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The influence of Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison on African American art

Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison has been called a "master text," a revolutionary work which changed the nature of African American literature in the 1950s. How did Invisible Man reach more than just African American literature? Where can you see its influence in later works – not only in literature, but painting, poetry, photography, etc?

  • Looking at the race issues as well as the Marxist bent of the text would likely be a solid starting ground for evaluating how this novel has influenced other disciplines and how it speaks to other racial issues. Would make for a great interdisciplinary exploration. – mazzamura 1 month ago
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How pop culture such as facebook and other social media influences young adult's self esteem

Discuss why social media negative or positive influence young adult’s self esteem

  • What examples of pop culture do you mean? Could this include YA films like Divergent and Star Wars and how this affects the psyche of YA? – Kevin 4 months ago
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  • This is a good line of inquiry, but really broad. Narrow in on some particular aspect of pop culture so you can build a better argument with solid analysis. – albee 4 months ago
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  • Hmm...interesting question. I'm now trying to think of any songs, movies, or shows that have impacted my self-esteem...I automatically think of "in a negative way" but I realize that there are probably a lot of things that have impacted me positively. I think focusing on one of these sides would be very interesting and much more effective. – skohan 4 months ago
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  • It seems like there is a distinction between pop culture and social media. You might want to pick one or the other. If you want to focus on self-esteem, social media might be a good one, and think about the idea of cyber bullying. It could come in several forms, but people on the internet are notorious for saying things that they wouldn't in person. – AbeRamirez 4 months ago
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  • I agree with AbeRamirez, the writer should consider selecting either pop culture or social media. If they choose the former, it would be worthwhile to discuss how role models, fictional characters, uplifting songs and films inspire people and make them feel more confident. However, these same things might also create an impossible standard, which most people are unable to attain thus making them feel inferior and less confident. If you go the social media route, you could talk about interpersonal connections fostering a sense of community that makes someone feel loved and/or respected in a way that's beneficial to self esteem. However, as AbeRamirez suggests, you could talk about cyberbullying. – IsidoreIsou 4 months ago
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  • I agree with the latter two comments. Targeting pop culture as it is would be too broad a topic. Since you've already funneled it down by using social media as an example, I suggest you just stick with that one aspect.My input on this is pretty much stating the obvious: more often than not, the effect is negative. More young people tend to compare themselves to others, resulting to low self-esteem and newfound frustrations. – Elizabeth Ruth Deyro 4 months ago
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  • This is a GREAT topic that is very prevalent in today's society. It seems as if one's self-confidence is becoming more dependent on the number of likes they receive. Bullying is also a growing issue here. – hmccraw 4 months ago
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  • I think social media is distinct from pop culture because the user is more directly involved with the former. When your post gets a like or a hit, it's a dose of dopamine, and when you go ignored, there's a sense of sadness, like you haven't been accepted. – ScottyGJ 1 month ago
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  • It sounds to me that you are blending social media and pop culture. Although they intertwine, there is a distinct difference. i think that you should talk about social media in reference, but focus on pop culture. – SamLuckert 1 month ago
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  • I agree with the former comments that pop culture and social media should be separated. In regards to the latter, I believe social media in today's society is largely tied to an individual's self-worth, which can be incredibly harmful. In measuring ourselves based on how many likes and comments we receive, we measure our worth based on others' opinions of us or attention to us. However, Isidorelsou raised a positive use of social media, which is when we can form friendships online that we might not form in real life, and how we build our real-life friendships through interaction on the internet. – melmollyrose 3 weeks ago
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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?

  • I think it is undeniable that Fitzgerald largely reflects upon his own life through the trials and tribulations of his fictional characters. Some of the parallels he draws are uncanny, however whether this was a conscious decision, or merely a demonstration of the artist's tendency to draw upon his own experiences, is difficult to ascertain. It would be interesting to look at essays written by Fitzgerald and critiques written about his works, as well as taking a closer look at his characters in order to craft a more solid perspective on the matter. – arhaydu 1 month ago
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  • I would love to read an article like this. To piggy-back off arhaydu a bit, looking at the wealth of Fitzgerald's different works, from the best-known novels to essays, as well as his short stories, is a must. Additionally, there is actually a slim volume out there titled On Booze. Relevant, and it is a quick, enjoyable read--shouldn't put too much more stress time-wise on the writing process for this article. – KatharineBooth 4 weeks ago
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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. 1 month 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 1 month ago
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  • Yes! – Munjeera 1 month 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 1 month 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 1 month ago
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  • Playing devil's advocate here. While standardized tests can limit a student's ability to become an avid reader, with correct guidance, standardized tests can act as a stepping stone to learn how to read textbooks and look for the pertinent information when reading a passage. Having tutored students in ACT/SAT, I find students who struggle with reading comprehension are better equipped to increase their reading stamina once they have started preparing for standardized tests.Additionally, standardized tests cannot be the only reason to blame for lack of preparation for liberal arts courses. Transitioning from high school to college can often be a struggle, especially for those who do not have a strong background in English or other social sciences, which can also act as a deterrent for avid reading. There are many factors that play a role in lack of preparation for liberal arts courses. – vaidyadoc 1 month ago
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  • To play devil's advocate again,preparing for any standardized tests teaches a student to search strictly for answers. SAT prep courses teaches you to read the first two sentences in each paragraph and pay attention to transitional sentences to find answers. In liberal arts courses students are not expected to find answers, they are expected to know how to elaborate and write critical responses to texts. – authoressalicia 4 weeks 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 month 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. 1 month ago
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  • This idea is a great topic! I teach English Comp. and at this moment, the students are preparing to write their narrative essays. I reviewed some of the student's drafts, and their narratives are like reading an instructional piece where they are putting together a machine with a thousand bolts and nuts. They are afraid of being creative because they feel like they will lie about what happened. I ask them to rely on descriptive writing and think about their five senses when they tell their stories. I also tell them to remember how they felt at specific times during their stories. They find this challenging.I think I may know the answer to dealing with ethical dilemmas--tell the truth. I would be interested in digging more into the perception of CNF in the mainstream and research both your questions. I think the outcome will be interesting and exciting. – Vchelle 3 weeks 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 4 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 4 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 4 months ago
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Taken by lajungbl (PM) 2 months 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 2 months 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 1 month 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 2 months 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 2 months 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 2 months 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 2 months ago
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