Karen

Karen

I read too many books, write fiction, blog, and eat a lot of chocolate. I'm currently completing a Publishing Certificate to become a full-time editor.

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Latest Articles

Latest Topics

2

Complex morality in V.E. Schwab's Vicious

Vicious can be summed up as two brilliant and ambitious college friends who get their own superhero origins by deliberately manufacturing near-death experiences that (if survived) will let them become "ExtraOrdinary." With their newfound powers, Victor and Eli find themselves on opposing sides, each now capable of doing inhuman things. As the story progresses, it becomes incredibly difficult to categorize either character as a complete hero or villain because their causes are a conflict of both right and wrong.

Analyze Eli and Victor’s philosophies of morality (particularly after they become EOs) and why they believe they are each justified to act as they do. Eli’s occupation with religion will be helpful here. Also look at how they involve and treat other people in their plans (like Angie, Sydney, or Serena).

    7

    The Women of The Bold Type

    The first season of The Bold Type just concluded and it has received overwhelmingly positive reviews from critics and viewers alike. For a show predicated on the lives of three young women – Jane, Sutton, and Kat – working at a women’s magazine, the writers could have easily made its characters vapid and its plot shallow or overly predictable, or pit the three females together in competition with each other. Instead, these women each occupy their own department within the magazine and only ever try to support each other as they navigate their love lives, sexuality, jobs, and identities.
    Analyze the diversity of The Bold Type’s major female characters (Jane, Sutton, Kat, but even Jacqueline and Adena are useful for this discussion): their strengths, faults, and growth throughout the season. How does the characterization of these women, and the obstacles they must overcome, contribute to the show’s overarching theme of female empowerment?

      10

      The Use of Music in Baby Driver

      Analyze the use of music in the film. The music Baby listens to becomes a major part of the movie’s score and also serves to punctuate many of the film’s amazing chase sequences; it is often synced perfectly to the action, as Baby is meticulous in timing the music just right. A film’s score is always deliberately attuned to the story’s plot and themes, but do the musical choices, timing, and the fact it is usually coming from a character’s iPod produce a new or different effect upon the viewer?

      • I have yet to see baby driver but I hugely appreciate a good soundtrack in a movie so this topic would be great to explore the importance of music in film and how it can at times be equally as effective as special effects and dialogue. The Dark Knight trilogy is a great example of this as I believe Hans Zimmer's composure on that made it all the more amazing. – AdilYoosuf 3 years ago
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      • It would be helpful to add a track-listing for the Baby Driver soundtrack, and possibly a link to its iTunes page so readers can have a place to sample songs track by track in case they forget a song. – TeriekWilliams1988 3 years ago
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      • I recently watched a clip from an interview where the actors talked about the fact that music was a big part of this film already in the scripting phase. They even wrote a special program to help readers experience the story and the music together while they were shopping it around. https://youtu.be/RB7E0geIeV8 – derBruderspielt 3 years ago
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      • There are various very useful video essays on this topic on YouTube, typing Baby Driver essay on it should find some. – Henry 3 years ago
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      8

      Being Above the Law in "How to Get Away With Murder"

      Analyze the issue of the show’s main characters being involved in law yet acting above it (i.e. through murders, blackmailing, theft). What are the implications of this hypocrisy and how can this form a commentary on modern society or human nature? How is the show so appealing despite the characters going against simple black-and-white laws most people have been raised to instinctively follow? How can we condemn real-life criminals, yet root for these fictional ones as they do the exact same thing? Do the characters’ backstories inform and alter our perspective of them, humanizing them so it becomes more difficult to see them as villains?

      • This is a brilliant idea, particularly in the case of Annalise. – Sonia Charlotta Reini 4 years ago
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      • I recently watched the first two seasons again after that nail-biting cliffhanger in the middle of season three. This time around I was quite impressed how the characters really struggle with what they have done. Everything is internalized and they are not as heartless as they pretend to be. They each have unique reactions and coping mechanisms, and as you pointed out, they are indeed humanized because we can clearly see that they all have a strong moral compass. I really like this idea! – AlexanderLee 4 years ago
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      • I think this is a great topic but it definately can be broadened into the appeal of anti-heroes in general and also the nature of empathy. Whether its Annalise, Dexter, or Batman- we're actively rooting for the people who are taking the law into their own hands because we've been convinced these are criminals/conspiracies the justice system simply cannot handle or wouldn't understand. We forgave the Keating five for Sam's death because he was shown to be a terrible guy responsible for the murder of a missing college student. In the same vein, Dexter was a sociopathic serial killer but because he lived by a code the audience could still be convinced to root for him. We lived in his head and understood his motivations. But if it was an episode of Criminal Minds we'd 100% be rooting for them to catch him. The characters who are humanized and relatable are easy to make excuses for. – LC Morisset 4 years ago
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      • I think the reason we tend to support otherwise morally corrupt characters is because, through seeing their backstory and, in the case of Annalise, compromising relationship with her husband, they seem more human and relatable. Another excellent example of this would be those who supported Walter Whites actions in Breaking bad, Walter was arguably one of the most morally questionable characters we've had to date blowing up nursing homes, dissolving bodies in hydrofluoric acid but when we see his motives, he is instantly humanised. We see that he, just like us is doing what he is doing for his family and this is thereby adequate justification. Its quite intriguing how we, as an audience are more inclined to support and understand a characters actions when we see just what drives them to do what they do. – AdilYoosuf 3 years ago
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      Latest Comments

      Karen

      I love this article! I used to watch a lot of anime and tended toward the dubs when I was younger, but I did find that I preferred reading subtitles (especially when some animes had really awful dubbing). I will watch some animes in English, like Death Note and FullMetal Alchemist, mostly because I genuinely like the English voice acting and don’t feel like the story is changed for localization.

      The Anime Dub Controversy
      Karen

      I used to love the Kingdom Hearts series growing up, replaying whichever games I had every year. But I *hated* the beginning of Kingdom Hearts 2, which felt like one big tutorial until you gained control of Sora for the first time.
      I love games that start by dropping you right in the middle of the story or even action. It’s a bit daunting if you’ve never played that game before and it has new mechanics, but I feel like this approach is more organic. I also like the option of skipping tutorials, especially when it’s a game I love replaying or an installment in a series where the mechanics don’t change much game to game. Nothing is worse than mindlessly smashing whatever button will make the text boxes go away so you can actually get on with playing.

      Video Games And—Wait, Another Darn Tutorial?
      Karen

      Thank you for your comment! I loved McCloud’s books – definitely useful for anyone wishing to explore how comics are structured!
      The comic book course I took in my own undergrad focused on breaking down the stigma of comic book reading and how you can study them just as you would any other work of literature (which I appreciated, being an English major myself).
      I definitely hope graphic novels will be used in English classes and taken as seriously as written novels or poems in the future.

      Comic Books, Adults, and a History of Stigmatization
      Karen

      Hiya, I’m Canadian too, and I would definitely encourage you to read it! I actually read it last year for a university science class, and it was really eye-opening. I think this article captures Atwood’s effectiveness at depicting such a terrifying world that tips into ethically gray areas for genetics and government power.

      Oryx and Crake: Why Atwood Matters
      Karen

      All great suggestions, and a wonderful way of breaking down just how graphic novels offer an assortment of genres to such a wide variety of people. It’s almost overwhelming to pick *one* graphic novel to start with if you’re new to it, but I definitely agree that there’s something out there for everyone.

      Comic Books, Adults, and a History of Stigmatization
      Karen

      I adored Nimona! I think it’s very aware of itself as a graphic novel, and a decent starter for anyone wishing to get into the medium.

      Comic Books, Adults, and a History of Stigmatization
      Karen

      Well put!
      As an English major myself, I can understand why classic literature is so highly regarded – though even I sometimes question the process of canonization that elevates certain works and disregards others deserving of more exposure. However, disregarding comics as a whole merely because they seem to be less nuanced than certain literature/books is a damaging approach to comics that I entirely disagree with.
      I actually took a “Comics and Cartoons” course last summer as a part of my English degree. I took it mostly because I was a casual manga and comics reader, loved superhero movies, and wanted a greater exposure to comics as a medium. I ended up becoming exposed to a lot of the great titles I’ve mentioned in my article, and the course as a whole shaped how I now view comics.
      I also realized how much you can discuss about comics in terms of colour, composition, use of frames, style of art. As an English major, I am used to discussing themes, characters, and how sentences are structured, or analyzing stories through specific literary lenses. But comics have an entirely visual element to them that brings so much more analysis and it was a genuine pleasure writing essays on how these elements enhanced the comics’ stories and how you could read them.

      Comic Books, Adults, and a History of Stigmatization
      Karen

      It’s a shame you’ve had these experiences – and that these people have a narrow understanding of the wonderful content of comic books. It’s certainly an example that helps prove my point here.
      But that is an incredibly adorable quote and here’s to hoping that kid doesn’t “grow out” of comics just because he’s told to.

      Comic Books, Adults, and a History of Stigmatization