To Live Happily Ever After; (Dis)satisfaction in the Ending of Middlemarch

11 May 2018

To Live Happily Ever After; (Dis)satisfaction in the Ending of Middlemarch

I

I certainly felt a great deal of satisfaction upon reaching the final sentence of George Eliot’s Middlemarch, having seen a novel of this length through and achieving some sort of conclusion after observing her characters learn and grow over the course of almost 850 pages. Therefore, I would like to begin this paper with the end. The novel closes with an epilogue or Finale in which the reader discovers that Dorothea and Will get married, have children, and essentially live happily ever after. Several emotions ran through my mind as I processed this final chapter of Dorothea’s story.

Read the rest

“Both Free and Situated”: The Measured Amount of Markedness in Lahiri’s Short Story

22 December 2017

“Both Free and Situated”: The Measured Amount of Markedness in Lahiri’s Short Story

There are several different types of cultural work that authors can achieve through their writing, some more explicit or intentional than others. According to Carl Phillips, all it takes is to be a writer of color to execute cultural work; he believes that if an African American writes a poem about a flower, it is an African American poem. Toni Morrison seems to agree with Phillips: “Whatever the forays of my imagination, the keeper, whose keys tinkled always within earshot, was race.” Morrison feels a burden is placed on many writers, the burden of representing that writer’s entire race, not just their own thoughts and ideas, in whatever work they create.

Read the rest

Songs of The Hobbit: What is Gained and Lost in Film Adaptations of J. R. R. Tolkien’s Work

19 December 2017

Songs of The Hobbit: What is Gained and Lost in Film Adaptations of J. R. R. Tolkien’s Work

J. R. R. Tolkien has created one of the most immersive literary fantasy worlds of all time with The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy series, largely through the heavy use of song integrated into his characters’ daily lives. The fact that all of his characters sing and are still meant to be taken seriously sets his novels apart from many others in the epic fantasy genre. He utilizes his characters’ songs to enrich their backgrounds, emotions, and desires.

Read the rest

Curiosity as Endurance; Methods of Sonder in First Person Plural and “The Paper Menagerie”

12 November 2017

Curiosity as Endurance; Methods of Sonder in First Person Plural and “The Paper Menagerie”

Amanda Ngoho Reavey’s Marilyn is provocative in the unique way it presents perspective on identity. Not halfway into the work, she puts forth a particularly thought-provoking belief in her statement: “I believe survival is not about hunger. Nor nourishment. Nor hope. Nor anger. Nor love. It is about curiosity” (Reavey 39). To me, the curiosity she speaks of is more of a sonder, which is defined as “the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness” according to The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows.

Read the rest

Popular Music and Personal Identity; Music Affects Listener Who Affects Music

9 May 2017

Popular Music and Personal Identity; Music Affects Listener Who Affects Music

Popular music, as with any medium of popular culture, infiltrates the lives of almost everyone in its era. Even if one is not keen on listening to music at all, one is still exposed to the rhythms and melodies that are popular at one time. In Daphne A. Brooks’ article, “‘Once More with Feeling’: Popular Music Studies in the New Millennium,” she describes how music, especially popular music, shapes and is shaped by one’s identity, whether national, cultural, or personal. She uses the example of  how W.E.B.Read the rest

Breaking the Barriers of Diegesis in Hooper’s Les Misérables

22 December 2016

Breaking the Barriers of Diegesis in Hooper’s Les Misérables

According to Cameron Mackintosh, the leading producer of the immensely profitable and dramatic megamusical, originally “[o]pera was for the sophisticates … and musicals – with their accessible lyrics and catchy tunes – were cheap fodder for the masses.” This was certainly true of the early 20th century, when musicals were comparable to vaudeville and were largely unintegrated. Today, composers have gone to great lengths to break the molds of the musical and its low brow stigma. One way of doing this was the emergence of the megamusical, described as “‘through-composed popular operas’ and ‘poperas,’” which are often through-sung, creating a blend of high and low brow art.Read the rest

Music as Science Fiction; Sun Ra’s Soundtrack in Space is the Place

25 October 2016

Music as Science Fiction; Sun Ra’s Soundtrack in Space is the Place

Countless scholars and fans alike have attempted to define the enigmatic category that is science fiction, but there is no one definition that can be settled upon by everyone. As Vivian Sobchack puts it, “if it is to remain relevant, a definition must accommodate the flux and change which is present in any living and popular art form.” Sobchack raises a good point because the genre is constantly evolving, so its definitions must evolve along with it. I have found that piecing together elements of multiple definitions produces the most accurate depiction of the genre.

Read the rest

“Edelweiss”; From Broadway to Film

22 November 2016

“Edelweiss”; From Broadway to Film

In this day and age of super-fans and technology that can record original works, adding a scene or moment to a film adaptation of a work that was not in the original is a risky business. This often upsets many loyal fans who wish the adapters would stick to the original script and avoid adding new content. However, I would argue that an addition to the 1965 film adaption of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music that was not in the original Broadway production of 1959 did in fact enhance the show.Read the rest

What Makes it Good; Genre, Values, and The Voice in Pop Music

5 May 2016

What Makes it Good; Genre, Values, and The Voice in Pop Music

It is pretty universal that one of the most important elements of a good pop song is the hook; the ability for listeners to find it catchy, to remember it after hearing it only once, is what makes them listen a second time and then decide that they like it. Everyone judges music in different ways because everyone has different values, and pinpointing what makes music good or bad is so subjective that I’ve decided to focus on why I judge music in large part on the vocal performance.Read the rest

Perceptions and the Past in The Night Watch

29 April 2016

Perceptions and the Past in The Night Watch

First impressions are fleeting, momentary snapshots of a person’s life and are therefore not to be trusted. Judging a character on an impression one develops based on information one’s just learned at one’s first meeting cannot give a true sense of that character’s personality. Waters’ decision to write her novel The Night Watch in reverse chronological order influences and ultimately enhances the readers’ perceptions of the characters. Waters’ form of narration goes from a series of events from the latest date, to another long stretch of time from an earlier date, to the earliest events that started it all.Read the rest