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The Impact of Fitzgerald's Personal Life on His Writing

F. Scott Fitzgerald lived a relatively hard life plagued by alcoholism and depression, yet was a powerful writer. Characters in his novels, such as Jay Gatsby from "The Great Gatsby" and Dick Diver from "Tender is the Night" seem to experience similar troubles. We know what Fitzgerald struggled with throughout his life; to what extent did he give his characters the same struggles? Was it a conscious decision, or a way of coping? In many cases the characters don’t find peace, just as Fitzgerald didn’t. How did Fitzgerald use his personal life, whether willingly or not, to influence his writing?

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    Do you think standardized tests are limiting high school students to becoming avid readers?

    Reflect on how standardized tests are not preparing high school students for liberal arts courses in college. Liberal arts courses requires reading stamina, comprehension, and critical writing skills that are not taught in the classroom.

    • Oh, the heck yes! Thank goodness somebody said it. I was lucky because I always loved to read, but a lot of kids aren't born bookworms. I taught Freshman Comp as a grad student, and the lack of enthusiasm for reading, plus the lack of comprehension and skill, made me so mad for those students, I can't begin to tell you. – Stephanie M. 4 days ago
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    • Absolutely. I work as an ACT/SAT prep teacher and the tests do not teach kids to read critically or comprehensively. They only teach them to read for the answer or to barely understand main concepts. As a timed test, students don't have enough time to properly read every word and examine it like college students would be required to. They also are not required to write an essay based on the excerpt and are discouraged from bringing any outside knowledge to apply to the text. I would definitely say that standardized tests limit high school students from enjoying and pursuing reading. – krae29 23 hours ago
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    • Yes! – Munjeera 20 hours ago
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    • Yes! I agree. Standardized tests teach students that answers are either right or wrong, and in literature that's not exactly true. As long as you back up your claim with evidence, then your answer could be correct. Literature is not all black and white, there's that gray area. And standardized tests hinder students from thinking beyond black and white. – simplykrizia 15 hours ago
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    • Teaching to the test is the absolute death of critical thinking. Having taught college for years, I can confirm just how unprepared students are for college in general, even more so for any course that requires thinking outside the box. Teaching English was just as difficult. None of my courses use exams as a method of evaluation, which completely throws students off because they are required to read and write and think and analyze materials. Assigned reading was a constant component to the course, as were brief exercises to evaluate knowledge gained. Since students couldn’t use memorization to complete assignments, many of them struggled. Other students however, were relieved to able to think freely and not within the constraints of rote memorization and regurgitation. If high school students were periodically given the freedom to choose their own reading materials, reading and comprehension rates would likely become much higher. – mazzamura 12 hours ago
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    The importance and validity of Creative Nonfiction

    Creative Nonfiction (CNF) has been one of the hottest and most expansive literary genres since the mid-90s, but many still fail to understand the concept of the genre. As a genre that tells truthful stories in an artful and engaging way, there can be roadblocks to the genre’s validity when it comes to the use of creative liberty.

    How has the mainstream introduction of CNF altered the way we read and trust our authors? How can CNF be directed within the periphery of the public mainstream in a way that credits the genre with more than just memoir? Additionally, how do we deal with the ethical dilemmas that creative liberties create within the genre?

    • This is a very interesting topic that I know all too well, as someone who loves using imagery and creative literary tools in my writing, I've encountered issues between how realistic the writing sounds. Creative Nonfiction can fall into a gray area for many writers as they want to tell their true story realistically and honestly, to a point where there isn't much room for creative freedom. I feel the balance can be made, and introducing more creativity and freedom to nonfiction can add a new layer to honest and truthful story telling. – theanding 1 week ago
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    • Love the topic! I enjoy reading memoir, but I do think that's all that comes to mind when most people hear "creative nonfiction." I haven't found a non-memoir CNF work I enjoy in awhile. I hope to see a lot of non-memoir works mentioned in the post. – Stephanie M. 4 days ago
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    The Importance of Learning the Classics

    Is it important to learn about classic literature to better understand contemporary writing?

    • I think this a great start for a topic! Maybe you could refine the topic a little by pointing to specific classics that are commonly assigned in secondary education? For example, To Kill a Mockingbird, Great Expectations, etc. I think that specific examples would definitely focus the article more and add to its impact. – Opaline 3 months ago
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    • Learning the basic nature of Classic Literature has always had a high importance, but there are stories that can be substituted. This might be something you'd want to explore as you're researching, such as what books might be able to replace, for example, A Tale of Two Cities in terms of having the same themes; so perhaps finding a more modern novel with themes of doppelgangers, unrequited love, and so on. I believe this is how new classics are born as time goes on and the classics we have now become more like the tales of Chaucer - simply something we skim over once or twice through secondary school or university. – Steven Gonzales 3 months ago
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    • I'm so glad there are more voices for this! I've taught college and high school, and I lose sleep over the push to leave Classic Literature to electives and Humanities rather than retaining it as part of a general education requirement. Yes, there are some we can substitute, but why? I don't believe that anything contemporary has the same academic or historical value. The emphasis on language and prose style is often only evident in older works. I would love to see how many of the most successful writers were influenced by the classics. A lot of the best novels out there have hints of classic works - prose, themes, conflicts and unique premises. To understand contemporary works, it would help to read the works that influenced their authors. – wtardieu 3 months ago
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    Taken by Laura Jungblut (PM) 3 weeks ago.
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    Does Author Matter?

    What if you stumbled across the most beautiful poem you’d ever read while browsing the Internet, only to learn that it was created by a computer program. Would it lose it’s value? Would "A Raisin in the Sun" lose it’s value if it was written by, say, a white man, or would it retain its message?

    • Between "Biographical Fallacy" (Wimsatt & Beardsley, 1946) and "Death of the Author" (Barthes, 1967), I can't help feeling this topic has been done to death (no pun intended). I'll admit, your invoking of Hansbury, however, might provide a somewhat fresh take. It's one thing to talk about authorial biography and intent when it's simply a matter of literary interpretation, but race does seem to complicate these matters. I could see the whole article just being about that; however, I'd be very surprised if even that hasn't been done before. – ProtoCanon 3 months ago
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    • I think art can, and should, stand alone anonymously. Knowing the author or artist can influence our reaction to it. – Jeffrey Toney 3 months ago
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    • I have always thought that the poem, or any piece of literature, can be interpreted as a stand alone piece, irrespective of the author. As such, the reader can always delve into the rationale behind why an author was stimulated to write what they did, but the words themselves carry more weight than the author. – NateSumislaski 3 months ago
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    • Extremely interesting topic! I think it just depends on how you are reading it. New Criticism and close reading basically don't take the author into consideration. If you want to analyze a work from a biographical and/or historical standpoint, then maybe the author does matter--who says you can't analyze a computer program? To produce a great poem, that program has to somehow be programmed to follow the expectations of what a "great" poem is, for example. That will lead us to the programmer(s).– James Zhan 3 weeks ago
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    • I would lean towards saying author doesn't matter. Take Beowulf, for example. It has no known author, is centuries old, yet continues to be taught in high schools and colleges across the United States. If one changes their opinion of a work simply based on its author, they are not truly accepting the work on the basis of its content, but rather on the name attached to it. – ngm1204 2 days ago
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    Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: Is it really canon?

    This purpose of this article is to determine whether or not the recently published rehearsal script for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child should be considered as a new addition to the Harry Potter canon. In other words, this article would focus on the mixed reception from fans, J.K Rowling’s involvement in the project (or lack thereof) and argue for or against the play as part of the overall Harry Potter story timeline.

    • Does reception decide what "canon" is? Or is the fact that JK Rowling an author already confirm its legitimacy? Keep in mind that it is a theatrical play. – Christen Mandracchia 1 month ago
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    • Fan reception does not dictate what is and is not canon. Canon is decided by whoever owns the creative rights. – Steven Gonzales 1 month ago
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    • Alright, I see both of your points. In some ways I agree and disagree at the same time. While I think canon is determined by the author, I also believe that an individual's 'personal' canon (the fan perspective) is valid and worthy of study. However, that's just my opinion. – AlexanderLee 1 month ago
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    • This is interesting, because "canon" is typically whatever the original author claims it to be. However, Cursed Child uses any number of ideas embraced by the fandom community long before the Cursed Child was written (friendship between Albus and Scorpius, Albus being in Slytherin, etc). Does the relationship between author and fandom change what the "canon" is? Does it give the fandom more ownership of the material? – sophiacatherine 4 weeks ago
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    Elizabeth Slays the Dragon: Feminism in Children's Literature

    Analyze how children’s literature has changed over the years to be more inclusive and to have strong female protagonists. One example of this theme is The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munch.

    • This is an interesting topic. I cannot say I am familiar with many strong female protagonists in children's literature other than The Paper Bag Princess. That goes to show there should be more – Riccio 5 months ago
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    • You could start with Jo in Little Women and Anne in Anne of Green Gables plus Pippi Longstocking and Ramona and Beezus. – Munjeera 5 months ago
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    • It's stupid to have male heroes only since men are stronger than women, as a group, but not the dragons, etc., that are so often slain in children's literature. This father of two female dragon slayers says, "Great topic." – Tigey 5 months ago
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    • Look at Hans Christian Andersen's "The Snow Queen"--in that story, the little girl, Gerda, is the one who embarks on the dangerous journey to save the boy, Kay. Also, some of George McDonald's fairytales feature interesting female protagonists, as does Oscar Wilde's "The Canterville Ghost." – Allie Dawson 1 month ago
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    Taken by Lauren Mead (PM) 3 weeks ago.
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    Santa Claus as a Chaotic Figure

    St. Nick/Santa Claus is often presented as a jolly, warm, and overall positive spirit of the holiday season. However, a closer look at other culture’s "St. Nick" figures (creepier ones like Krampus) and the like could present a darker side. Aside from that, the article would also discuss or look at the deeper motivations behind the St. Nick figure. Why make toys? Why distribute them? What is his motivation? In some ways Santa can be considered "chaotic good"–a figure operating generally for good under their own moral structure. No one has told St. Nick to do these things, he does so of his own volition and for his own reasons. Whose system of morals does the Santa judge children by? What would happen if children were judged on a different system of morals–perhaps "good" children were no longer the traditional moral good, but rather the most ambitious or the most cunning children? Additionally, the santa *punishes* bad children. This goes against the traditional "reform" system where those who are bad are brought gently to good. Krampus type figures even bodily kidnap or harm children to punish them. (A fun and possibly seasonal article.)

    • Interesting topic! I like it. But it might help to ground it in some specific movie versions of Santa. Maybe even including the Grinch Who Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss? – Ben Hufbauer 1 month ago
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