english honors graduates

Students who complete the English Honors Program graduate "With Honors in English." The program admits up to 40 students per year.

2012-13 Honors Cohort

Lucas McKinley Barash-David
faculty adviser: Kate Cummings
thesis: "House of Leaves as Emergent Literature in the Digital Age."

Kelcie Anne Borton
faculty adviser: Kate Cummings
thesis: "Varied Views on Victorian Vices: Effects of Literary Idealism in Charles Dickens's Hard Times Versus Realism in William Thackeray's Vanity Fair."

Christopher Chance Campbell
faculty adviser: Kate Cummings
thesis: "Truth, Deception: History and Narrative in Borges' 'Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius.'"

Jon William Collier
faculty adviser: Juliet Shields
thesis: "Optimism - Analyzing literature through a rose colored lens."

Cassandra Louise Croft
faculty adviser: Kate Cummings
thesis: "The Metaphysics of Humanism in Invitation to a Beheading."

Olivia Maria de Recat
faculty adviser: Juliet Shields
thesis: "A Brief Fly-Through: Transcendence in Prose Poetry."

Julie Feng
faculty adviser: Juliet Shields
thesis: "The Art of Ars Poetica: Exploring the Movement of Metalanguage in Poetry about Poetry."

Jeremy Cameron Goheen
faculty adviser: Juliet Shields
thesis: "The Low and Godful Man: Masculinity in Charles Kingsley and Elizabeth Barrett Browning."

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I explore moments in history and in literature where masculine spaces or identities are inhabited by a kind of Christian spiritualism. Limiting my discussion to primarily Charles Kingsley’s 1850 novel Alton Locke: Tailor and Poet and Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s 1844 poem, “Lady Geraldine’s Courtship,” I argue that these two literary works offer ways of imagining how a kind of masculinity marked by a poetic and spiritual language concerned with social justice emerges in opposition to a chivalrous and more dominant model of manliness sustained through the preservation of a hierarchical class system. Both Kingsley and Barrett Browning imagine worlds in which lowly born poets emerge as masculine heroes; and that in this imaginary world the terms of this masculinity are very much controlled by women in positions of social power. In their works, class barriers begin collapsing when masculinity reconfigured and redistributed in lowly born males. But where Kingsley is reluctant to sexualize the ideal Christian man (at least in Alton Locke) Barrett Browning affirms this man as an ideal mate. In her writing, we see how the performance of Christian, spiritualized language becomes an acceptable (perhaps preferable) mode of seduction. Ultimately, by locating points in history and literature where masculinity is altered and reconfigured, and by offering possible reasons for why these changes occur, I hope to contribute to a fuller, more complex portrait of masculinity.

Alejandro Les Guardado
faculty adviser: Juliet Shields
thesis: "The Drama of Reproduction: The Family Unit as a Site for Gender Performance in Jeffrey Eugenides' Middlesex."

Thomas Teancum Gunn
faculty adviser: Juliet Shields
thesis: "Amazing Stories: Wonder as a Reader Response in the Contemporary Novel."

Shelby Morgan Handler
faculty adviser: Caroline Simpson
thesis: "[Un]covering Mirrors and Healing Backwards: Reclaiming Histories and Reframing Queer Jewish Anti-Zionist Resistance."

Matthew Charles Hinnea
faculty adviser: Juliet Shields
thesis: ""i poured my smoothie on your mother’s face / as a rhetorical tactic in support of veganism": Tao Lin, Consumerism, and New Trends in Literature and Social Media Use."

Joanne Huo Yuan Ho
faculty adviser: Kate Cummings
thesis: "The Commodity of Memory: Gift Giving and Cultural Memory in Jamaica Kincaid’s Lucy."

Nicholas Benjamin Katleman
faculty adviser: Juliet Shields
thesis: "The Spondee: A Solemn Toast to the Manic."

Samuel Kolodezh
faculty adviser: Juliet Shields
thesis: "Spectral Laughter: Constructing a Modern Subjectivity through Humor in The Castle Spectre."

Noah Jacob Lee-Engel
faculty adviser: Kate Cummings
thesis: "Decolonial Declensions."

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I am interested in examining the ways in which authors who self-identify with colonized sites position themselves - and the communities in which they are members and for whom they might be said to speak as proxies - as agents whose decisions and actions express subjectivity and ethical force. I will begin with Lisa Lowe's analysis of narrative as “an apparatus of European colonial rule," Audre Lorde's prescriptive assertion that “the master's tools will never dismantle the master's house," and Frantz Fanon's claim that “decolonization is always a violent event." A productive analogy may be drawn, I think, between the material violence that, in Fanon's estimation, the colonized must perpetrate upon the bodies of their oppressors in order to achieve liberation, and the figurative violence wreaked upon the corpus of the realistic aesthetic by decolonial authorship. This latter type of violence is most easily apprehended – in literary works, at least - in the various instantiations of that phenomena I will term “narrative transgressions” - e.g. the metaleptic intrusion of the until-then hypo-diegetic character Pucha at the end of Jessica Hagedorn's Dogeaters, or the similarly abrupt and equally enigmatic narrative interventions of Half-a-Crown in Sol T. Plaatje's Mhudi. If, as Lowe argues, modes of representation can be deployed as instruments of imperial initiative as effectively as military force, then the kind of narratological 'violence' just indicated might function tenably as an effective response to the oppression of an imposed or colonizing aesthetic. If, as Fanon claims, “Decolonization is truly the creation of new men...The 'thing' colonized becomes a man through the very process of liberation," then it is through such a praxis of violence that the colonized write themselves into the world, and incarnate a self capable of destabilizing that rupture or absence Homi Bhabha calls “the 'partial' presence” of the “colonial subject."

Tiffany Loh
faculty adviser: Juliet Shields
thesis: "Marxist Objects in Mrs. Dalloway."

Barbara Marie Marshall
faculty adviser: Kate Cummings
thesis:"Remediation Techniques: House of Leaves a Critique of Trauma."

Nicole Grace Mendoza Masangkay
faculty adviser: Kate Cummings
thesis:

Chris Brent Mulder
faculty adviser: Kate Cummings
thesis: "Dorian, Delano, and Deity: Worship in The Portrait of Dorian Gray and Benito Cereno."

Catherine Cooke Opie
faculty adviser: Kate Cummings
thesis: "Resisting Pedagogical Oppression:The Cultivation of Identity Through Memory and Experience in Jamaica Kincaid’s Lucy."

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The language and labels of the oppressor to represent the oppressed is insufficient to accurately portray historically marginalized groups. Lucy chooses to utilize her memories and dreams, as well as an attempt at photography to create her own historical narrative as a form of resistance against imperialist pedagogies that her childhood education, mother, and Mariah- a well meaning mother figure- attempt to instill upon her. Although at times painful, her memories represent her individual past and experiences, allowing her to create a space for her own voice and experiences. Lucy’s refusal to succumb to these external forces is her attempt to de-subjectify herself from dominating powers in order to reclaim her own identity.

Geoffrey Aaron Paul
faculty adviser: Kate Cummings
thesis:

Reed James Perkins
faculty adviser: Juliet Shields
thesis: "Comics to Memes: The Transition into 'Post-postmodernism'."

Vincent Quang Pham
faculty adviser: Kate Cummings
thesis: "Revisiting Linsanity: Understanding the Continued Cultural Significance of Jeremy Lin."

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What makes the case of Jeremy Lin so significant is that in the age of social media, he has become one of the most famous Asian Americans in a society devoid of such individuals through the Linsanity experience. As a consequence of the ideological media narratives that focus on race, when we see Jeremy Lin, we do not see the third year basketball player, but instead the embodiment of a socially constructed cultural phenomenon, the son of hard working Taiwanese immigrants who overcame racial prejudices and being underestimated in high school and college. To emphasize the importance of Lin and how the media attention towards him reveals the U.S culture’s understanding of Asian Americans, I will draw upon Lisa Lowe’s statement that "the Asian is always seen as an immigrant, as the "foreigner-within," even when born in the United States and the descendent of generations born here before". While such a claim can be supported by the explicitly racial responses to Lin’s successes and struggles, Lowe’s relevance is strongest in the subtle ways in which we interject race when discussing Lin’s basketball play. Thus, my close analysis of how media coverage responded to Linsanity reveals how even though the role of Jeremy Lin has introduced a new model of pride for the Asian American community, we must not forget that Lin’s rise informs and challenges Asian Americans to rethink their uneasy relationship to mass culture, assimilation and acceptance- traditional tenants of the Asian American experience. In keeping with my thesis, the investigation of Jeremy Lin’s public image reveals not whether Asian Americans have been assimilated or not, but to what they, and to the lesser extent African Americans, have become assimilated to in accordance to the white American imagination.

Anthea Piong
faculty adviser: Juliet Shields
thesis:

Samuel Philip Pizelo
faculty adviser: Juliet Shields
thesis: "The Science of the Soul: Spectrality and Modernity in Nineteenth Century America."

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My research focuses on the antebellum period of the American Republic, and the transition of American knowledge into a modern episteme (invoking Michel Foucault). I encounter this broader goal through a focus on the modern observer, and the social networks within which it is situated. More specifically, I examine the organization of empirical knowledge around the observer in what I term “spectrality” (with a nod to Marc Guillame and Jean Baudrillard)—the phenomena that occur on the topography of the eyes, from the diffusion of the spectrum of light to the appearance of specters in hauntings. I do this through the readings of a number of cultural objects; a painting by American artist John Quidor, the gothic-romantic texts of Charles Brockden Brown and Nathaniel Hawthorne, the spiritualist writing of Robert Dale Owen, the technology of the combination daguerreotype/stereoscope, and a daguerreotype taken of a dead child (a common practice at the time). To collide these disparate cultural objects, I use Bruno Latour’s Actor Network Theory (ANT), an action-focused bottom up approach of social analysis. By taking this more holistic approach, I noticed that the antebellum Republic exhibited a preoccupation with representations of spectrality in Art, scientifico-cultural disciplines (such as Mesmerism and Spiritualism), and technology. It is my contention that this Actor Network of spectrality emerged to enclose the anxieties of subjective vision within language, natural science, and the mind, and sought to regain fixity of truth for the modern subject.

McKenna Jean Princing
faculty adviser: Juliet Shields
thesis: “Reclaiming the Fairy Tale: The Power of Fairy Tales to Advance Women’s Rights and Act as Agents of Social Change in Popular Culture and the Academic Community.”

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Fairy tales have their origins in folklore, usually the kinds of “old wives’ tales” that were primarily told and circulated by women. In the Victorian era, retellings of those tales became popularized by the likes of the Grimm brothers and Andrew Lang, and for decades Disney princess movies have been embedded in popular U.S. culture. Fairy tales, then, are historically associated with ideals of femininity, yet they usually do women a disservice by portraying them in stereotypical ways that conform to female gender norms.

Because of their being naturalized in U.S. culture, however, fairy tales can be reclaimed to challenge the female gender norms they traditionally espouse. My thesis examines this dynamic between pop culture, women, and fairy tales, looks at some recent examples of feminist female characters in fairy tale retellings — from Gail Carson Levine’s award-winning novel Ella Enchanted, to the currently popular ABC television show Once Upon A Time — and argues that reclaiming fairy tales is essential to the ongoing women’s rights movement, and that fairy tales therefore ought to be taken more seriously within the academic community as powerful agents of social change.

Leah Kathryn Rau
faculty adviser: Juliet Shields
thesis: "Our Darling Lizzie: Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Adaptations, and the Appeal of Miss Elizabeth Bennet."

Sophia Alandra Siao
faculty adviser: Juliet Shields
thesis: "Walter Benjamin and Translation: Immigration and Afterlife of Identity."

Chelsey L. Slattum
faculty advisers: Kate Cummings and Davinder Bhowmik
thesis: "Unimagined Identity: The Many Implications of Namelessness in The Cocktail Party ."

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A literary criticism of Oshiro Tatsuhiro's novella that explores the link between the textual expression of unnamed ambivalent identities in literature and national belonging.

Emilie Virginia Smith
faculty adviser: Juliet Shields
thesis: "What’s in a name? George Washington Gómez and the civil war of (linguistic) identity."

Andrea M. Squires
faculty adviser: Kate Cummings
thesis: ""You are welcome to it if you like:" Seeing and Being Seen, While Reading History from Within the Margins: A Look at Jamaica Kincaid's Lucy."

Sarah Lucinda St Albin
faculty adviser: Juliet Shields
thesis: "The Mechanics of Desire in Thomas Hardy's Tess of the d'Urbervilles."

Trevor Neil White
faculty adviser: Kate Cummings
thesis: "The Digital Campfire: Interactive Horror Storytelling and Web 2.0."

Jordan Douglas Whitlock
faculty adviser: Kate Cummings
thesis: "I Wanna Be Sedated: Complicity and Relativism in Coetzee’s Progressive Male Subject."

Annie Yamashita
faculty adviser: Juliet Shields
thesis: "Press Start: the Rise of the Video Game Art Form."

LingLing Zhang
faculty adviser: Kate Cummings
thesis: "Diva In the Dark."

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In my paper, I examine the charismatic writer Margurite Duras’s enigmatic world and the way it blurs with her writing. Writing through a female body, she both embraces her individualism and challenges social oppression. Therefore, my argument is that her individualism is expressed through two modes, the aesthetic and the historical, both working against a world in which she has been repressed for so long. These dual modes often converge, realizing their expression in the author’s experimental blending of life and writing. In the development of the paper, I first argue that Duras disrupts the language’s masculinity by employing such techniques as nonlinearity, fragmentation, ambiguity and shifts in narrative voice. Her style is terse, descriptive with minimal words in which language has become a vehicle to convey her passion, to catch up with her desire. As for the historical mode, it manifests mainly through the narrator’s transgression towards norms. Constructed through her sentences and her silences, driven by her passion and trauma, and paradoxically revealed as much through what is missing as what is shown, Duras emerges. A portrait of a flawed soul; her uncertain love, her brief meetings and lingering partings, her wish to be remembered as she wanted to be not as she was, and her desire to be loved completely, even if only in hindsight- it is in these things that we get a taste of the woman hidden behind the words she writes. She has turned her life into a legend in the book where the artistic and historical modes have finally come to blend seamlessly. A diva in the dark.

Milo Umberto Zorzino
faculty adviser: Kate Cummings
thesis: "Howards End, Thornfield Hall, and the Creation of Alternative British Modernities."

2011-12 Honors Cohort

David Christian Bahr
2012 English Department Best Honors Thesis Prize in Literature
faculty adviser: Monika Kaup
thesis: "The Transnational Bildungsroman: A Historical Summary and Application to Mexicotexan Borderland and Migrant Literature of the 20th Century."

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This paper investigates the transnational Bildungsroman, a new genre that fully emerged in the 20th century (although there may have been earlier antecedents). It can be described as a hybrid of two different genres: the Bildungsroman, a German coming-of-age tale that dates back to Morgenstern and Goethe, and the transnational novel that, by its depiction of borderlands, migration, or diaspora extends across (in)formal boundaries of land and time. My first goal is to investigate the historical foundations and definition of the bildungsroman novel and the concept of Bildung. I then test the usage of the transnational Bildungsroman genre as a heuristic tool for understanding the transnational experience by performing close readings of two transnational Mexicano novels, George Washington Gómez and The Circuit by Américo Paredes and Francisco Jiménez, respectively. Based on my close readings, I hope to convincingly demonstrate the value of applying the Bildungsroman to transnational literature by showing how, despite having unique experiences, transnational Bildungsroman characters share several qualities as coming-of-age youth. I also explore how a Bildungsroman reading of each of these novels reveals critical differences in the characters’ maturation processes. Overall, it is my hope that the reader of this essay will more thoroughly understand the current discourses of Bildung, the Bildungsroman, and transnational literature, and how together they can be used to (1) debunk hegemonic notions of borderland identity, and (2) call attention to the effects of transnational displacement.

Tyler Leigh Britton
faculty adviser: Sydney Kaplan
thesis: "Woolf’s The Waves: On Words."

Merzamie Sison Cagaitan
faculty adviser: Sydney Kaplan
thesis:
"Transcending Fractured Geopolitical and Metaphoric Borders: The Mobile Trajectory of the Grotesque Female Body’s Transformation from Object to Subject."

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My research conceptualizes the female body as a borderland that is grotesque after being wounded and divided. I synthesize works by Anzaldua and Bakhtin to project an image of a female body that bleeds when grated against transnational forces and subjected to processes of dynamic change. This representation allows the grotesque female body to be in continual engagement with “acts of becoming”, and places it in a profoundly ambivalent position between the processes of renewal and decay. I invoke Hall’s diasporic identities to further argue that the never completed quality of the female body points to a profound discontinuity stemming from trauma induced by slavery, transportation, colonization, and migration. I critically analyze the experiences of fictional female characters in order to trace a mobile trajectory that begins with the female body’s forced transportation; continues with its wounding from displacements; and ends with its transformation. I want to uncover how the constant movements of the female body come to mold not only a body that is grotesque but also a mind characterized by a diasporic identity. I hypothesize that the female body’s porous quality and ability to overcome boundaries is what allows it to “live sin fronteras” and “be a crossroads.”

Leah Audrey Roz Caglio
faculty adviser: Monika Kaup

Hannah Grace Campbell
faculty adviser: Sydney Kaplan
thesis:
"Emily Dickinson: Religious Skepticism during the Second Great Awakening."

Alexander Catchings
faculty adviser: Monika Kaup
thesis: "Look Who's Laughing: Self-Making, Humor, and Subjectivity in the Neo-Slave Narrative."

Sarah J. Cole
faculty adviser: Sydney Kaplan

Casey Shea Dickson
faculty adviser: Sydney Kaplan
thesis: "Experience Structured by the Act of Looking: the Faulknerian Novel and Photographic Theory."

Caitlin Elizabeth Donnelly
faculty adviser: Sydney Kaplan
thesis:
"Metafictional Dynamics of Grief and Coping in Turn-of-the-21st-Century Literature."

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Examines grief and coping mechanisms of author-characters in three metafictional 21st century novels (Nicole Krauss's The History of Love, Ian McEwan's Atonement, and Graham Swift's Waterland) and suggests that metafictional depictions of grief can be considered microcosms of fundamental postmodern queries.

Michael Charles Fulwiler
faculty adviser: Sydney Kaplan
thesis: "Baseball and Black Identity: Imagined Community, Baseball Literature, and the Integration of Major League Baseball."

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Over the past century, sport has occupied a dominant position within American culture in producing ideas of racial difference while providing a powerful and public modality for forms of black cultural resistance. Ben Carrington, an American cultural theorist and leader in the growing field of sports sociology, argues that “sport reproduces race.” According to Carrington, in the past century, “sport has become an important if somewhat overlooked arena for the making of race beyond its own boundaries” (3). With baseball at the forefront, at least since the beginning of the 20th century, sports have provided “an opportunity for blacks throughout the African diaspora to gain recognition through physical struggle…for their humanity in a context where the structures of the colonial state continue to shape the ‘post/colonial’ present.” In this essay, I use Benedict Anderson’s theoretical model of “Imagined Communities,” reinforced by Stuart Hall’s model of cultural identity and diaspora, to argue for the way in which narratives of black baseball display and explain the shared sense of African American community and identity that was created and strengthened by baseball in the early 20th century.

Nicole Perrine Guenther
faculty adviser: Monika Kaup
thesis: "Reading George Washington Gomez as a White Reader: Whiteness and Identification."

Dustin Cody Hansen
faculty adviser: Sydney Kaplan
thesis: "Imagination and the Role of Literature in Moral Progress During the Victorian Era."

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My thesis was an application of John Dewey's final chapter in his book Art as Experience titled "Art and Civilization" to Dickens' Hard Times, Hardy's Jude the Obscure, and Lawrence's The Rainbow.

Stephanie Yi-Farng Hsieh
faculty adviser: Sydney Kaplan
thesis: "Perception, Creation, and the Space Between: A Consideration of Reality-Generating Devices in Science Fiction."

Elizabeth Caryn Hsu
faculty adviser: Sydney Kaplan
thesis: "Virginia Woolf's Metaphors for Thought, the Mind, and Consciousness."

Noelle Mina Jung
faculty adviser: Sydney Kaplan
thesis: "Asian American Youth Identity and Culture: Balancing Two Worlds and Creating a New World."

Katie Alexandra Kowalski
faculty adviser: Sydney Kaplan
thesis: "A Double Consciousness: Fabricating Narrative Worlds in Percy Bysshe Shelley’s Alastor; or, the Spirit of Solitude and George MacDonald’s Phantastes: A Fairie Romance for Men and Women."

Cherry Cui Hua Liu
faculty adviser: Monika Kaup
thesis: "The Internalization of Social Values in the Modern World: Tess of the D'Urbervilles and George Washington Gómez."

Melanya Sophia Materne
faculty adviser: Candice Rai
thesis: "Teaching Literature for College and Career Readiness: A Response to the Common Core State Standards."

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My research as an undergraduate centered on the intersections between high school English language arts and English as a post-secondary field of study, between literature and rhetoric, composition, and critical thinking. During Winter 2012, in Frances McCue’s Honors course on teaching, I researched the new and widely adopted Common Core State Standards and the influence they will have on the arts in education. I conducted interviews with English Language Arts teachers in the Shoreline district in order to get a sense of how the Common Core was functioning “on the ground” in its first year of implementation, and if the standards changed the ratio of literary and informational (non-fiction) texts they assigned and taught. From this research, I learned how teachers negotiate between their personal philosophies of teaching and the expectations of administration and government, and concluded that although the Common Core would not likely change the amount of literature taught in the English Language Arts classroom, it might very well change the way educators framed literature’s relevance, usefulness, and relationship to skills such as composition, argumentation, and critical thinking.

During spring quarter 2012, I investigated this possibility as part of the research for my 32-page honors thesis and Undergraduate Research Symposium presentation. After performing a close analysis of the Common Core State Standards, I discovered that the Standards made the following assumptions about literary texts: they are not argumentative texts, they therefore cannot be used to teach students how to analyze and produce effective arguments, and they are therefore largely irrelevant to the Standards’ central goal of promoting College- and Career-Readiness. As a scholar of the humanities and an interdisciplinary writing tutor, I suspected that these assumptions were problematic and extended my research to investigate 1) the way postsecondary institutions framed literature’s relevance, usefulness, and relationship to skills such as composition, argument, and critical thinking, and 2) how a high school English Language Arts teacher could productively incorporate literature into the teaching of composition, argumentation, and critical thinking. After analyzing relevant academic literature from scholars of postsecondary education, composition, and literature, I concluded that the context of knowledge-production in postsecondary institutions demands not only the ability to write arguments, but also the habit of thinking argumentatively about everything, including literature. As a response to the discrepancy between how the Common Core and postsecondary institutions frame literature’s relevance and usefulness, I concluded my thesis by sketching out a theory for using a rhetorical framework to bridge the apparent gap between literature and argumentation.

On the whole, my undergraduate research allowed me to explore the issues I care about most as an aspiring high school English Language Arts teacher and enriched my understanding of why the study of literature matters.

Alaska Lea McGann
faculty adviser: Monika Kaup
thesis: "Gaps in Transnational Translation: (Mis)Understanding Relationships in Martinez’s Mother Tongue."

Jessie Weiling McMillan
faculty adviser: Joseph Butwin
thesis: "'The Woman Problem': Female Internalization of Societal Pressures and the Rise of the New Woman in 19th Century England."

Sarah Carroll Neumann
creative writing faculty adviser: Shawn Wong
creative thesis: “Francis and the Perfect Candy.”

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My creative thesis was a story called “Francis and the Perfect Candy.” It was a children's story. About death and sugar.

Shelby Ann Parkin
faculty adviser: Monika Kaup

Greta Christine Pittenger
faculty adviser: Monika Kaup

Bailey Elyse Rahn
faculty advisers: Sydney Kaplan and Jan Sjåvik
thesis: "Trolls, Transition and Tradition: Rewriting Norwegian Identity in Immigrant and Homesteading Literature."

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This thesis analyzes Norwegian identity and cultural preservation by studying important pieces of national literature. By looking as far back as medieval Norse documents and continuing through 19th century emigration novels, this thesis tracks the development of the Norwegian “sense of place,” a dual identity rooted in both history and homeland.

Prompted by the July 22, 2011 terrorism in Oslo that sought to reinstate a traditional, homogenous Norwegian nation, I hoped to lay the groundwork for future investigations of cultural preservation. I hope to resume this research in my Norwegian thesis this spring by analyzing contemporary attitudes of immigration in Norway.

Shane Christopher Sherod-Clyburn
creative writing faculty adviser: Pimone Triplett
creative thesis: "Exploration: The Poetic Legacy of Gerard Manley Hopkins."

Danielle Erin Skredsvig
faculty adviser: Monika Kaup

Samara Lynn Surface
faculty adviser: Sydney Kaplan

Katherine Sarah Tacke
creative writing faculty adviser: Pimone Triplett

Ajjana Thairungroj
faculty adviser: Monika Kaup
thesis: "An Exploration of Metaphysical Loneliness and Relationships in Sputnik Sweetheart and Kitchen."

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This paper explores the notion of existential alienation and metaphysical isolation of the individual, a core sentiment in Japanese post-modern literature, and how it operates in Haruki Murakami’s Sputnik Sweetheart and Banana Yoshimoto’s Kitchen. I propose to argue that, though the sentiments of loneliness and alienation permeate the novels, the individual can still seek conciliation and ease the burden of existence through 1) achieving Moustakas’ concept of authentic communication and establishing connections with others, and 2) taking pleasure in small, seemingly insignificant matters in life, rather than attempting to futilely seek for a deeper essence in existence itself, an idea derived from a close reading of Camus’ “The Myth of Sisyphus.” This paper also addresses the paradox that, though forming relationships with others can ease metaphysical isolation, a large portion of the primary text’s sense of loneliness itself derives from the character’s realization that they cannot completely rely solely on those bonds as solutions to an existence without alienation.

Esther-Maria Tkacz
faculty adviser: Monika Kaup
thesis: "Under a Spell: The fantastic tale of Orlando, its chronotope and its relation to A Room of One’s Own. "

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The novel, Orlando: a biography by Virginia Woolf is a modernist tale of fantasy that works to establish a utopian view for female writers. My explication of Orlando utilizes the concepts of fairytale structure, the marvelous and Luis Brandao's explanation of Michael Bakhtin's chronotope. The novel was written around the same time-frame as Woolf's extended essay, A Room of One's Own, which discusses how women should develop a new writing style and invokes the use of imagination to support her thesis. My essay discusses the intertextuality between Orlando and Room but primarily uses Orlando as the framework to explain and justify Woolf's argument expressed in both works.

Amanda Rose Whitbeck
faculty adviser: Monika Kaup
thesis: "Identity and Agency in The Fourth Century."

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I looked at Édouard Glissant's novel, which follows six generations of two rival families from Africa living in Martinique. One family is enslaved in the first few generations, whereas the other family lives freely away from the European colonists. I discussed the concepts of "root identity" and "relation identity" (as theorized by Glissant) within these families, and how each correlates with agency and perceptions of power.

Stephanie Rose Whitney
faculty adviser: Monika Kaup

Sher-Min Faith Yang
faculty adviser: Sydney Kaplan
thesis: “'This Inner Time is Our Wife': Time, Separation and Love in Three Contemporary Novels."

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