Analyze the relationship between Odysseus and Telemakos of “The Odyssey”. Specifically, look at the characters at their start (Telemakos being more passive, Odysseus being more hot-blooded). How do they develop? How do they influence each other in their development? How is this relevant in driving out 108 suitors from Odysseus’ home, all vying for Penelope’s hand? How does Athena influence both of them?
Bella Swan and Edward Cullen. Catherine and Heathcliff. Lily Evans and Severus Snape. Besides the obvious examples of unhealthy relationships in literature, there are also some that are commonly contested, like Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy or Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester. Despite the toxicity of these relationships though, and despite the fact that from a twenty-first century mindset, they could be called manipulative or abusive, people still love them. People still read the stories of these characters and enjoy them.
Do toxic relationships in literature have a particular pull? If so, what is it? What makes a relationship toxic, and are any of these, or others, redeemable? Is the woman always the "victim," or can men be victimized by toxicity as well? Are toxic relationships more "accepted" with white couples (you’ll notice none of these examples contain people of color or minorities)? Why is that? What about LGBTQ examples? Discuss.
I feel like it's in large measure of the potential for abusive relationships to function as narcissist's fantasies, even regardless of gender. For example, in a story like Twilight a woman gets to imagine herself being the object of affections of a man who's so infatuated with her he's willing to cater to her every desire (even if he also treats her quite badly). Whereas men get to fantasize about having a weak, passive woman who loves having them in control and being their willing slave. Part of it might also be that some people really are so desperate for a partner that they're willing to do anything for one, no matter how degrading. – Debs2 weeks ago
I should also add that, if anything, I think toxic relationships are more common in media with LGBT characters than without them, and that a big part of this is that something that anyone could recognize as creepy and awful if a man were doing it to a woman (i.e., rape, kidnapping, etc.), is more likely to be perceived as not that bad when it's a man doing it to another man, or a woman doing it to another woman. – Debs2 weeks ago
This is a topic that I constantly am grappling with as I have seen it done in good ways and have seen it done in very, very bad ways. How much insight can an older white man give about the black experience during the 1960s? Of course, it’s easy to just recount history, but is there anything emotionally informative about this? How can a privileged white male know what it’s like to be a minority? I personally feel like it’s more intriguing to learn about experiences first hand. For example, I’m taking a discourses in disability class taught by a blind professor.
I think this is a tricky situation because it also runs the line of - can you write about something you've never experienced? I think that humanity can be understood from alternative perspectives otherwise what would be the point of trying to teach these perspectives if only those who directly experienced it can understand it. – SaraiMW3 weeks ago
I think people of colour should be taking about diversity as it shows that the institution is taking it seriously.
Yet I also think that if you are an expert on a topic you should teach it. – Amelia Arrows3 weeks ago
Poignant question. I believe that, as with everything, it comes down to the individual. It started off with the White Male complex, whereby it's always the white man who has to save the day (Green Book). This was mainly during a time when minorities had no voice and it came down to the often privileged, always observant white people to tell their stories (Harriet Beecher Stowe).
The issue of insight and authenticity is a very important one. No matter how much research one does on the matter, a white man who grew up in a middle class family will never truly know how it feels to be a poor immigrant woman from Eastern Europe living in a council flat. Unless you're Ken Loach. I think he could pull it off. – danivilu2 weeks ago
I agree with all of the previous comments, especially in regards to the importance of the teacher's personality and methods. Just like you, I had great and bad professors for courses in diversity but oddly enough, one of my best experiences was with "an older White male', who had zero experience, yet used his 'outsider' status to challenge our thinking. To compensate for his lack of direct exposure, he would regularly invite non-White guests with pertinent views and thus creating a great environment for open, mature conversations. He may not have provided us with lived experience but he was able to secure the necessary tools for our class' objectives and you may argue that it was thanks to his 'privileges' and contacts.– kpfong831 week ago
Though I’m French, most of the books I’ve read are foreign novels, and by foreign, I mean Americans (except for Harry Potter and a couple of other exception, but not that much), while the books I have to read for classes are French and especially French – or French-written – classics. It made me realize that I don’t really know classic books from other countries – I might have heard of them, but I’d never read them – while using American contemporary novels in my essays isn’t the best way to have a good grade! I was then wondering… quite a few things!
Pell-mell: How domestic and foreign literature is tackle elsewhere in Europe, elsewhere outside Europe, in the USA, in the UK, for instance? Are there contemporary foreign books – French books for instance – that are famous in the US, the UK, in Sweden, in Brazil, anywhere outside of its original country? What define “classic”? Does it depends on the country, or is Goethe’s concept of “Weltliteratur” (basically, global literature) real, widespread? To what extent time define whether a book is a “classic”? And, finally, any reading advice concerning foreign classics?
[I’m not quite fluent in English yet, so I hope it was understandable, and not too messy!]
Interesting topic. From a North American perspective, I have noticed that it depends greatly on the distribution and quality of the translation of the novels. The marketing campaign also adds an extra layer especially in regards to contemporary works.As a comics scholar, I have seen European comics make or break in the North American market depending on how the author/illustrator interacts with the readers. For example, the success of the French cartoonist Pénéloppe Bagieu is due to her careful marketing (social media, interviews) and being present in the comics festival circuits in North America. – kpfong832 weeks ago
When reading a feminist novel, or one based on that movement, if differentiates greatly between the gender of the author. Women, I find, speak more passionately about the subject, and are willing to stand up and ridicule the opposite sex with great meaning and intention. However, when a man is writing a book about feminism, it’s through an entirely new set of eyes. He may or may not judge the patriarchy as harshly or express similar views, even though it’s the same concept.
This is an interesting topic. It would be cool to see comparisons between books written by the opposite sex. – OkaNaimo08191 month ago
It’s almost a cliche at this point that the central characters in any story are rarely the most interesting ones. More often than not they tend to be relatively bland, and the story grows out of their interactions with a cast of more interesting side characters. However, every so often a protagonist will end up being the most interesting character in their story. For instance, in Osamu Tezuka’s "Buddha" manga, the Buddha is actually one of the more well-rounded and relatable characters, even given that the legends about him tend to paint him as an almost perfect, untouchable being. What are some other examples of this phenomenon, where the main protagonist really is the most interesting, or one of the most interesting, characters? What is it about them that makes them so interesting?
I believe this statement can be completely true. Sometimes the evil character is more relatable and evokes more emotion than the Plain Jane good person. For example, in The Vampire Diaries, everyone loves Damon. He's mysterious, alluring, and sexy. More than that, people want to believe in him. They want to see the whole "bad-boy turned good" phenomenon play out. Like in Maleficent or Wicked, entirely new stories are revealed. It shifts from delivering a story about monsters to explaining how they became this villain everyone believes them to be. I think that villains are important in literature and film, because sometimes they teach us more than the heroes. People can't relate to a perfect character. They can easily relate to the villain, because they see their flaws scattered in themselves. – nicolemadison3 months ago
what if we explored the possibility of "supporting characters" being the REAL "protagonists"? Or the possibility of multiple protagonists? – Dena Elerian1 month ago
Explore the nature of personal identity in Toni Morrison’s novel “Beloved.” This could include the nature of the character Beloved, notably in her relationships with other characters (most importantly Sethe) and her opaque origins. Additionally, the book can be examined for commentary on the dehumanizing effect of American slavery on African American identity, and how this effect lingers, thus making “Beloved” resonant.
An article exploring the development and effect of significant pieces of Utopian literature and why Dystopian literature is more popular and widespread than its positive cousin. Is there something in our modern day psychological make-up that makes us define the ideal world negatively rather than positively?
Good topic! One thing to touch on is the overlap between the Utopian & dystopian; most dystopias are the final evolution of a preconceived utopia that has invariably warped over time. – majorlariviere2 months ago
I think we are, socially and individually, more curious in dystopia; more interested in the 'bad' re imaginings of the world rather than the 'good.' With the peak of technology, we are constantly wondering 'what could go wrong?". I remember one of the screenwriters for Black Mirror was saying that the inspiration for one of the episodes was the assemblage of the 'robot dog' and 'what if that was chasing me?' I think that dystopia serves as a kind of a reminder, to us, especially in a world where we have become more lazy than ever, that not everything that is beneficial is 'good.' – SpookyDuet1 month ago
I don't think it's the dystopia we are interested in as much as the evolution of the dystopia. We like seeing a dystopia transform into a utopia, its more relatable. No one lives a perfect life and therefore utopias are not relatable. On the other hand, a dystopia is, and it is our constant yearning to make our lives better that makes us relate to the evolution of dystopian fantasy. – promptlyby122 weeks ago