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Deconstructing YA Literature in "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl"

On the surface, Jesse Andrews’ debut novel "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl" (2012) might seem like another Young Adult novel with quirky teen characters and a bittersweet coming-of-age story. But is there more to the novel than meets the eye? Analyze how the characters comment and critique certain cliches found in YA literature and how it deconstructs this facet of the literary community.

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    What is the greatest obstacle for feminist writer?

    Analyze what themes and challenges a feminist writer might endure when creating fiction or nonfiction. How do they skillfully educate the masses while still creating a story to win over even the most misogynistic in society?

    • Great topic. I wonder if writing with a male nom de plume/pseudonym is still helpful. – Munjeera 2 weeks ago
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    • "Educate the masses" implies that feminism is always 'correct'. Perhaps in its core tenants, but the term has been somewhat co-opted today... I don't know if it's logically coherent to assume one's ideology is of ultimate educational authority? Like, perhaps from another's point of view the so-called masses need no education, and to them this is the ultimate truth. Point being: ideologies can never logically be 'true,' because morally-based (unscientific) truth is essentially subjective. – m-cubed 2 weeks ago
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    • m-cubed, you're misunderstanding the topic proposal if you think it is about saying one side is right. It is about educating people on a subject that they may not have otherwise been subjected to because of previous idealogical belief. Your words:"from another's point of view the so-called masses need no education, and to them this is the ultimate truth." Translation: Some people believe the acquisition of new knowledge or points of view is unimportant so therefore it should be. I simply disagree and I'd assume many people who write for this online magazine would too. Your comment makes the point as to why it needs to be written about.We can debate the philosophical meaning of truth all day and night, but the bottom line is feminism exists and is an important topic. It remains contemporaneous and relevant to many, many social movements today. Unsurprisingly, it has found its way into the literature we read. – JulieCMillay 2 weeks ago
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    • One of the major challenges is to present a plausible, or at least imaginable, alternative to patriarchy. I think Ursula Le Guin is a great example of a feminist writer who does just this in a way that is engaging and not preachy. – SFG 2 weeks ago
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    • I think it depends on how they identify: female, WOC, LGBTQIA+ and disabled feminist writers are often met with abuse/threats and ignorance... however, when a male (typically cisgender and white) feminist writer conveys similar messages, he isn't met with abuse (at least not to the extent she does), and is hailed as a champion of women's rights/the greater good. Watching that unfold can be daunting and prevent a feminist writer from wanting to publish their work. – stephameye 2 weeks ago
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    Taken by SFG (PM) 2 weeks ago.
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    Whitman and his Wit

    Speak to the impact Walt Whitman had on the poetry community and perhaps bring forth a discussion as to why he either does or does not remain relevant today in our fact-based, romance-lacking society.

    • Some clarification on what is meant here by "his Wit" would be nice. If you're using this term to discuss the use of humor/sharpness/jest in his poetry, then why does the below content of your topic make no reference to these traits? An argument can certainly be made that his wit has contributed to his continued relevance, but it would be nice to see that directly posited as a proper jumping-off point for the article. I get the appeal of wordplay, but it only works if you acknowledge its relation to the actual discussion at hand. Just my two cents. – ProtoCanon 2 weeks ago
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    Wuthering Heights is the best romance ever written

    Analyse and argue that Wuthering Heights is the most compelling romance ever written – and that this is the main genre of the book

    • Of course, the prose and the setting leaves one speechless and gasping for breath. In order to temper the endless barrage of language, I would incorporate Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet to anchor the theme and bring to bear modern takes on the love interest among toil and trouble with, for instance, Tess Trueheart of Dick Tracy lore. Just to stir the waters, a bit. – lofreire 3 weeks ago
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    • Might also help to establish audience validity and credulence by making references to Greek and Roman mythology (Aphrodite, Venus) on the perilous nature of love. Other considerations in the form of periphery substance; the literary work of Mary Shelley. Eager to the see the final product. – lofreire 3 weeks ago
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    • In between the old and the new points of reference mentioned above, I can see a segue onto relevant literary counterparts such as Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier, no? – lofreire 3 weeks ago
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    • essie,Is it the best romance ever written or is it just your favorite? While I certainly would like to hear why you're so passionate about the book, it does get a bit hard to claim that something is the best _______ when you can't be certain if others like it as such. I'm not trying to be one of these pests who say, "well, just because you like it that doesn't mean it's the best"; sometimes what you like IS the best thing out there. What you have to do, though, is make sure that there are enough people who back you up. As such, you'd have to read commentary on why the book is so popular, what does it have that other books don't, is the quality of the writing good, etc.Thanks for your time, August – August Merz 2 weeks ago
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    • I love Bronte's work. I would argue that Jane Eyre is also one of the best romances written. Maybe they can be compared? – birdienumnum17 2 weeks ago
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    • Can any other love story be taken into account? Seems very subjective – JulieCMillay 2 weeks ago
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    Lack of Mothers in Fairy Tales

    Cinderella, Snow White, Belle. These are just a few of the heroines from traditional fairy tales that lack a maternal figure. Most often, the mother is deceased and the heroine must navigate the world without her guidance. What is the significance of this maternal absence? How has the lack of a loving, nurturing mother in traditional fairy tales enabled the story to progress? Or has the lack of maternal figure hindered the development of the heroine?

    • This would actually be a really fascinating topic. I have often wondered about the meaning behind maternal figures in fairy tales and their significance in real life, both throughout history and today. The literary analysis of this character attribute can be discussed in much detail. – SophIsticated 4 weeks ago
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    • It also seems that the only time an older female exists in a traditional fairy tale is when they are an antagonist, such as "the evil stepmother" or "wicked witch" trope. Maybe this is pointing to the fact that at the time the tales were written, youth, beauty, and innocence was more desirable in woman, and championed as marks of a 'good' woman, as opposed to old age and life experience, which automatically made you 'evil', if you were a woman. – Yanni 3 weeks ago
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    • This is such a great topic! I've been wondering this for a while and especially as of late what with all the new adaptations of classic fairytales :) – ChloeB 3 weeks ago
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    • This is such an interesting idea! Maybe that the heroine and theoretical strong mother figure would conflict? – tarawesson 3 weeks ago
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    Taken by Samuel Burleigh (PM) 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 8 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 8 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 8 months ago
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    • Classics can be very Euro-centric. The more balanced approach of examining literature with classical themes would make a more relevant article. Such as looking at famous love stories, changing circumstances in life and qualities about human nature.I think it is worth giving this topic another analysis but framing it with classical world literature. – Munjeera 4 months ago
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    • I began my writing journey after several writing courses during college. I earned stellar commentary from my classmates and the professor. But, it wasn't until I started to revisit the writing of Shakespeare (which I dreaded in high school), the Greek myths (which always fascinated me), and science-fiction (H.G. Wells, Arthur C. Clarke) that my inner voice resurfaced. The best place to begin testing personal writing ability is in the poetry and narratives of the great ones. It is the proving grounds for the imminent author or the hesitant observer. – lofreire 4 months ago
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    • I think that the "classics" are classics for a reason, but the canon of classic literature mostly excludes women, people of colour, and non-European/American literature, which is a huge problem. It might be interesting to examine how the canon of classic literature is being (rightfully) challenged by scholars who are inserting frequently underrepresented narratives and texts back into literary history. So, yes, I think people should read classics that interest them, but prioritize expanding their horizons. – Kristen 3 months ago
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    Taken by ZekeAnthony (PM) 4 weeks ago.
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    Literature in the modern online social sphere

    How will the increasing move to online social worlds such as Facebook and Instagram influence the consumption and production of literature. Will the move from physical books to technological based formats change the way words and ideas influence us. Is the day of the long classic novels coming to an end? Is this move making written word more accessible to mass audiences. Will this inevitable cultural and technological shift be the dawning of a new age of literature, or the death of an ancient human practise?

    • Its clear the way we use them is evolving, I think it creates an opportunity for new techniques to be used by writers, like a painter discovering some new colours. Especially as a new realm of experiences to decipher and dramatise. – beekay 4 weeks ago
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    • I have read many books that have detailed futuristic worlds in which physical books are 'ancient, with yellowing pages and brittle spines' and wondered myself whether this vision of the future could, in fact, become truth, particularly with the creation of ebooks and the ever increasing ability to purchase texts online. – SophIsticated 4 weeks ago
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    Taken by Bod Jaman (PM) 3 weeks ago.
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    The Protagonists Of Murakami's Work

    The protagonists in Haruki Murakami’s works are usually simple, average individuals with routines are certain behavioral traits. In fact, the majority of his stories are built up around characters discussing their idle thoughts and activities to pass the time. By having these characters come across as "simple" and "average" we can understand their feelings with more depth as they are thrown into surreal, ridiculous situations. It can be said that, by making them "boring", we further sympathize and connect with them.

    • In a way, I don't see these average individuals as the protagonists though. They serve as the medium we see through, showing us a skewed characterisation of the true protagonist of his story. Eg. Sputnik Sweetheart = Sumire seen through 'K'; Norwegian Wood = Naoko and Midori seen through Toru; Wild Sheep Chase = Rat seen through and unnamed character. Each story has this average joe 'protagonist' that we can relate to yet instead of acting as a protagonist they serve as a sort of diegetic narrator. – Peneha 1 month ago
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    Taken by Peneha (PM) 1 month ago.