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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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    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 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days ago
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    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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    Fiction Novels and TV Shows: The Appeal of the "Gray" Protagonist

    Analyse and inform why there is such a success in the main characters who are usually supposed to be the "good" guys, but it tends to be better when they have their own flaws as well. Old fiction books and television shows tended to portray the "perfect" protagonist with all virtues. Now, there seems to be more success when it’s not always black or white ("bad" vs. "good")

    • Can you give some examples please? – SaraiMW 2 weeks ago
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    • Maybe its because the perfect protagonist doesn't provide any tension. In order to generate obstacles, and having a character who is perfect won't provide this. – vmainella 3 days ago
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    Thematic Analysis of The Death Cure

    There seems to be a lack of critical analysis with regards to the Maze Runner theories, especially with regards to the religious, sociological and political perspectives.

    • This seems too short. It needs to be expanded regarding what theories and what would be addressed. – Joseph Cernik 3 weeks ago
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    • This will include an analysis of the Biblical references present in the Maze Runner as well as forming a theory of the YA Cycle – RedFlame2000 3 weeks ago
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    Fifity Shades of Fan Fiction

    Fan fiction has a rather negative image within the literary genres. Works such as Fifty Shades of Grey do not not necessarily help the genre to renegotiate its stand in the literary world. Why is it that fan fiction is oftentimes seen as problematic? What are some positive examples? What might be the future of fan fiction?

    • For a shining example of the heights that fan fiction can achieve, I would suggest looking into Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality. It takes the source material and elevates it into something brilliant, profound and even life-altering. – Lokesh Krishna 1 year ago
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    • This is going to be a long comment but first, I really do think this question is relevant so good job. I just want to add a few things (mainly for the future writer): I gather that by fanfiction you mean those posted online for nonprofit purposes. It would be interesting to compare the impression people have of those works in comparison to "Wicked", modern Dracula/Frankenstein/etc. rewrites, those based on an existing work (ex. "Dorothy must Die" by Danielle Paige), etc. The distinction between professionally written "fanwork" and others might influence what you consider examples of fanfiction in your second question. For the first question, is there a conclusion to be drawn from people's impression of works when produced professionally? Do people assume that had a work been good it would have been published, and so works online are thus of lesser quality? Or is online fanfiction mocked because of the idea that the internet is a young person's playground, and thus online writers must be younger/less experienced? There is also the notion that fanwork is necessarily erotica which might make it seem cheaper to some. [Note: While it is also possible to discuss the pros/cons of fanworks in terms of queer representation/copyright/etc. the best thing about your question is that it's focused on people's perception of fanwork, so I wouldn't broaden the topic to include its actual workings]. For the third, one can look at the influence fans have on writers: it would be easier to see said influence on shows, but it would be interesting to see if book authors are influenced similarly. I guess my only issue then is that your topic is still very broad, and all three of your questions could make separate articles. I'm not sure I would ask you to focus on one question yet, but it would definitely be to your advantage. Still, an interesting topic. – Rina Arsen 1 year ago
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    • As a personal opinion (haven't read but watched one movie and have heard a lot of talk about it's origins), and one the future writer might use, I see it as completely irrelevant that it started out as a fan fiction because the end product doesn't rely on the source of inspiration. It's just a big messed up relationship. The fact that we constantly tie it back to it's fanfiction origins is proof that fanfic has a bad connotation, one that we should address and assess. If it doesn't affect the content, why are we still bringing it up? Why is it such a big deal? Readers of this article should ask themselves those questions. – Slaidey 1 year ago
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    • While the Artifice has received quite a few articles on this topic which are still in the publishing queue(I myself edited one today), one important derivative aspect which could be looked into is the availability of online portals for people to write out their fantasies for others to read and how this has radically altered the way people view these writings, what with everyone considering themselves a great writer.(No offense intended) – Vishnu Unnithan 1 year ago
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    Harry Potter: Reading versus The Movies

    Character development, something that movies do not have the time for, but books do, allows for the creation of a more complex environment. In the case of the Harry Potter books, it was possible to develop an appreciation of the difficulties of learning magic and of the slow process of social interaction among a wide cast of characters. As a result, as one works their way through the books, characters develop more substance. What gets lost, glossed over, or just mentioned in passing in the movies, can be understood and appreciated when watched after having read the books. An essay can focus on the contrasts between understanding Harry Potter from the books versus watching the movies, without having read the books. This can be useful as a way of highlighting the importance of reading but also the difficulties of writing for the big screen.

    • I was just thinking about this topic. If you don't read the books but watch the movies, there is so a lot that feels like plot-holes if you don't know the context of it from the book. A lot of characters get thrown to the side or forgotten in the movies or mentioned in passing so quickly you might not even catch it. Great topic! – Zohal99 3 months ago
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    • A wonderful topic, especially in regards to Harry Potter. There is so much that gets swept under the rug that the Harry Potter movies remind me of a SparkNotes version of the books. – CarliStas 3 months ago
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    • Quite right you are, Zohal99. I was introduced to Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather by way of the film portrayal. I found it difficult to conceive that anything more could be said about the reality of such a family, Italian or otherwise. I then read the novel and was dumbfounded by what was amiss in the film. Granted, the real reason for Sonny's lady-in-waiting would garner an R rating here, nevertheless; each medium does what it can, how it can, when it can---I believe. – L:Freire 3 weeks ago
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