting experiences and give purpose to memories; however, continual cycling of patterns in opposition creates heaviness or solemnity in memory and history. This heaviness and obligation can be seen in Holocaust Literature, where the need to write down accounts of collusion and atrocities has created a permanent place for second-and third-generation survivors, and also a place for examining the moral dilemmas within the human condition. Foer chooses Ukraine as his setting, and its unique role during the Holocaust makes it a vehicle for showing the tragedy of impossible choices and the relationship between two young men as they uncover truths about their families"--Leaf iii
  • Post-colonial side effects: perceptions of doctors and medicine in 20th century Irish literature

    Pinkston, Jacob (2010-05)
    "Though the English medical structure was firmly implanted in Ireland by the end of the 19th century, Irish authors and historians continued to question it well into the 20th century because medicine represented a colonial structure whose effects on Irish society continued even after the Republic of Ireland gained independence. Irish literature and folklore combined with historical and biographical material show a general dissatisfaction with English medicine, particularly with regards to the social hierarchy it creates, its effects on patient care, and the religious influences on medical practices. Using James Joyce's Ulysses, John McGahern's Amongst Women, and Clare Boylan's Beloved Stranger combined with the folklore surrounding the 19th-century healer Biddy Early, this thesis exposes an underlying sentiment of distrust toward English medicine in 20th-century Ireland. The works of other authors such as William Butler Yeats, Samuel Beckett, and Brian Friel are also touched on in order to give a larger context to this thesis. While some characters within these works highly respect those who practice medicine, many resent the aspects of the medical structure inherited from colonial rule. Through these characters, authors rebel against the colonial medical structure still present in their nation"--Leaf iii
  • American Indian stories: a guide to the development of Zitkala-S̆a's Sioux identity

    Brown, Robert Alan (2010-05)
    "This thesis is a work of literary criticism, specifically psychological criticism, of American Indian Stories (1921), a collection of autobiographical and fictional short stories previously written and published by writer Zitkala-S̆a during the early 1900s. The purpose of this thesis is to solve one of the most debated aspects of the work--the identity of Zitkala-S̆a--and to show how identifying Zitkala-S̆a as a Sioux Indian offers a different perspective on American Indian Stories. The collection of Stories provides key evidence that provides insight into the healthy development of Zitkala-S̆a's personality as she progresses through Erik Erikson's 'Eight Stages of Man, ' one of the most well-known theories of human psychosocial development. It is argued that American Indian Stories can be used as a map to illustrate that Zitkala-S̆a develops her sense of Sioux identity during her early childhood years, clearly defines herself as Sioux during her adolescent years, and reinforces her Sioux identity during her adulthood years. Proving Zitkala-S̆a's identity is significant to advancing the critical debate surrounding American Indian Stories, because assigning Zitkala-S̆a a Sioux identity allows her and her work to be seen as an articulate part that stands for and fights for the Native American whole"--Leaf iii
  • Liberal deradicalization in the adaptation of novels to film: defining antiheroes, from Heathcliff to Walter White

    Kraft, Benjamin; Carr, Richard; Hirsch, Alexander; Harney, Eileen (2021-08)
    Using research from the history of the Victorian novel and recent media, I demonstrate the value in re-examining the critical importance of the antihero. Using a methodology of combining neo-Marxian analysis, adaptation studies, and a re-thinking of what constitutes novels and television serials, I explore how antiheroes are defined and why those definitions are often not inclusive to controversial, but seemingly definitional antihero examples. As informed by a critique of how antiheroes are defined, I use my research to discuss the underlying characteristics of the antihero across genres. From a perspective of critiquing liberalism adopted from Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights and Vince Gilligan's Breaking Bad, I structure textual evidence in support of antiheroes being identified according to three traits: sympathy, violence, and radical speech. The literary and real-world impact of each trait is argued according to evidence qualified by a neo-Marxian methodology, using an original synthesis of Louis Althusser's aleatory politics and the Marxist cultural critiques of Raymond Williams. Finally, these three traits are strongly evinced in the real-world systemic critiques of liberalism represented in both Heathcliff and Walter White.
  • The politics of penguin pleasure: why animal sexualities matter to humans

    Emanuel, Nicole; Schell, Jennifer; Heyne, Eric (2021-08)
    This thesis is about what it means to think with penguins. It explores the ways in which we form ideas about these animals, and how those ideas can impact our beliefs about our own lives, penguins' lives, and the kinds of relationships that exist among humans and non-humans. It includes a survey of penguin representations across media and culture, particularly focusing on children's television and movies, nature documentaries, and non-fiction accounts of polar travel. While these penguin-centric texts can vary strikingly in tone, the penguins themselves appear again and again in an appealing light. Across a wide range of time and media, penguins are frequently portrayed as spunky, determined, and battling incredible odds to survive. That popular image of the plucky penguin has lent itself surprisingly well to debates about the naturalness of same-sex parenting in human society. The film The March of the Penguins (which was embraced by conservative Christians for its depiction of "traditional family values") and the picture book And Tango Makes Three (about two male chinstrap penguins who managed to successfully hatch an egg together at the Central Park Zoo) illustrate two sides of these public conversations. As the close reading and theoretical analysis performed in this thesis indicate, both views fail to truly understand penguins as living, courting, mating, reproducing beings. The behaviors of these actual animals are far too complex and varied to reduce to an alignment with either side of this fight over human concepts and morals.
  • Sowing change through the elderly herbalist: The country of the pointed firs (1896) and Rosemary's baby (1968)

    Corty, Cheyenne Alexis; Schell, Jennifer; Harney, Eileen; Johnson, Sara (2020-12)
    This thesis focuses on Sarah Orne Jewett and Roman Polanski's elderly herbalists as reactionary tropes to feminist movements in either era. Jewett creates elderly herbalist and town scholar, Almira Todd in Country of the Pointed Firs (1896), and Polanski personifies author Ira Levin's Satanist cult member Minnie Castevet (Ruth Gordon) in his film Rosemary's Baby (1969). Jewett's Almira Todd focuses on the positives and negatives inherent within her profession--holistic healer and town matriarch--placing her in the role of the benevolent herbalist. Polanski's Minnie Castevet, in contrast, presents a malevolent herbalist, one who seeks to harm the title character of the film. Both characters exist within the height of the feminist movements of either era and by being elderly herbalists, each character acts as a response or reaction to the movements via the trope.
  • If women were dragons: a study of the conquest of women and dragons in Ragnar's saga, the Volsunga sagas, and the Nibelungenlied

    Baalke, Claire-Elise A.; Harney, Eileen; Stanley, Sarah; Riley, Terry (2020-08)
    This thesis is a study displaying the connections between female characters and dragons in Old Norse and Middle High Germanic literature. The main associations that I examine are the ways that female characters and dragons share the characteristics of greed or hoarding, prophetic sight or supernatural power, and "monstrosity" or "Otherness." The fundamental argument is that the women and dragons have common characteristics which define them as dangerous and thereby cause the men or heroes of the tale to feel the need to silence or depower them through conquest. Typically, the dragon is the barrier between the woman and the hero in these kinds of stories and thus the dragon is violated or slain in a manner that represents quashing of feminine power. I argue that the dragon is defeated as proxy to the defamation or depowering of deviant female characters, non-conforming women who do not follow socially accepted gender roles. The texts used to present these arguments are The Poetic Edda, The Volsunga Sagas and its prequel Ragnar's Saga, and The Nibelungenlied. In the majority of dragon stories there is a direct relationship between a dragon and a female character, commonly a princess who is being protected or arguably kept captive by the dragon. I argue, however, that these characteristics of the dragon, which are imitated by female characters, can manifest metaphorically as well. In the texts considered in which there are no "real" or physical dragons, a woman stands in as the metaphorical dragon that must be defeated.
  • Animal companionship and identity construction in the middle English "Ywain and Gawain"

    Byers, Robert E. (2011-12)
    As a relatively recent field within literary cultural studies, "animal studies" has the potential to ask sophisticated new questions about the central and privileged place of the humanist "cogito." Through an examination of the human-animal companionship found in the Middle English romance "Ywain and Gawain", this thesis aims to contribute to the project of animal studies by tracing how questions about humanity and animality both construct and deconstruct a subject's identity. In the poem, Ywain, a knight in Arthur's court, is exiled from society and befriends a lion, who travels and fights alongside him. The dynamics of their bond highlight a posthumanist identity which begins to articulate itself within Ywain. The fluid nature of the category "man" is further examined throughan analysis of Ywain's sojourn in the woods as a wild man, and the "what is a man" encounter which occurs at the beginning of the poem. Though normative society is reinstated at the end of the text, the study concludes that the added presence of the lion in court undermines humanism's inherently speciesist imagination and serves as a microcosm of one possible vision of a posthumanist society.
  • Counterhistory in the literature of Juárez

    Burger, Hans (2011-05)
    Counterhistory in the Literature of Juárez deals with three novels portraying a series of unsolved murders in the city of Juárez, Mexico, including Stella Pope Duarte's If I Die in Juárez, Alicia Gaspar de Alba's Desert Blood: The Juarez Murders, and Roberto Bolano's 2666. The author argues that each novel creates an alternate historical record of the murders, as well as conditions in the city at large, which counters the understanding of the crimes which has been imposed by hegemonic forces in the Mexican and American governments. Because of their oppositional tactics, the author terms all three novels counterhistories, a word with complex and sometimes contradictory meanings in both literary criticism and metahistorical thought. The author explores various ideas of counterhistory and documents the ways each novel fulfills a counterhistorical purpose, as well as the ways in which the unique qualities of the novelistic form empower the creation of oppositional and polemical meanings.
  • One large steppe for Russian authorship: Gogol's troika of settings

    Fleharty, Ryan; Carr, Richard; Burleson, Derick; Mamoon, Trina (2011-08)
    This exploration of Gogol's works focuses on the three major setting-related phases of his writing career: the Ukrainian beginnings, his Petersburg tales, and the provincial Russian towns that populated his final works. His choice and execution of settings is correlated to the development of a sophisticated Russian readership clamoring for a national literature, and in attempting to generate one through his works, Gogol joins the other canonical Russian authors by tackling the central problem of 19th century Russian literature: the identity and future of the Russian nation.
  • Playacting happiness: tragicomedy in Jane Austen's Mansfield Park and Elizabeth Gaskell's Cranford

    Udden, Meryem A.; Carr, Rich; Heyne, Eric; Reilly, Terence (2020-05)
    This thesis examines tragicomedy in two 19th Century British novels, Jane Austen's Mansfield Park and Elizabeth Gaskell's Cranford. Both narratives have perceived happy endings; however, tragedy lies underneath the surface. With Shakespeare's play A Midsummer Night's Dream as a starting point, playacting becomes the vehicle through which tragedy can be discovered by the reader. Throughout, I find examples in which playacting begins as a comedic act, but acquires tragic potential when parents enter the scene. Here, I define tragedy not as a dramatic experience, but rather seemingly small injustices that, over time, cause more harm than good. In Mansfield Park, the tragedy is parental neglect and control. In Cranford, the tragedy is parental abuse. For both narratives, characters are unable to experience life fully, and past parental injuries cannot be redeemed. While all the children in the narratives experience some form of parental neglect, the marginalized children are harmed more than the others. In addition, I find that lifelong loneliness is a common theme in both narratives, showing that tragedy can lead to grief experienced in isolation.
  • Mythic women reborn: Djebar's Scheherazade & Atwood's Penelope

    Frentzko, Brianna Nicole; Brightwell, Geraldine; Harney, Eileen; Carr, Rich; Johnson, Sara Eliza (2019-05)
    This thesis examines how two modern female writers approach the retelling of stories involving mythic heroines. Assia Djebar's A Sister to Scheherazade repurposes Arabian Nights to reclaim a sisterly solidarity rooted in a pre-colonial Algerian female identity rather than merely colonized liberation. In approaching the oppressive harem through the lens of the bond between Scheherazade and her sister Dinarzade, Djebar allows women to transcend superficial competition and find true freedom in each other. Margaret Atwood's The Penelopiad interrogates the idealized wife Penelope from Homer's Odyssey in order to highlight its heroine's complicity in male violence against women. Elevating the disloyal maids whom Odysseus murders, Atwood questions the limitations of sisterhood and the need to provide visibility, voice, and justice for the forgotten victims powerful men have dismissed and destroyed. The two novels signal a shift in feminist philosophy from the need for collective action to the need to recognize individual narratives. Both texts successfully re-appropriate the dominant myths they retell to propose a more nuanced and complicated view of what it means to be "Woman."
  • Voices from the margins: seriality and the introductory writing classroom

    Cameron, Casie E.; Stanley, Sarah; Carr, Rich; Harney, Eileen (2019-05)
    In an era of great political division and fear of the "other," how can introductory writing classes do a better job of foregrounding marginalized voices and building classroom communities that value many different life experiences over the one presented in dominant discourse? By employing select features of the serial form including: worldbuilding for community, use of devices of continuity to bridge part-whole segmentation, and cyclical communication and recursive writing practices, voices and stories from the margins can break into dominant discourse. This paper begins and ends with my own story as it is spun and woven through the chapters. Between interludes, I initiate a layered exploration defining the origins and scope of the serial form, establish terms and identify storytelling devices that serials rely on for long-term, overarching, and influential success. Turning then to iterations of the modern serial, I explore the continued development of devices of continuity (the cliffhanger and the recap), develop further ideas of cyclical communication, and clarify how the modern serial is tied firmly with capitalism. After an analysis of the evolution of the serial form and its constituent parts, I suggest ways of incorporating certain strategies and devices of the serial form into the introductory writing classroom in order to build community; establish a cyclical, serialized communication through writing and sharing our individual stories; and normalizing outside voices. The implications of this investigation are that pedagogical repurposing of select devices of the serial can support writing instructors' efforts to amplify voices and stories from the margins bringing them into dominant discourse.

View more