Category Archives: Student Research

Translation: A Blessing and a Curse

Although translation is one of the most fascinating and interesting parts of literature, not many people know the reality behind the translation wall.  First it is important to mention that within the translation world, there is a great deal of attention to how the translation is done, and how the translator makes presence of himself throughout the work. Second, most of the time when a translation is done, the person who gets all the credit and authorship of the work is the original author and the translator is forgotten as a side note to the whole new text created.

In order to further analyze translation, two examples of great literary importance have been made part of this discussion.  First, Chaucer’s “The Wife of Bath’s Tale” is presented to explore and explain how a Middle English work is transformed, changed and tailored to the modern reader in Modern English.  Secondly, Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz’s short story, “The House of Desires,” is introduced to explain how a text written in another language, Spanish, has been translated into Modern English to show the development of other cultures and their importance to the literary world.

This discussion explains how society as we know it and its literary world would not be the same if it was not through the help and dedication of translators who have made it their career to transcend time and space in order to bring forth the fruits of our predecessors.  Furthermore this discussion teaches us that literature and translation are two interconnected specialties that grow, improve and develop together for the benefit of the great literary world.

Rise of Rebellion: The Chocolate War and The Hunger Games Fight for Justice

By: Molly Boylan

In young adult novels, rebellion can come in the form of chocolate and berries. But are teens rebellious for more than just rebellion’s sake? Yes. More specifically, Robert Cormier and Suzanne Collins each use the hero/heroine of the young adult novel to advance the relationship between reader and reality. In this essay, build on the work of Tom Henthorne, Michael Cart and others who consider various aspects of young adult literature as a whole and each novel respectively. However unlike these scholars, I analyze how The Chocolate War (1974) and The Hunger Games (2008) leave readers with a disturbing awareness of the downfalls of societies in similar plot lines that promote social justice.

In order to look deeper at social justice issues in young adult novels, I use The Chocolate War as the foundational text and consider its influence on teen readers. Thirty-four years later, Suzanne Collins incorporated social action as a theme in The Hunger Games. Each author creates a connection to the readers by evoking empathy, acknowledging the disturbing elements of society, indicate tragic injustices, and demonstrate the social action each protagonist undertakes.

A comparison of these two texts leads to a better understanding how young adult novels motivate teens to consider social action in their own reality.

Works Cited

Collins, Suzanne. The Hunger Games. New York: Scholastic Press, 2008. Print.

Cormier, Robert.The Chocolate War. New York: Dell Laurel-Leaf, 1974. Print.

Cart, Michael. Young Adult Literature from Romance to Realism. Chicago: American Library Association, 2010. Print.

Henthorne, Tom. Approaching the Hunger Games Trilogy: a literary and cultural analysis. North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 2012. Print

My Name is Lizzie Bennet…and I’ve Invaded the Internet

By: Noelle Kozak

“It is a truth universally acknowledged” that Pride and Prejudice, the brainchild of nineteenth century novelist Jane Austen, has more than stood the test of time. It tells the story of the Bennet family and their five daughters, as they navigate through a world defined by marriage and social status. The main plot of the novel revolves around the relationship between main protagonists Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy as they overcome their ‘pride’ and ‘prejudices’ to ultimately understand each other and find love and happiness. It is a work that has been adapted many times to fit a modern audience. In this paper I examine how Pride and Prejudice translates into its latest adaptation, web series The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.

In this fresh re-telling, Elizabeth “Lizzie” Bennet is characterized to fit a modern audience, in a story focused less on marriage and more on life goals. Here, she is a grad student who lives with her parents and two sisters as she makes a video about her life with her best friend Charlotte. Along with Lizzie, all the original characters from the novel are re-imagined for this adaptation which initially focuses solely on Lizzie’s point of view. However, in this version, Lizzie’s opinions are only part of the story as minor characters like her sister, Lydia Bennet, come center stage.

Austen’s original depiction of Lydia Bennet had been a character that most fans of the novel explicitly disliked for both her naiveté and choices that nearly ruined the lives of those around her. Within the Lizzie Bennet Diaries, this is not the case, as the series gives Lydia her own web series as well as an evolved characterization which not only fits a modern audience, but allows for another form of perspective.

This idea of a web series that develops through new media is a most interesting and original take on Pride and Prejudice. This study argues that The Lizzie Bennet Diaries does a excellent job of keeping the spirit of Jane Austen alive while expanding and building on her novel in creative and compelling ways.

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“Shoulder to Shoulder and Heart to Heart:” On the Road with Whitman, Steinbeck, and Springsteen

Kelsey Healey

The tradition of the road narrative has long been a part of American culture.  Walt Whitman, John Steinbeck, and Bruce Springsteen are three iconic writers who have worked in this tradition to discuss the American experience. Interestingly, while the image of the road is often associated with a lone traveler or bold individualism, Whitman, Steinbeck, and Springsteen have also used the road as the center of their stories about community and convergence.
The road narratives of Whitman, Steinbeck, and Springsteen develop a sense of community that is both social and spiritual, and is rooted in a kind of protest that identifies unity as a vital part of the solution to social ills.

In “Song of the Open Road,” Whitman characterizes the road as an equalizer, used by everyone.  He talks about the different people who travel the same road, and invites the reader to travel with him; he creates a sense of community. This is fitting, as Whitman is often described as having aimed to create a “national literature” that would unite the new country in a shared sense of identity.

Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath makes a bold statement about community as well. Much of the book follows the Joads as they merge with other families out of necessity. The narrator describes the communities that emerge among the displaced people on the road. Most famously, in Tom Joad’s speech near the end of the novel, Tom asserts that “a man is no good by himself,” and embraces the idea that there is “one big soul everybody’s a part of.”

In addition, I will look at three of Springsteen’s songs, representative works from the early, middle, and recent years of his career: “Born to Run” (1975), “Land of Hope and Dreams” (1999) and “We Are Alive,” (2012).  These songs continue the tradition begun by Whitman and Steinbeck, both lyrically and formally. In addition to speaking about the same themes, Springsteen draws on various ethnic musical influences to comprise an even more inclusive message of unity.

Today, the call for solidarity and empathy seems as appropriate as ever. Together, these writers draw attention to the experience of the individual, but also the individual as part of something bigger than him/herself.  They each create a picture of the American experience that emphasizes the essential connection between “I am” and “we are.”

There is a reason why the tongue is the strongest muscle in the body; just ask Bill Clinton: The Power of Rhetoric in Message and Medium

By: Kasey Lynn

Aristotle claims, “the law is reason free from passion.” However, passion is not as far removed from the law as Aristotle might have believed. In the instance of rhetoric, passion is closely tied to the concept, and rhetoric is of course a large factor of the law. When and if passion meets the law, one could say that a great deal can be done. Rhetoric can also greatly influence the appearance of reality. Everything is not always as it seems. The written rhetoric vs. the oral rhetoric is a concept that needs exploration, especially in our media-crazed society. By looking at Bill Clinton, President Obama, and Governor Romney one can learn the power and truth about rhetoric. Will what meets the eye match what’s written in black and white?

Rhetoric is defined as “the art of effective or persuasive speaking or writing, especially the exploitation of figures of speech and other compositional techniques” (Oxford Dictionaries). This standard definition fits both classical rhetoric and the rhetoric of today. Classical rhetoric still forms the base of rhetoric however, today’s society has caused rhetoric to morph into something quite different from what the original philosophers thought it should be. There is a need to understand rhetoric and its uses because rhetoric is not always used simply to communicate, it can be used to manipulate but without double checking one cannot know which fiction is and which is fact. People must care about what they do, what they hear, what they read, and what they are told.

There has been a much disputed debate about whether or not rhetoric is used by people who have “something to hide” or whether it’s used for “statesmanship” (Nichols). However, now in today’s society there is another dimension to rhetoric that needs to be explored now more than ever; written rhetoric and oral rhetoric, so that one can understand the difference in appearance and reality. The realm of rhetoric is large and very powerful to those who can tap into it. The discussion of rhetoric and how it can affect reality is not new, classical rhetoric discussed the same concept, and it is time for those discussions to surface once again in our society. By looking at Bill Clinton’s 2012 DNC Speech and the first presidential debate between President Obama and Governor Romney one can see how classical and present day rhetoric play roles in the society of today. The problem is that voters pay more attention to the oral rhetoric and appearance instead of hearing the message and content of the speech. By exploring this, one can begin to see that there is a need to have the message, the written rhetoric, the oral rhetoric, and the appearance in order to be an effective orator and a master of rhetoric. Politicians must do their best to incorporate all of the above in order to achieve their goals and present the truth to the public, and the viewers must pay attention to the message of speeches and debates and not be distracted by the performance that is in front of them.

In a society where appearance is of the utmost importance it is easy for politicians and any speech makers to blind the audience to what they are truly saying.  The idea of appearance vs. reality has been around for years but it is possible that now as a society we are enabling our appearances to differ from our realities. There is the freedom to make one’s own decision, the decision to question what he/she is told or shown, the decision to believe what he/she wants. But maybe people have become lazy with this freedom; no longer holding accountability for his/her own rationale as well as for others. People need to choose to find the truth in all the obstruction of appearance and believe in that truth instead of believing anything they are shown or told. When images lie, words can tell the truth.

 

Work Cited:

Nicols, Mary P. “Aristotle’s Defense of Rhetoric.” The Journal of Politics, 49.3 (1987): 657-677. web.

Oxford Dictionaries. 2013. web. 22 February 2013.

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Noelle Chats with Bernie Su, Creator of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

This past Thursday, I was given a major opportunity to participate in an educational hangout with Bernie Su, Co-Creator of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. He was so nice and it was amazing to sit down and get some real insight into my thesis work. I  don’t think I geeked out too badly right? 😉

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