Analyze and compare the various stories of creation through various parts of the world. The stories examined will include Genesis, Aztec Mythology , Norse Mythology, Greek Mythology, Eastern Mythology, African Mythologies, et cetera. Specifically how are they similar? How do they differ? What sort of message do they impart?
This is a very interesting topic that would involve a lot of scholarly research! This could be an extensive article so perhaps picking three to four mythologies would allow the most room for detailed research and reflection. – Scharina6 months ago
I agree that is might be good to narrow it a bit. For example, comparing the flood in Gilgamesh to Moses with the Great Flood of Gun-Yu.Instead of contrasting several of these religions, could one perhaps write it on the religious commonalities? – ruegrey6 months ago
This does need narrowing, but I don't blame you for wanting to explore every possible religion and mythology. Perhaps exploring in subgroups might help? An example might be monotheistic creation stories vs. polytheistic, or Middle Eastern (Torah, Bible, Koran) vs. European or African? – Stephanie M.2 months ago
Perhaps the focus could be created in one of the following ways: 1) focus on historical influence, e.g. how the Babylonian creation story influenced at least one of the Biblical creation stories; 2) thematic focus with a Nietzschean twist, e.g. how is creation achieved in creation stories, and for what purposes? Who benefits from the creative acts and who gets excluded? Whose agendas are asserted? "Cut bono?" Who benefits? 3) focus on narrative purpose: why do we tell creation stories? W hat purposes do we aim at in telling them when there are so many other kinds of stories we can tell? At what point in our story-telling cycles (sacred or not) do we reach for stories of creation? For instance, the Jewish people may have finalized their version of the creation story when they found their story in competition with the Babylonian version, and the Jewish people wanted to show their god was superior by showing their god cared more. 4) focus on relationship between creation "entities" and representatives of fate.I'm sure this will be a fun topic to delve into. – gitte1 month ago
Suzanne Collins’ newest book, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, a prequel to The Hunger Games trilogy, is set to release May 19th, 2020. This prompts the question: What benefits do prequels provide for a story? The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes supposedly takes place in Panem 64 years before the original trilogy. By backtracking, not only do audiences lose favorite and well known characters, but any world-building that existed needs to be restructured and changed. On the other hand, it does provide significant details to the history, as well as the opportunity to flesh out backstories. Collins isn’t the only author to do this; J. K. Rowling wrote the Harry Potter series, and then Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, going back 70 years in her timeline. So, analyze the potential benefits and possible drawbacks to prequels for beloved novel series.
I think this is a great topic for modern books and films, which have seemed to embrace the prequel. – Sean Gadus4 months ago
Good topic! I'm very into well-drawn characters, so I'd say it depends on how strong your characters are and how relatable their journeys are. I haven't read The Hunger Games yet, but for an example, I can tell you Newt Scamander is a great protagonist. Also, he's one of those rare characters who manages to be a cinnamon roll without being insufferable. – Stephanie M.2 months ago
Just read the Ballad of the Snake and The Songbird and I absolutely loved it. Tracing the history of the hunger games was intriguing and it was great delving into the experience of being part of the Capitol during and after the war! – Sean Gadus2 months ago
Between Melville’s description of the color white as one of unsettling nothingness and the meticulous description of whales/whaling that can border on the obsessive (which could mirror Ahab’s mindset), Moby Dick sports a kind of thematic link that emphasizes humankind’s grappling with that which they either can’t/won’t understand or are willing to study if it means being better able to control the unknown. Have any of you gotten the impression that Ahab—in his single-mindedness—stands as a metaphor of sorts for the individual who not only dreads the strange, but also seeks to annihilate/tame it?
When some think English classes, one might think of novels such as: To Kill a Mockingbird, The Great Gatsby, Of Mice and Men, Lord of the Flies, Hamlet, etc. What importance do novels like these hold in literature? Why might some be considered the building blocks of English? Analyze the importance of classic novels in English courses and why they are still relevant in today’s classes.
I think this is a very interesting question and engaging question. One topic of it would be work investigating is the idea of Canonicity. it is related to the different purposes of reading, why things are considered important or significant works, and why we teach certain things in classes.A big takeaway of Canonicity is that there isn't just one reason we read a group of works and there are different important works depending on who you ask this question and the reasons behind reading.This might be an area to explore related to the reading of classic novels in English class – SeanGadus4 years ago
Great topic, and truly relevant given today's educational system. I work at a large university and find that students are ill prepared in both writing and their backgrounds in literature. Pretty much all of the books you mentioned were things I read in high school. We talked about character development, plot lines, and other relevant themes within them. Nowadays, it seems as if most English classes are centered around blogging and social media and not the perpetuation of great literature. – NoDakJack4 years ago
In my English classes, we did read the classics; however, there was also a focus on reading material written by authors other than white men. Because of this, we supplemented the classics with more modern, yet still popular works, such as The Kite Runner. It would be interesting to show both the benefits and possible drawbacks of the classics, as there is a great benefit from reading material written by authors who are not white men. – rosacan4 years ago
Beautiful topic. I've been a bookworm practically since toddlerhood and declared my major in English as early as I could get away with, so I definitely think there are "building blocks" of English lit that students should read. They are still relevant, and they should be considered building blocks. My thought, however, is that the canon may be evolving. That is, I wonder if we're focusing on building blocks too much, or if some books have been read so often that students and teachers feel they are "done to death." I'd be interested in an author who looks at some of these classics and then tries to decide which ones the canon should "keep," and which might be traded in for more modern books in middle, high school, and college classes. For instance, should we give Hamlet a break and study a lesser-known play such as A Winter's Tale? Should we toss out Of Mice and Men in favor of a contemporary book with a contemporary understanding of cognitive disabilities? The list goes on... – Stephanie M.4 years ago
This would be a great read, and if I could suggest another avenue, look into The Decline of the English Dept. by William Chase. Really delves deep into the humanities and how English is the basis of most avenues of learning – sophiebernard1 year ago
In my experience, classic novels are usually really easy to analyse. They’re usually filled with techniques, symbols, motifs, allegory, the themes are usually obvious. While the content may be problematic, they’re often useful for teaching students how to approach texts because they’re so accessible in that way. – Samantha Leersen2 months ago
I think this article would make for a swell addition to the website, especially if it tackles the Western canon and the parallels of those works included under the high art umbrella. Generally speaking, classic English-language novels such as Dubliners, Blood Meridian, Moby-Dick, and Heart of Darkness tend to delve into and expose the human condition via plot, setting, and character. All of these combine to craft a thematic arc and consensus that conveys the work's tone and atmosphere. – Michel Sabbagh2 months ago
Adaptations of Lovecraft’s tales are, of course, rife in modern society. Just last year, the film adaptation of Color Out of Space (2019), attempted to visually recreate the cosmic horror of the original text. However, when the original story made it very explicit that the ‘color’ is indescribable by human standards, is it faithful to attempt to visually represent it and, more generally, can any visual adaptation of Lovecraft’s work be truly faithful?
R.K. Narayan’s Malgudi, Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha County, and of course, L. Frank Baum’s enchanting Oz. These fictional places imagined by prolific writers possess great character, and ultimately reflect the author’s mindset, intention and desires. A greater understanding of each of these places is pieced together bit by bit through every engaging story written, and eventually come to represent different things in the ways that they are perceived by us, the readers. Interesting questions to perhaps ask would then be: what was the intention of the author in creating such an intricate or elaborate world (all three are depicted beautifully drawn maps) and how did people perceive such fictional towns at the time, as well as what these towns eventually came to represent.
I love this. It'd be great to add Harry Potter and The Hobbit/LOTR into the mix! – Jaye Freeland5 years ago
I would also add, for Latin-American literature, Garcia Marquez' Macondo and Onetti's Santa María. It's quite a wide topic once you are familiar with it; and very interesting. – Felipe Mancheno5 years ago
Kudos to you for including Malgudi in your thesis statement. Few other places which the potential article writer can write about include Narnia and Panem. Even settings like Gotham can be potentially added into the mix and touched upon. – Dr. Vishnu Unnithan3 months ago
Yes! I'm so happy to see this take because I consider the benchmark of truly incredible storytelling to be not in the characters, but in the world of the story. To make the world of the story feel lush and full of promise, when it is the characters that drive the focus of the story, takes a masterful command of detail and writing. Also, it is in creating such a strong sense of place that it offers up opportunities for greater storytelling; franchises like Harry Potter and Star Wars immediately come to mind, but there are more I'm sure. I particularly love that you've noted L. Frank Baum's Oz because, having recently directed a stage production of the musical adaptation, I found myself mind-boggled at the sheer biodiversity alone found within Oz -- there are corn fields, forests, cities, towns, jungles (if we are to believe that tigers and bears exist alongside The Cowardly Lion)...and those are just the parts we've seen! I would love for someone to make a map of Oz that delves deeper into its composition. – aeqbal2 months ago
Oh, you have to include Narnia, Panem, and/or Hogwarts. And can I suggest (PLEASE) that you add Storybrooke, Maine? – Stephanie M.2 months ago
How do famous works of existential philosophy: particularly those published in the late 19th/early 20th century fit into the role of human extant today? Specifically to the younger generations that are experiencing a deep uncertainty and fear towards the future? This can be drawn from works by Hermann Hesse, Nietzsche, Camus, Sartre, etc.
This is an interesting topic. I do think history repeats itself and that there is a lot to learn from philosophy. Also, learning from how humanity survived other hardships and catastrophes is a good thing for people today as well. – birdienumnum175 months ago
I also hope someone will write about this topic. But to me, the more interesting perspective is how older people feel about their value and relation to the society given that the pandemic hits them the hardest and there is a growing sense that we may scarify the old and weak so that we can reopen the society for younger people, who are eager to work and socialize. – ctshng5 months ago
"Existential" a word which I remember being confined to a more narrow understanding of specific writers, such as Camus or Nietezche, has now seemed to touch many things. As part of an essay addressing existentialism should be how it has been adapted and seems to pop up everywhere. – Joseph Cernik2 months ago
Throughout history, many stories have featured characters who are depicted as being "too good for this sinful earth" and therefore dying young. Charles Dickens, for instance, wrote many such characters into his stories; and Uncle Tom’s Cabin also depicts its most famous characters in this way. Such an idea, of course, has explicitly religious connotations, with the idea being that the character is so pure that they belong in heaven and not on earth. Do such characters still exist in modern, secular media? If so, what are some examples? How can a story that lacks a religious bent portray a character as too good for the world (if indeed it’s possible)?
Oh yeah, they exist. A lot of times, they're disabled, which smacks of ableism (or they have cancer, which is not the same thing but is in the neighborhood). A lot of Christian-based movies have these, and what's interesting is that the characters come across as too good for earth even if they ultimately survive (inspiration porn). But sometimes you'll find them in non-religious literature, too. The key is, "too good for this sinful earth" in itself implies the character has some kind of faith or at least a belief in heaven, so there is some overlap. – Stephanie M.3 months ago
This is an interesting topic! I immediately thought of "Clarissa" by Samuel Richardson as one of "too good for this sinful earth" protagonists. I don't think such characters are as popular in modern media anymore because of how people's tastes and social ideals have changed, at least, that is true in most western movies/tv shows. There isn't any purely "good" character anymore and I think we mostly veer towards portraying characters as more human and flawed. But maybe that in itself could be an interesting direction to take for this topic. – Kheya2 months ago