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Characters who fall in love with versions of themselves

In some stories, the main character’s love interest seems designed to be an almost perfect mirror image of themselves. These characters’ lovers share their same personalities, tastes, and motivations, and might even look something like them. "The Umbrella Academy" is one notable show that does this. So far both seasons feature a central character falling in love with someone who is almost exactly like themselves (Vanya in Season 1 and Diego in Season 2). What are some other examples of this trope? How popular is this phenomenon in fiction and what factors contribute to it?

  • See the story of Narcissus (Ancient Greek figure who falls in love with her own reflection). – J.D. Jankowski 8 hours ago
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  • There is also a hilarious 30 Rock episode about this concept. They discussed the concept of dating yourself is a "double edged sword" where as your weaknesses as a person are the weaknesses of your partner. 30 Rock: Season 5, Episode 14 – Sean Gadus 7 hours ago
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Mrs. America: Feminism Means What

Mrs. America (9 episodes on Hulu) has been praised for both the quality of the acting as well as the storyline. The series has addressed what can be described as focused on two different women’s movements: The movement that pushed for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and the movement that fought against it, led by Phyllis Schlafly and which centered on what can be seen as a culture war.
Gloria Steinem was overly critical of the series, seeing it as too focused on Schlafly and not centered on what she saw as the real opposition to the ERA which was the insurance industry as well as other economics organizations.
A writer deciding to address this topic should: 1) focus on the these two different women’s movements and how they interact as well as clash; 2) address where Schlafly should actually be placed in ranking her as a factor in contributing to preventing the passage of the ERA, and; 3) What does this series say about how we should look at what these opposing women’s movements have meant to contemporary America and to women specifically.

  • I think there's real value here in illustrating the ways in which the discussion surrounding feminism pits women against each other, by dividing them into "good" feminists and "bad" anti-feminists (or the other way around). It always struck me as a breeding ground for attacks on women, and that would be extremely dangerous. – Debs 3 days ago
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  • After seeing the Mrs. America series, and Gloria Steinem's autobiography turned into a movie (with Julianne Moore), I think one aspect of such an essay can be highlighting Steinem and Schlafly, two media personalities but quite different from each other with different goals in mind. Odd to consider that what began as what might be seen as a feminism movement (if that term is correct) with certain goals, should see a counter-movement arise. Is it possible to bridge the two in some way? Are there issues that they may have in common? Mrs. America did not present Schlafly in anything but a manipulative way, but it also seemed to present the supporters of ERA as ignoring the forces behind Schlafly, which, I think, was a wrong thing to do. In the series there is a moment where a friend and supporter of Schlafly's (Sarah Paulson) raises the issue of finding something in common and then it is just gone. – Joseph Cernik 3 days ago
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The Possibilities of Narrative

The problem of representation has persisted since antiquity. Literature had long opposed the writer’s ability to tell a story on one side, and to represent reality accurately on the other. The twentieth century has shown that both are concurrently achievable and modern literature, in particular the novel, is the product of the confluence of these two ideas.

An essay that explored how narrative has developed the capacity overcome this binary and to both tell a story and represent our experiences of reality would be a poignant contribution.

This is particularly pertinent in a cultural climate that continues to move away from homogenous conceptualisations of existence. In a cultural climate where language continues to lose authority it would be interesting to explore how language can adapt (as it always has) to overcome the severe destabilisation of what is (I use the term hesitantly) a Post-Truth world.

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    Riddley Walker: The Myths and Sense of Self-Denial Humankind Perpetuates In The Face Of Discovery And Change

    From the use of mythical stories to drive groupthink regarding the leveraging of forbidden knowledge, to the characters’ struggle with suppressing their innate desire for progress of any kind, Riddley Walker minced no words when it came to exposing humankind’s willingness to live in ignorance of their past and inner selves, with the lead character exploring and trying to make sense of a post-apocalyptic England instead of staying put in his settlement and abiding by orthodoxy.

    An article on Riddley Walker would break down the through-line that guides the book. That through-line being how humankind can falsely equate knowledge (i.e. the insight one possesses) with wisdom (i.e. how one uses the insight they possess in their interest and that of society), and how the devastating consequences of such an equation can drive folks to fence themselves in instead of trying to discover and use knowledge more carefully. The article could also take a look at one of the novel’s foremost inspirations—St. Eustace and the Legend that epitomizes the Christian martyr—and detail the ways in which said inspiration contextualizes the novel’s backstory.

    The main line of inquiry to be pursued could be as follows: How should one keep up with the inner drive to seek and implement knowledge without getting ahead of themselves? Should one fully trust fate to guide them on the path to knowledge, even if taking said path can potentially mean running afoul of one’s community and repeating the mistakes of the past?

    • What an exciting topic!In hindsight - trusting fate fully is both a blessing and a curse! I think eventually, after a certain number of what I call 'initiations', seekers learn to navigate and pace themselves through the labyrinths of experience, more easily done by surrendering control. Yes you will run afoul of one's community as it's an essential stage of the journey ;)...Ah but...the more I know the less I know. It's quite the paradox. Do we use knowledge or does knowledge use us? I have a theory about that. – RozeeCutrone 4 days ago
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    Ratched

    Ratched is a recent popular Netflix original series which is an adaptation based solely on the characterisation of the antagonist within Ken Kesey’s 1962 novel, "One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest". The questions that I pose is:

    1.How does screen adaptation archive success when not closely following the source material?

    2.An in-depth analysis of the mise-en-scene.

    3.What does this series say about the representation of women having power?

    (You can write about all, or focus on a section)

    • You have in essence a fan fiction. One way to address this is look at past equivalent success. See The Æneid. – J.D. Jankowski 2 weeks ago
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    • I think this topic can be incredibly interesting, and I actually like it! – RheaRG 7 days ago
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    The Crown and The Future King of the United Kingdom

    The Crown (Netflix) is in its fourth season. With the fourth season, more modern era events are addressed. The courtship between Charles and Diana (what there is of it) is addressed, as well as his inability to move on from Camilla (who now is his wife). At some point Charles will become the King of the United Kingdom, unless he decides to pass on it and, his son, William takes the crown. British tabloids have questioned whether Charles will, in fact, become King. How will the Netflix series play into the public perception of Charles? A poll that was conducted in 2018, said that only 36 percent of the British thought Charles was a positive force to benefit the monarchy. In 2014, a similar poll was conducted, and, at that time, 60 percent saw Charles as a positive force. Charles and Camilla married in 2005 so the 2014 poll was several years after they were married. The fourth season of The Crown does not make Charles look like anything but a person with emotional issues—not mental problems, just removed from showing a caring and emotional side. But, for the matter, each of the four children of Queen Elizabeth II do not come across well in the fourth season. Someone who decides to write on this topic should address how the British public comes to understand the monarchy through this series and whether the series can have some impact on how real-life figures are seen and judged. It may be too much to expect that the series can play into any decision regarding Charles or William becoming King, but a writer can speculate.

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    Music video films

    When music videos were introduced, they were merely another form of consuming songs. Music is capable of telling a story just as a film can, and both media involve time (a linear progression from beginning to end) as central to their stories. Artists like Daft Punk and Fall Out Boy, however, have demonstrated the coalescence of music and video to an extreme conclusion. Songs do not have to follow a specific concept or recurring cast of characters-like a concept album would-but the two groups’ music videos demonstrate the power to have all the songs on an album tell a story. Those self-contained story parts within music videos can then be released as a single feature-length film.

    Analyse the function of the music video as a storytelling medium, using Daft Punk’s ‘Interstella 5555’ (based on the album ‘Discovery’) and Fall Out Boy’s ‘The Youngblood Chronicles’ (based on ‘Save Rock and Roll’), along with any other examples of films constructed from individual music videos you might be able to think of.

    • You could also look at Kpop videos like 1NB's "Stalker," where the song doesn't even start until halfway through the video. – OkaNaimo0819 1 week ago
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    Nuns in Horror Movies

    Nuns appear as antagonists in many horror films, from The Nun to The Conjuring 2. What’s the fascination with them? What are the possible connotations/themes? Horror-themed TV series (e.g. American Horror Story) and video games with nuns can also be discussed, but the focus should be primarily on films.

    • I am not sure how helpful this will be, but in Matthew Lewis’ The Monk (an eighteenth century horror gothic novel), there is a horror figure known as the ‘Bleeding Nun’. She was basically a symbol for female sexual transgression. I think the idea relates to the nun being an allegedly ‘pure’ or ‘innocent’ woman. Thus, it’s ‘scary’ (or, for societies in the past who were afraid of giving women power, it was scary) to see a nun that is not pure or innocent. – Samantha Leersen 4 weeks ago
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    • I do agree with Samantha Leersen to some extent, since the nun is considered to be a manifestation of the Loving Mother archetype which when subverted gives us the Chaotic Mother who is embodied in many of the subversive feminine tropes. However, the subversion of the Great Father is the Tyrant Father whose embodiment inspires hatred as opposed to fear (like the Archdeacon in The Hunchback of Notre Dame). I can think of the Church in AOT etc. – RedFlame2000 4 weeks ago
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    • i think the sense of horror comes from a nun, typically associated with purity and innocence, doing out-of-character things. you could explore that. – BLOOPINBLOOPZ 2 weeks ago
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    Narrative Distance in Life Writing

    Life writing (memoirs, essays, autobiographies and biographies, auto-theory, etc.) is inherently personal in nature. These writings focus on personal stories that can be confronting for the reader to read, AND for the writer to write. They intend to communicate some form of personal, human truth.

    But what role does narrative distance play in these works? Does life writing have to be first-person perspective that recounts events exactly as they transpired? Or, can a writer distance themselves from the writing and still achieve the same intimacy of life writing?

    A range of texts could be discussed here; texts that approach life writing very differently.

    Some examples could include clear-cut autobiographies written in the first-person (of which there are many), or works of fiction where a made-up character represents a real person (semi-autobiographical works, like Jane Eyre or Frost in May). A more out-there example could be cook books — these often express personal stories under the guise of recipes. Travel writing, too, can often be an inadvertent style of writing about the self whilst maintaining some narrative distance.

    • Good topic! If I may, The Essays, of Michel de Montaigne could, perhaps, be a relevant example. Indeed, the goal of Montaigne was to depict himself in such a way every reader could find a bit of himself through the pages. In the preface, he wrote: “I am myself the matter of this book […] Every man has within himself the entire human condition”. Montaigne, under the cover of an autobiographical work, tackles, however, many subjects, whether it is social analysis ("Of Cannibals", for instance) or philosophical thoughts, through references to many ancient thinkers. The fact that it is a rather old book (1570-1592) and a French one, may also stress another aspect of narrative distance. – Gavroche 2 weeks ago
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    Do Culturally Sensitive Notices at the Beginning of Certain Movies Matter?

    In June 2020, HBO removed Gone With The Wind (1939) from its films available to be shown. A spokesman stated, “[The film was] a product of its time and depicts some of the ethnic and racial prejudices that have, unfortunately, been commonplace in American society." Two weeks after it was removed, HBO brought it back with two video clips that address the stereotypes of slaves depicted in the film and how the film downplays the horrors of slavery.

    On the Disney network, the movie, Mr. Magoo (1997) contains a statement, before the movie begins that partially states, “This program includes negative depictions and/or mistreatment of people or cultures.” Do these videos or statements matter and in what ways?

    The Birth of a Nation (1915), a silent film originally called The Clansman, depicts the Ku Klux Klan in heroic ways. The film is available for sale on Amazon but not found online easily if at all. Somewhere there seems to be a line that can and cannot be crossed. A warning label allows one film to be shown online but is not sufficient for another.
    Addressing culturally insensitive and disturbing issues in movies from previous eras will, no doubt, be an ongoing issue for years to come. Someone choosing to write this essay can address these issues and even might speculate about if or which current films might need warning labels and why. It may be difficult to be completely free of grievance by some group that feels a film has offended them in some way. Is cultural sensitivity in films a goal that can be completely achieved? Several questions and issues are raised in this proposed topic and an essay can address them.

    • I personally have mixed feelings about the warning labels and removal of films. As a black man, I'm used to seeing racist depictions of people of color. And I don't believe removing these movies fixes the situation. I believe having an actual discusion about what is being shown is far more important than censoring. Censoring doesn't change the fact that the people who made these movies or see nothing wrong with them still hold these ideas.While adding the caption at the begining of the movies does help (Toon heads a cartoon anthology series on did something similar in the late 1990's for early merry melodies cartoons) I still think more should be done. It's a very difficult conversation to be had, as where the line should be drawn is difficult to determine.More recently, people have been critcizing Quinton Tarrintino for some of his more questionable decisions on how he depicts race in films. People Like Samuel L. Jackson have defend him, but that doesn't mean Tarritino hasn't made a mistake in his depiction.But I think this is a good topic for who ever wants to write on it. Believe looking into director's intent is the key to determing what should be done with certain films as films like The Birth of a Nation were often used to recruit members into the KKK. Not only that but they actively demonized black men and women. Simultaneously, other filmmakers like Tarrintino despite being accused of racism often sought to depict racism and social divide realisticly or mock it. How succesful he was is up for debate. – Blackcat130 2 weeks ago
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    • Warner Bros. disclaimer (I'm not sure which films they apply to) states that they have chosen to continue showing the films, despite their outdated depictions, because they believe simply not showing the films would be to pretend the prejudice never happened. So in some way, cultural sensitivity warnings can serve as a tool of accountability for the filmmaker, to acknowledge they have made offensive content in the past. This could potentially form an interesting point of discussion. – Samantha Leersen 2 weeks ago
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    • Its quite the difficult question. On the one hand movies are products of the historical process and the prejudices reflected in the movies are often present even in contemporary society, but on the other I feel that movies like The Birth of A Nation and The Triumph of the Will have aesthetic value. That being said, anything other than censorship is preferable as a method of engaging with these issues. – Sathyajith Shaji Manthanth 2 weeks ago
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    The Military in Anime

    Japan has an ambivalent relationship with the military with the necessity of militarisation due to its proximity to hostile powers and trying to master its dark militaristic past as a colonial power.Many popular anime such as Full Metal Alchemist and Code Geass depict the military as either conspiratorial or incompetent continuing in the tradition of Miyazaki’s movies . On the other hand we have series such as GATE and Star Blazers which are filled to the brim with military characters who are fighting the good fight. Analyse the accuracy of the military tactics, strategy and organizational structure in anime. Does this accuracy increase or decrease with the military’s position in D&D Alignment Axis ?

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      Star Trek's Interconnected History

      For someone choosing to write an essay on this topic, the issue of interconnected history, binding the seven Star Trek TV shows (the Original, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, Enterprise, Discovery, Picard) together, presents an interesting way of discussing a narrative that connects the shows and keeps interest in previous Star Trek series alive.
      For example, in the Original, “The Menagerie” episodes (parts 1 and 2 in Season 1) former Enterprise Captain Christopher Pike (Jeffrey Hunter) is brought to Talos IV where he will be re-united with Vina (Susan Oliver). In Discovery, the “If Memory Serves” episode (Season 2), Captain Christopher Pike (Anson Mount) visits Talos IV and meets Vina (Melissa George). Furthermore, in Picard (Season 1) in the “The End is the Beginning” episode, Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart), when visiting a Borg ship that was disconnected from the hive, is referred to as Locutus. In The Next Generation (Season 3) in the “The Best of Both Worlds” episode (Part 1) Picard is transformed into Locutus.
      Star Trek’s interconnected history presents a fascinating way of writing about the depth of created history that now runs back through five decades of a television series. As a result of a half century of television shows, there are storylines from the Star Trek series that are known to several generations of TV viewers. That much TV history has made so much of Star Trek part of American Culture.

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        The Politics of the Shire

        The author of the Lord of the Rings JRR Tolkien was a traditionalist conservative shaped by both his Catholic beliefs as well as the Anglo-American tradition of conservatism, often traced back to Edmund Burke. Analyze the impacts of his worldview on the polities of the Free Peoples in general and the Shire in particular. A focus on the traditional order of the Shire and its transformation into a planned economy under "Sharkey" would be a good starting point for an article.

        • I've always found the Shire a fascinating place. Tolkien's image of a lush, peaceful, and unmechanized countryside is very fitting for his story, where the industry/mechanization of war threatens much of middle-earth . It also benefit to look at Tolkien's own experience in WW1 at the brutal Battle of the Somme. Tolkien had a brutal/horrible experience, confronting the terrors of modern mechanized warfare. – Sean Gadus 3 weeks ago
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        A Canticle For Leibowitz: The Cycles Of Unearthing And Using Knowledge That Can Enhance and Undo Civilization

        Between the sense of historical recurrence that ends in nuclear annihilation, and the preservation of knowledge in a world initially hostile to education, A Canticle for Leibowitz looked at the issue of the human mentality never easily catching up with rapidly evolving technology or understanding its proper use, the Catholic Church acting as a gatekeeper for knowledge that can prove dangerous in the wrong hands. Especially those of states bearing the same ambition and sense of tribalism that destroyed civilization beforehand.

        An article on this topic would take a look at how A Canticle for Leibowitz tackles humankind’s relationship with knowledge, particularly sizable discoveries such as electricity and atomic energy. This topic could also explore backstory events such as the Simplification that saw the persecution of the literate and how this ingrained culture of mass ignorance resulted in the rising state forgetting the mistakes of the past and heading toward the same nuclear conclusion that undid the Earth in the first place.

        The primary line of inquiry to be pursued could be the following: How should we handle knowledge that can both (re)build and destroy life, particularly when we’re aware of how it was wrongly employed beforehand?

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          How are fairy tales ingrained in our culture today

          There has been many fairytales that have been written throughout the decades. One particular fairytale (little red riding hood) has taught us certain lessons and meanings about society. Explore how these meanings and teachings have changed within the 20th century.

          • Another thing to keep in mind is that "Cinderella" can mean any of a wide range of things. Over the centuries there have been many, many versions of Cinderella-type stories, in many different cultures. For instance, in Scotland there's the fairy tale of Rashin-Coatie, and certain Native American tribes have the tale of the Rough-Faced Girl (or something similar). So, there isn't really a single "traditional" version of Cinderella. – Debs 1 year ago
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          • This seems very interesting. While we might not be teaching children these tales anymore directly, the ideals and overall message are still strong to this day. – Aliadwan02 4 weeks ago
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          Explore the emotional responses within the film American History X

          American History X can be considered to be shocking on many levels, as visually and psychologically it deals with issues and themes that cover a variety of emotional responses to shock such as:

          Visceral – shock created through disturbing imagery (gore, body trauma).

          Sexual – sexually disturbing actions that are seen as taboo (rape, rawness).

          Ideological – messages and ideas that are not socially accepted and go against mainstream values.

          Emotional – Shock that is unexpected and evokes a powerful emotional response.

          Explore one of these themes that explores an emotional response.

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            Explore the emotional response within the film The Green Mile

            Emotional response refers to the way that the film spectator is manipulated by the micro and macro features of film; this process of manipulation is often designed to draw an emotional response from the spectator. There are many factors that influence the way in which we respond to popular film, viewing context, emotional tolerance and powerful film making techniques all influence our emotional response to popular film.

            Look at the themes of character alignment and emotional response, cognitive theory and audience manipluation, alternative viewing context that are used within the film.

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              What We Can Learn from Time Travel Shows

              While time travel works are entertaining and interesting, one would still wonder what the audience can learn from these kinds of shows. The idea of going back in time or travelling to the future is appealing to humans because they know they can control time with this power, i.e. the forced events brought upon by the universe. Yet, we know that time travel is practically impossible and even if it were, it would be extremely dangerous as it messes with the forces of nature. Thus, what is the purpose of creating stories that portray the possibility of such a phenomenon? works including "The Time Machine," "Doctor Who," "Back to the Future," "Steins;Gate," "Life Is Strange," etc. can be mentioned to illustrate with examples.

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                10 Disney Characters that deserve their own spin off

                There are many characters within film where we think to ourselves I wonder what would happen if they were the lead. I think this everytime I watch a classic Disney film. Many of the characters backgrounds / life within the films are left out, so we don’t know much about them.

                • Yzma and Kronk (The Emperors New Groove) need their own spinoff series, or maybe a live action? Both are great characters who work so well together and it would be great make audiences aware of film, The Emperors New Groove. But yeah a lot of possibilities for this topic. – X.Welker 2 weeks ago
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                • When it comes to Disney films, films that target a wide demographic but must always cater to young children, it's sometimes hard to break out of the narrative formula: good wins and bad loses/redeems itself. It is always interesting to see a villain in the lime light if they have clear motivations but also a tinge of fear and regret over the bad things they have done. I would love to see my personal favourite Megera from Hercules get her own spin-off because she is a rare case of the 'princess' character starting off in league with the villain and becoming just as much a hero as the protagonist. Arguably though her development in the existing film is better more fleshed out anyway. – vinelouise 2 weeks ago
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                Explore the emotional responses within the film Whiplash

                Emotional response refers to the way that the film spectator is manipulated by the micro and macro features of film; this process of manipulation is often designed to draw an emotional response from the spectator. There are many factors that influence the way in which we respond to popular film, viewing context, emotional tolerance and powerful film making techniques all influence our emotional response to popular film.

                • Look specifically at the themes within Whiplash such as:Abuse and Character Alignment,Genre and EmotionAuteur Style and Emotion – Zahra Arshad 1 month ago
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