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Guilty Pleasures

What are we saying when we claim the book we are reading is a "guilty pleasure"? Why do we assume we should feel ashamed for our choice of literature? Are we presuming that all literature can be qualitatively measured? Why should we, even with a tongue-in-cheek intent, associate reading with guilt of any kind? It can be argued that when applied to food there can be at least metrics for what define "good" and "bad" (even if it amounts to the same thing: unnecessary and self-inflicted shame). Who are we assuming judges us for books that we think we should not be reading?

  • Actually a really interesting topic that spans literature and psychology. It would be interesting to also look at the division of categories - women vs men, different age groups, cultural divisions (for instance reading 'The Satanic Verses' in India is a very different 'guilty pleasure' to reading a Mills & Boons in America), even looking at the period changes as different popular culture texts have been adopted into mainstream society. – SaraiMW 1 day ago
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The beginnings of religious belief and science

Is there fine line where spiritual beliefs and the observable natural world can meet? Both are part of humanity and helps shape the world. There is an effect and many do not agree to have both combined or integrated. Religion may be in peoples blood and culture, based on the life that is build upon. It helps find meaning that people are not just organisms that evolve from an insect or a grain of sand. The science part of it brings the engineers of the physical world. Science helps people to learn about the world. Discovering that which can be observed and also build peoples lives by learning about every degree and inch of the universe. A higher power may have fine tuned the universe for human being to live here. After readings and studying there are scientists like Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawkins, Nicola Copernicus that after they reach the limit of their studies, they believe of a higher intelligent mind. At a religious belief some say it is within people, God. Research shows that humans naturally want to know everything, that’s is why people question the world. There is a fine line where most people question a higher power. The world is a beautiful place and people are part of it. The belief of a greater power keeps many people grounded. Many scientists wish to fly within the clouds searching for something that is staring right back. Others are humble even within their intelligent minds to believe that someone or something is guiding the world. This is an important topic that sustains a mind to go within the parameters of people’s existence. The universe is an amazing puzzle and people are the chess of the world.

  • Interesting and always relevant topic, but it might be too broad. Perhaps you could narrow it down, discussing certain fields or aspects of science and religion? – Stephanie M. 2 months ago
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  • Generally I would agree with Stephanie's comments, as your topic suggestion reads a little like a mini-article in itself. Nevertheless it's an topical suggestion for a topic (excuse the pun), considering how crazy the human world is right now. I'd be careful about the Anthropic principle angle though as the assumption that we live in a universe fine tuned for humans is very one-sided. We could, just as easily, have evolved and adapted to the universe as it is - we are, after all, a highly adaptable species. Good luck with your science and religion class. – Amyus 2 months ago
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  • Updated and made corrections. – rghtin2be 1 month ago
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Taken by Opaline (PM) 1 week ago.
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Is Learning Another Language a Waste of Time?

Some say that being able to speak another language allows you to process your native language better and increases memory. Others say that the existence of translators already, and the rise of artificial translators are making this knowledge redundant. Some that learning another language is a trivial hobby unless you intend to live in the country of the language they speak. Is it worth the time and brainpower? Should some languages be prioritized over others? What is the worth of a second language?

  • Absolutely not. In my experience, there is nothing more valuable than learning another language. According to the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis, the language influences your thoughts and cognitive processes. I know learning a second and third language has made me very aware of how the hypothesis can be true – pennypun 1 month ago
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  • The politics of language learning is all about lingua franca. It may be worth looking at how economics affect language learning, specifically ESL. – Munjeera 1 month ago
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  • Interesting thought, but I'm honestly not sure that in our global society, you're going to find a lot of people who eloquently argue that learning a second language is a waste of time. *However*, some ways of learning definitely work better than others, and I can see discussing and comparing those. – Stephanie M. 3 weeks ago
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  • There is a saying, which I paraphrase here: "To understand a man you must walk a mile in his shoes". Much the same can be said about learning another language for it acts as a gateway into another culture as well helping to develop one's own cognitive capacity. For me, the sheer delight of being able to watch a film in its native language and catch those nuances of speech so often excised by clumsy subtitles or mangled by a poor quality dub, is beyond comparison. – Amyus 4 days ago
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Adrienne Kennedy's "Funnyhouse of a Negro" and the Importance of Absurdist Theater

Analyse the usage of absurdist elements in Adrienne Kennedy’s "Funnyhouse of a Negro" and how they functioned in the course of the play.

  • I would add for whoever picks this up to analyze the "importance" of the use of absurdist theatre in Funnyhouse rather than just "analyze" it. There is a very specific political reason African American theatre of this time, utilizes absurdism. Whoever writes this will likely need to provide background on absurdism, the Black Arts Movement and Kennedy's relationship with that movment. Also taking a look at Kennedy's other works provides insights into how she specifically uses it. Looking forward to reading this. I hope someone picks this up. – Christen Mandracchia 3 weeks ago
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The Depiction of Alternative Subcultures in Literature

In literature, stereotypes of alternative subcultures are rampant. Analyse the possible bases for such stereotypical depictions.

  • Oh, the potential! I love analyzing subcultures and the controversy they create. I think for others reading your topic, you should give them a little more detail. Unless you intentionally left this introduction vague. In that case, I understand. – Emily 3 weeks ago
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The Debate of Diagnosis in "I Never Promised You a Rose Garden"

In Joanne Greensberg’s "I Never Promised You a Rose Garden", the protagonist, who is based on Greensberg, is diagnosed with schizophrenia. However, in a 1981 New York Times article, two psychiatrists challenge this diagnosis using the diagnosis criteria in the DSM-3. Using the DSM-5’s diagnosis criteria, can it be argued that the protagonist suffers from schizophrenia?

  • I love Joanne Greenberg's work. I am so unqualified to write this topic but my fingers are crossed someone is ready to get their hands dirty in research. This has the potential to be a major analysis which could bring up other literature characters and the way mental illness is represented. However, if you were hoping to solely focus on Greenberg's novel, I think who writes this topic should include the film adaptation and speak on how it helps or hurts the diagnosis. – Emily 3 weeks ago
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  • I think the first point of research would be comparing the DSM-3 and DSM 5's diagnosis criteria for schizophrenia to the criteria used when Greenberg's protagonist was institutionalized in the late 1940's. – EvelynBlack1994 3 weeks ago
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The Great Gatsby: The Death of the American Dream

There are many ways in which Jay Gatsby is portrayed as the physical embodiment of the American Dream, is his death Fitzgerald’s way of criticising the changing idea of the American Dream, or its delusion/reality or the changing of American values in some way?

  • This is a good topic, but it is also an incredibly overdone topic - this is in fact the basis of final year high school essays the world over. However, that said it does not diminish the fact that this topic is one that continues to resonate. The idea of the death of the American Dream has been going on since the 20s. I think a more pertinent question at this point would be to ask is the American Dream actually dead? If so why is it still at the heart of so much popular culture? – SaraiMW 2 months ago
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The Potential of Classic Parodies -- Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, a book and now a film parodying Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, playfully recycles Elizabeth Bennet’s story into a quirky — perhaps campy — tale that is more digestible for wide audiences. The parody references famous lines and scenes from the original, humoring those who have read and adored the book. Additionally, it opens up the less accessible media of ‘classic novel’ to a 21st century audience, hopefully piquing their interest in something they would never have considered before. Books like "Texts from Jane Eyre" and others rehash the favorite characters of English majors, but perhaps also open up older literature to young people only attracted to the young adult fiction section.

Are these tactics effective to opening up classics to a new generation? What is the effect of adding zombies to a story such as Pride and Prejudice? How do well-read critics of classics take to these parodies?

  • On the flipside the writer could also talk about taking more contemporary work and making it seem classic like how they wrote Star Wars like a Shakespeare play. – Jaye Freeland 2 years ago
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  • It could lead to some interest, but it would be uncertain whether these zombie version of classics would lead to reading the original. I think it depends on whether these parodies emphasize the theme or strengths of the classics or simply have fun by writing zombie stories in unlikely setting. – idleric 2 years ago
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  • What a fun topic! I know that my teenage sisters were prompted to read the original P&P after the release of P&P&Z. One might address how people love to "get it;" these new parody books are not only entertaining on their own, but might lead to reading the original just so that one "gets" the parody. – sophiacatherine 2 years ago
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  • Literary webseries are less quirky but seem to share the goal of getting younger people interested in older stories. I have little interest in reading classics like Pride & Prejudice, Emma, and Mansfield Park, but I feel like I know and enjoy the stories of those classics because of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, Emma Approved, and From Mansfield with Love. Shakespearean adaptations like Nothing Much To Do and Shakes: The Town's the Thing do the same thing: the bard's timeless stories in plain, modern English. Perhaps this is a little outside the scope of this topic, or perhaps P&P&Z isn't quite broad enough and a writers needs some more more material to flesh out an article (no pun intended). – noahspud 1 year ago
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