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1

Gender Roles in the Wheel of Time Series.

Analyze the gender roles of major characters in the series. Does Robert Jordan take a modern perspective on gender roles and place them into a high fantasy epic, or does he create protagonists that fill the gender roles of their culture within the novels? If the latter, then is the author offering a critique on modern gender roles? If the former, then is the author contriving to elevate the importance of certain roles in order to create a richer narrative that is more palatable for modern audiences? A starting point could be the first three novels of the series following: Rand, Perrin, Mat, Lan, Egwene, Nynaeve,
Moiraine, and Elayne. How is the act of channeling used to affect gender roles? How do the prejudices against both men and women that can channel affect Andor for better or worse?

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    The Story Component of Video Games

    With the release of Spiderman, I keep hearing comments on how brilliant the narrative is. Do you think the back story of a narrative video game has to be compelling to play it? How much does it affect your enjoyment?

    • I think this is an interesting topic and one that has arisen a number of times here, but has never been fully discussed. The concept of narrative in gaming is very different due to its modular narrative, and we see that games with great reviews, awards and fan bases often have strong narratives. Yet we also have a myriad of popular, "blockbuster" games that don't even bother. So I agree how much narrative is needed? – SaraiMW 1 day ago
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    • Love the topic. I suggest looking at God of War 2018 as well. It's just begging to be compared to spider man PS4. Both are PS4 Exclusives, with iconic heroes, and deep/detailed backstories. Some would say both subvert our expectations of their established canon, ala a Kratos trying to raise a son/be a good father, and Spider Man not at the beginning of his career, Norman Osbourne Mayor, Mary Jane as a journalist. God of War has one of the most compelling stories from a game this year. – Sean Gadus 1 day ago
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    Modern villains in kids' movies are too nice

    Many modern movies that are marketed to kids like Pirates of the Caribbean and Maleficent try to portray the villain in a more positive light. I think an interesting article would talk about the genre of kids’ films and how villains have changed over the years. For example, Goonies and Disney’s Little Mermaid have clear, evil villains.

    • Thank you for the help! I ended up clarifying the genre (removing the 80's reference) and focusing it a bit more. – tclaytor 7 days ago
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    • Are they "modern villains," or are they villains in "modern kids' movies"? Also might be nice to explore the apparent sanitization of movies targeted towards children over the last several decades. Do any characters ever die (murder, etc.) anymore, or does everyone end up talking about feelings by the end? – LaPlant0 5 days ago
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    • it's also interesting to explore how villains may change with demographic. For example, it might be easier to present a villain in a child's movie as inherently evil, to better teach morals. Versus, villains for older audiences are presented as morally ambiguous and complicated, which makes them relatable to us. – vmainella 3 days ago
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    Mental Illness, Modernity and Now

    The modernist period in literature saw a massive shift not only in the structural and generic elements of literature, but also in the thematic foci. One area that began to gain greater representation was the discussion of mental illness, especially through the lens of female authors. Great examples of this are Virginia Woolf’s ‘Mrs. Dalloway’, Janet Frame’s ‘Intensive Care’ and much more, Charlotte Gilman Perkins ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ and more. We are almost 100 years on from these breaking edge works that helped shape a greater understanding of experiences of mental illness. The prompt I would suggest would be to look now at examples of contemporary fictional works that deal with mental illness and how those experiences and stories are creating new conversations.

    • I think this is a fantastic idea, and does a great job carrying through the tradition that found a strong expression in modernism. What also may be useful - at least in my opinion - would be to also venture beyond Freudian psychoanalysis that was en vogue during that time, and see rather the interconnection between contemporary psychology and literature. Maybe an obvious point, so forgive me if this doesn't help. But, given what we know about schizoaffective disorders and neurodivergences today, I would think many authors would touch on this. Is your focus mainly here on female authors? – KevinP 1 day ago
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    Why is the byronic hero trope so persistent?

    Analyse why the byronic hero trope continues to be popular and "sexy" male characters are still often depicted as arrogant, proud, brooding, unemotional on the surface and somewhat antagonistic to the female protagonist in the beginning to create sexual chemistry. Why haven’t we moved past the Mr.Darcy fantasy- now the Mr.Grey/Edward Cullen fantasy? Why do male characters, especially those in YA such as Jace Herondale in the City of Bones series for example, continue to be by far one dimensional leather-jacket-wearing, smouldering "bad boys". There are SO MANY examples that could be discussed and explored here!!

    • I think that, largely, it has to do with toxic masculinity. We’ve been programmed to view men who don’t express outward emotion (except in very intimate settings) as “strong”, when in reality that isn’t the case at all. In the case of Edward Cullen/Christian Grey specifically, I think these characters romanticize relationships where there is an unhealthy balance of power. In any other context but a book, controlling who you see or don’t see would be considered abusive. Twilight and 50 Shades, however, paint these behaviors as “he just cares about you”. It also really doesn’t help that Bella Swan and Anastasia Steele seem completely oblivious to how problematic these behaviors are. – RebaZatz 5 months ago
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    • Nice topic. Don't forget Jane Eyre's Mr. Rochester. Other examples might include the Phantom from Phantom of the Opera, or even Beast from Beauty and the Beast. Remus Lupin from the Harry Potter series is said to qualify too, although he's not considered completely Byronic. – Stephanie M. 4 months ago
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    • And don't forget Deadpool! Also worth considering is Dallas from "The Outsiders." Dally was the ultimate byronic hero. Throughout the novel, Dally is represented as the uncaring bad boy, but at the end it is revealed that he was the character that truly cared the most. – EmskitheNerd 4 months ago
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    • They appear in shapes, sizes, colors, and flavors. See the link: https://the-artifice.com/byronic-hero – L:Freire 2 months ago
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    • i feel like men are shamed for being vulnerable by showing compassion etc. – Glimmerkill 1 day ago
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    • Feminism created an entire genre called YA for young adult women to enjoy the strength, independence and power we aren't given in a patriarchal society. In these novels, young women are constantly undermining structures of power and are given a wide range of character types and depths. And yet YA has failed in many ways to provide the same feminist message to men by giving them characters who are emotionally vulnerable and sensitive. – sonyaya 23 hours ago
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    9

    What Exactly is Happily Ever After, and Why Does it Matter?

    So the other day, I’m surfing the Internet looking at Harry Potter writings (I’m a recent Potterhead and enjoying the addiction). I came across someone complaining about The Cursed Child and the Deathly Hallows epilogue, saying that they were too "heteronormative." In other words, this person wanted to know why it was always necessary for our favorite characters to get married (to a heterosexual, but I guess really to a person of any gender) and have kids to be happy.

    Now, I’m a sucker for what TV Tropes calls Babies Ever After, but that post made me wonder. Why is marriage/babies held up as the ultimate happy ending? Is it the only one? What works can you name where this didn’t happen, but the characters were still happy and fulfilled? How has the concept of "happily ever after" evolved? Discuss.

    • I would say read Madame Bovary as it works as an antithesis to the traditional happily ever after. The character of Emma Bovary originally wanted nothing more than to get married, but soon starts desiring other things in life and becomes frustrated with the mundanity of married life. I don't want to give away too much here as it may spoil the story, but the idea of marriage and being a parent as the ultimate form of happiness is challenged in that story. You may also consider different gender perspectives in the happily ever after or "Babie ever after" trope as a lot of feminist literature likes to point out how what makes a female happy in marriage may vary for males. And for the LGBTQ community, it may because marriage and adoption is something that is legally denied to them in many countries. This theory has a lot of layers to it that need qualifications. I personally like stories that end with this trope as well, but I'm also aware of how it was used to keep females in a secondary position and treated them as a prize to be won. Though it is not to say that males did not desire as well. A good example of a male protagonist that wants desires this trope is Sanosuke Harada from the Hakuori Shinsengumi visual novels. – Blackcat130 6 months ago
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    • A couple of things to consider: The happy ever after (babies ever after) is a pacifier that stems from an industry pushing an 'aspirational' social value. Keep the status quo rolling along by showing us what we should want. Secondly, the romance novel industry dictates a happy ever after ending as it is expected. Queer romance sells best when it is HEA, but there is also a place for happy for now. – sheena 6 months ago
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    • I definitely don't think marriage/babies is the only type of happy ending. I love movies like Waitress, where the protagonist is able to get out of the abuse she may be in and leave any other baggage in order to do something for herself or coming of age movies where you see the protagonist really become an adult in a positive way. I hope that makes sense! – CatBeeny 2 months ago
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    Creativity in Junji Ito's Manga

    The art and storytelling in Junji Ito’s manga are very original in a peculiar sense. As a researcher interested in the concept of creativity and a fan of Junji Ito, I would be delighted to read an article about what makes Ito’s works creative.

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      Broly Returns To Dragon Ball

      This article could explore the popularity of a particular character in a fandom, even when the appearances have been limited. A good comparison maybe someone like Boba Fett from Star Wars. This piece could take a look back at the history Broly, why he has remained so popular, and predictions on his role in Dragon Ball Super.

        Film

        True Superheroes Should be Replaceable
        True Superheroes Should be Replaceable
        Deadpool 2 Soundtrack: Ridiculous or Genius?
        Darth Maul: A Triumph of the Star Wars Extended Universe
        The Dark Side of Romance in Movies

        TV

        The Walking Dead: What Led To Its Jeopardy
        The Walking Dead: What Led To Its Jeopardy
        Why do the Women of Game of Thrones Suffer So Much?
        Brooklyn Nine Nine: The Importance of a Diverse Show & Characters
        The Sexual on TV News: Lipstick Matters

        Animation

        Sensitive Topics in Recent Disney Films
        Sensitive Topics in Recent Disney Films
        Disney’s Failed Science-Fiction Era
        Moana: A Disney Princess For The 21st Century
        Isle of Dogs: Humanity in the Inhuman

        Anime

        Re:Zero – Love, fate and sins
        Re:Zero – Love, fate and sins
        Queer Representation in Anime
        Is Sailor Moon a feminist icon?
        Are you a Sub or a Dub?

        Manga

        One Punch Man vs. My Hero Academia: Reconstructing the Silver Age of Comics
        One Punch Man vs. My Hero Academia: Reconstructing the Silver Age of Comics
        Manga: How to Travel Between Dimensions
        Naruto: The Unresolved Revolution
        The 5 Saddest Moments in One Piece

        Comics

        Comic Books, Adults, and a History of Stigmatization
        Comic Books, Adults, and a History of Stigmatization
        The Social Stigma of Comic Book Reading
        What Should Happen To Captured Super Villains?
        Finding the Bridge Between Superhero Comics and Hip-Hop

        Literature

        Life Lessons from Literature About Food
        Life Lessons from Literature About Food
        Medieval Fantasy: A Success and an Impasse
        Rebuilding The Future: What book would you bring?
        YA Novels and their Modern Leading Ladies

        Arts

        This is America: Exploring Lyrical and Visual Symbolism
        This is America: Exploring Lyrical and Visual Symbolism
        The Power of Social Media; Does It Enhance or Swallow Up Relationships?
        Perfecting the Martial Art
        The Truth About Cats and Artists

        Writing

        Creative Texting: Writing and Textspeak
        Creative Texting: Writing and Textspeak
        Parallel and Alternate Realities; Fiction Tells us the Difference
        Genre Fiction in University Writing Programs: No longer the MFA’s Red-headed Stepchild
        Can you Teach Someone how to Become a Writer?