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Jane Austen's Emma as a Representation of an Independent Woman

Jane Austen was a pioneer of her time for writing and literature, and often wrote about women from different backgrounds dealing with issues regarding marriage, family, and wealth. Her novel Emma focuses on Emma Woodhouse, who was unlike other characters that Austen had written about because she was wealthy and has no aspiration or need to marry due to her status as a wealthy woman.

I am curious about to the extent of which Emma can be considered an independent woman in Austen’s novel. Looking back on women’s lives in the Regency Era, it is supported that Emma had a unique and uncommon status compared to most women in her time.

It is important to understand that Emma Woodhouse is a complex character who is unique among Jane Austen’s heroines. While she is beautiful, intelligent, and rich, she is too inexperienced to use her power and influence well which leads to several serious issues.

Can Emma stand as an example for women who face a changing England at the beginning of the nineteenth century? I think it’s important to draw attention to the importance of women’s status in society before the dawn of the new century.

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    Children's Animation and "Bad Behavior"

    A recent social media meme reads, "I heard a woman say she won’t let her kids watch Peppa Pig because it encourages bad behavior like jumping in puddles. I saw Road Runner and haven’t blown up anyone yet."

    Laughs aside, and whether the account is true or not, this does bring up how concerned adults have become about children’s behavior, where that concern is coming from, and when that concern is or isn’t justified. For instance, there are parents who sincerely believe Peppa Pig is a bad influence. Others have excoriated every series from Caillou (whiny, bratty behavior) to Fancy Nancy (melodrama) to Sofia the First, Elena of Avalor, and The Lion Guard (too much emphasis on royalty, princess mentality).

    Is children’s animation actually encouraging bad behavior, or do adult audiences focus too much on instances of normal childlike actions? Do any of today’s animated shows have good messages, about behavior or anything else, and what are they? Which animations are the best and worst when it comes to presenting characters and behavior kids should emulate? Discuss.

    • This is an interesting topic for discussion. In my experience, it's not so much the television shows themselves that are the problem, as that parents aren't doing the nurturing and moralizing that they used to. If parents aren't there to provide their kids with a value system, the kids turn to media, including television, to make sense of the world. Ultimately this creates a feedback loop, where the TV programs pander to what they think the children will like in order to make money, and therefore cut them off from their parents' values even more. – Debs 6 days ago
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    Fear and Risk in Children's Literature

    The constant messaging nowadays to "stay safe" seems at odds with most of the books written for children in elementary school. Fairy tales, adventure stories, and even classic and seemingly gentle books like "The Secret Garden," encourage children to face their fears, take risks and stand up for what they believe in, even if it endangers themselves.

    How are today’s children to interpret characters like the Pevensies in Narnia, Lina and Doon from the City of Ember, or Parvana from "The Breadwinner," in the context of risk-averse messaging? Do these kinds of stories still reflect our values, and what kind of benefits do children get from them?

    • I love this topic and can think of other books to discuss, too. Really, you could make the argument that if a children's lit protagonist is an orphan or in a non-traditional family situation, or situation of any kind (and most are), they're already taking risks. They may already not be safe, through no fault of their own. And I love that about good children's lit. I sense you're afraid we may lose that, and I share your concern. If no one claims this, I'm taking it! :) – Stephanie M. 1 week ago
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    • I wonder if a brief history of children’s lit might help contextualize this shift from adventure narratives to our cultural desire to protect children - from my knowledge a lot of children’s books first started out as instructive tales, like Aesop’s Fables or A Pilgrim’s Progress, and then developed into the children lit we recognize more broadly now. I also wonder if there could be an examination of the cultural shifts between some of these classic children’s lit works, like Narnia, and now. For example, would Narnia have been as successful if it had been released in 2020? Or is there something about post-WWII England that made those stories extra enticing? And how does this cultural context play into the understanding of fear/adventure? This is a great topic :) thanks for your ideas! – cassidyleone 5 days ago
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    Diversity and representation in the Arrowverse

    Discuss racial and gender representation in the various television series that comprise the CW’s Arrowverse franchise, such as the introduction of television’s first transgender superhero in Supergirl and the normalized same-sex relationships of Legends of Tomorrow. Present examples/details and discuss their relevance to your overall analysis of the show(s).

    • Okay, good idea. You seem to be a little more focused on gender though, so maybe just tackle that for this article? Or, you could talk about race, gender, and some other difference (are there religious representations in the Arrowverse? Representations of national origin, such as a person who is from a "majority" race but not the same country as everyone else)? – Stephanie M. 1 week ago
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    The Role of "Celebrity Animals"

    What can "celebrity animals" — like Dolly (the cloned sheep), Tilikum (the killer whale), or even the octopus who gained fame on the Netflix Original, My Octopus Teacher — tell us about "the human socially constructed natural world" as Nick Couldry calls it?

    Animals (especially charismatic species with which we feel we can identify) can certainly ground environmental issues and cause us to at least feel something for environmental crises. However, there is often unequal distribution of attention that leads to inequality: mediagenic coverage that places certain animals in a positive spotlight allows us to care more for a gorilla or elephant than for an insect or fish, for example.

    Media power is prevalent in the operation of animal fame. Given that human animals are the norm in studies of celebrity environmentalism, what difference does it make to consider the role of non-human animals? Consider, with reference to one non-human animal celebrity associated with environmentalism (like Dolly, Tilikum, or others that have come about in mainstream media).

    • I think this topic is great! Other examples that immediately come to mind are Harambe (the gorilla) and Cecil (the lion), both of whom came to be heralded as martyrs in the social media court of public opinion. I also wonder if less personalized/individualized examples might also fit into this paradigm, such as the nameless polar bears precariously photographed on shrinking ice sheets, or the much discussed declining honeybee populations (whose absence has been memorialized on boxes of Honey Nut Cheerios). How do these animals function as metonymical stand-ins for ecological destruction, and does the same logic of celebrity apply without the overtly anthropomorphizing gestures of assigning a proper name. On the subject of anthropomorphism, I wonder if there's also room in article to discuss the celebrity status of fictional animal protagonists, which seems to be most common of dogs (e.g. Call of the Wild, Old Yeller, Air Bud, Marley & Me, The Art of Racing in the Rain, etc.) and horses (e.g. Kholstomer, Black Beauty, and particularly War Horse -- on page, stage, and screen). Lastly, I'd be remiss if I didn't recommend the prospective author to read up on the recently scholarly literature in the booming humanities discipline of "Animal(ity) Studies," whose key contributors have been Carey Wolfe, Peter Singer, Jacques Derrida, Margo DeMello, and particularly the posthumanist theories of Donna Haraway. – ProtoCanon 2 weeks ago
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    • Verrrry nice! I'm assuming you've seen a lot of animal documentaries, including Blackfish (Netflix). If you can find anything, you might also use the story of Keiko, the orca who played Willy in the Free Willy franchise, as a source. I had some other suggestions, but it kinda looks like you're covered. :) – Stephanie M. 1 week ago
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    Celebrity & Pandemic: Is Celebrity Culture Dying?

    During the coronavirus pandemic, we have seen celebrities and high profile people use social media in a way that has roused both negative and positive response. However, a quick internet search of celebrities and the pandemic leads to overwhelmingly negative titles: A headline for the NY Times says "Celebrity Culture is Burning" and BBC asks, "Is the age of celebrity over?" Think of images of celebrities on their private islands, flaunting their wealth, and hosting parties — all while preaching "we’re all in this together!"

    To think more specifically, some examples that comes to mind include: the celebrity-sung "Imagine" video, or John Krasinski’s web-series "Some Good News," or even the host of sourdough videos made by celebrities on their Instagram stories.

    How is celebrity changing/how has it changed during the coronavirus pandemic? Are there any examples or sources of joy and positive affect coming from celebrity culture? Or are the overwhelmingly negative headlines right to say that celebrity culture is burning?

    • Very interesting. I cannot say that I've seen any of these other articles you've mentioned, but I'd be curious to read them now, and see what arguments they make in defense of that thesis. I suspect one death knell for celebrity culture was that much maligned celebrities-singing-"Imagine" video, with its palpable chasm between its authors' expected reception and its actual audience's kneejerk cringe. However, on the other side of the coin, I would argue that Covid has presented new templates of celebrity that did not exist prior. Anthony Fauci and (our Canadian counterpart) Theresa Tam have long been well-known in medical and epidemiological circles, but the pandemic turned them into household names. On a different corner of the same side of the coin, I wonder if Joe Exotic and Carole Baskin would have ascended to celebrity status they way they did if not for the pandemic. Lastly, if celebrity culture is in fact declining, I wonder how much of that is necessarily a direct result of the pandemic -- correlation not being synonymous with causation. One significant (non-Covid) factor that I can see as being responsible for this decline is the rise of so-called "Cancel Culture" (which is a complicated subject, too big to unpack here), in which celebrities are being held accountable for their problematic actions/statements/views, and being stripped of their power as a result. In addition to dispossessing existing celebrities of their cultural capital, this trend may also prove to make acquisition fame a less desirable goal for others, who might be dissuaded by overwhelming public scrutiny, social media's acceleration of the process, and the knowledge that very minor transgressions can fuel Twitter-mobs just as much legitimate sexual assault and/or bigotry. Just some food for thought. – ProtoCanon 2 weeks ago
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    • Interesting. If you ask me, celebrity culture can take a hike. It turned my stomach to hear them preaching about empathy and togetherness when as you said, they weren't losing anything or making sacrifices. You could also talk about how some celebrities *attempted* to spread joy but actually exploited certain groups (e.g., celebrities or news anchors using feel-good stories of people with disabilities doing everyday things as "hope in these uncertain times," so to speak). – Stephanie M. 1 week ago
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    • I actually think that celebrity culture is, in many respects, the same as it ever was. Celebrities have always attempted to champion whatever causes were relevant to the day, even if they had no bearing on their actual lives. Furthermore, just as there have always been people willing to lavish attention and love on celebrities (and always will be) so too have there always been people willing to write them off as narcissistic, shallow and-out-of-touch. What's changed, I think, is that with the pandemic people have fewer things to distract them from the activities and sanctimony of the celebrities. Additionally, it does seem to me that the type of celebrities that people flock to are different. In other words, while people used to lionize movie stars and singers, now they are more likely to focus on the lives and actions of political figures instead. For instance, I notice lately that a lot of people have been treating the governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, as if he were a god. On the opposite side are those who are doing the same thing to Dr. Fauci. At the same time, both of these people have as many utter detractors as fans, just as with any other celebrity. – Debs 5 days ago
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    • This is an interesting topic. The pandemic has truly changed how we view celebrities because we have been able to view them on a day-to-day basis and see that they aren't so different from us after all. We have always had this idolization of celebrities without really considering their flaws and true nature. This pandemic has been interesting in being able to strip everyone down to who they really are and show that celebrities aren't exactly something to be idolized. Or even just showing how out of touch they really are with the rest of the world. While people are struggling to pay rent or find food, and they are lavishing in multimillion dollar homes, complaining about the pandemic. It has truly stripped away the glamour and revealed the wide disparity that I believe we have been willfully blind to before. – SSartor 1 day ago
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    How the Rugrats Reboot Will Influnece Television

    On May 27, a Rugrats reboot featuring CGI animation, new character voices, and adventures with a distinct 21st-century flavor will premiere on Paramount Plus. Some fans of the original Rugrats are eager to experience the reboot and compare/contrast, while others are skeptical at best. No matter what side you’re on though, there’s no denying this reboot will influence how people see the Rugrats franchise and perhaps, associated television (e.g., Nickelodeon).

    Discuss questions such as how the Rugrats reboot will influence these spheres, as well as the potential positives and negatives of the reboot itself. For example, how will the reboot’s location on a streaming service change the viewing experience and relations to the characters and plots? Do you think kids or adults will be more invested in the reboot, and why? It seems many of the new adventures will take place in the babies’ imaginations; is this a positive or negative move?

    • I like this topic if possible, do you have a more narrowed scope for the article. For instance, in my experience Suzy played side character growing up and I look forward to perhaps seeing her in every episode. Are you looking to compare their general influence then and their possible contributions now? Just looking for clarity – CardinalRayPrints 4 days ago
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    • Influence is a big part of it, yes. I like how you brought up Susie, because in this day and age, she needs to be more of a main character, which will impact the show's influence for the better. On the other hand, there are certain things that may make its influence negative. For instance, I grew up watching the show and having to wait for episodes. The instantaneous nature of a streaming service may mean the new version, all its updates notwithstanding, has less of an impact because the audience can so quickly move on to something else. – Stephanie M. 3 days ago
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    Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: The mental health content we need

    I was looking around this year for content during the pandemic about mental health or lack of. As a college student, I watched a fair few of my friends experience depression or widespread anxiety for the first time due to the impacts of the pandemic.

    It is no secret that this generation is calling out for resources and the destigmatization of "mental health" as a form of combating and healing. However, what next? You’ve healed from the stigma of your mental illness and you still feel like shit. Where is that story?

    I believe that the answer we need lies in the TV "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" a musical comedy from the genius mind of Rachel Bloom. The show is not a light touch of social anxiety but instead a humorous and relatable dive into personality disorders and the darker side of "mental health". In a way separate from buzz words like "representation" and "normalization", Bloom does what all good writers have learned to do, tell a universal stories through the outlandish specifics.

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    • Could perhaps start with reading some of his lesser know work , plays i.e 'The Gardeners Son' – Yama144 6 years ago
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    • He’s certainly an interesting author. But this topic seems quite broad. Is there something specific about his work the author could focus on, like the type of characters or settings being used? – Stephanie M. 4 weeks ago
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    Historical Accuracy, Costumes, and the Oscars

    In this day and age, historical accuracy is more important than ever. At least, to some people. When "Little Women" won the Oscar for Best Costume Design in 2019, a few people were unimpressed, given the inaccuracies of the costume design compared to what people would have worn at the time.
    This article would look at various films in Oscar history that won or were nominated for Best Costume Design with some modifications made to period clothing that raised a few eyebrows. These could be to send a powerful message (see Emma Watson’s corset-less dresses in "Beauty and the Beast") or to make a fashion statement (Elizabeth Taylor’s wardrobe in "Cleopatra"). The films can implement changes for the better or for worse, so long as they are slightly different from the outfits they’re based off.
    Some sources that the author might want to look at are Bernadette Banner and Karolina Zebrowska, YouTubers who not only know their fashion history, but also try out fashion items, critique films, and debunk myths. Of course, other sources besides YouTube can be used.

    • Another source to consider is the TV series, Outlander, which prizes itself on historically accurate costume (there are many resources about this online and YouTube with interviews from cast members who comment on how their costume impacted their abilities) – telltaletalovic 3 weeks ago
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    Anti-Heroes in Television

    It would be interesting to see a comparative character analysis of some of TV’s biggest anti-heroes (Walter White, Tony Soprano, Omar Little, to name a few). The analysis might consider a few similar traits amongst those heroes and explore the dynamic characterization that can oftentimes develop more gradually and organically in TV series than it can in film.

    • I've written extensively about TV antiheroes so this is a very attractive topic to me, but I would also maybe suggest discussing the cultural background of the antihero protagonist, i.e. how it reached a new epoch in the 2000s following Tony Soprano and gradually dissipated through the 2010s after Walter White. – GJWilson6 3 weeks ago
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    • Great feedback, GJWison6. Thanks! – JCBohn 2 weeks ago
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    Doctors and Nurses on TV

    Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s been a new spotlight shone on doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers. To show support for those in the medical field, it’s now time to evaluate the portrayal of both doctors and nurses in TV: particular tropes, harmful stereotypes, progress in the way women/LGBTQ/BIPOC characters are handled or portrayed. What are some examples of groundbreaking works in the genre? What are some terrible or offensive examples?
    Some shows to look at are Grey’s Anatomy and Scrubs. Comparisons can also be made to non-American TV shows and how they approach the subject matter.

    • I think The Good Doctor should definitely be added to the discussion. The majority of the doctors are Black or Brown (although the main protagonist is white, which brings up other issues). There's also plenty to say about how female physicians are treated or portrayed, especially with the addition of Dr. Jordan. Check out the episode where Jordan treats a large Black female patient, and has to deal with the racial and weight-related implications of her treatment, as well as how her fellow doctors handle it. – Stephanie M. 4 weeks ago
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    Portrayals of Gender in Studio Ghibli Films

    Many movies under Studio Ghibli have been lauded for their strong, complex female protagonists. Chihiro from Spirited Away, San from Princess Mononoke, and several others come to mind immediately. Hayao Miyazaki writes “brave, self-sufficient girls that don’t think twice about fighting for what they believe with all their heart. They’ll need a friend, or a supporter, but never a savior. Any woman is just as capable of being a hero as any man”.

    However progressive Studio Ghibli may seem, the representation is nowhere near perfect. Ghibli producer Yoshiaki Nishimura has gone on record to say that women are too realistic to direct these fantasy films, and “men on the other hand tend to be more idealistic—and fantasy films need that idealistic approach. I don’t think it’s a coincidence men are picked”. But many Studio Ghibli films are movie adaptations of stories originally written by women. Diana Wynne Jones wrote the original novel “Howl’s Moving Castle”, Ursula K. Le Guin was the original novelist of the “Tales from Earthsea” books, and Eiko Kadono wrote not just “Kiki’s Delivery Service”, but also five sequels to it.

    It might also be worth looking at some character portrayals from a folkloric perspective. It is certainly true that many young female protagonists are brave, independent, and heroic. But many Studio Ghibli villains such as Yubaba and Suleiman are magical women and fall into the “old hag” archetype of Western folklore, which Miyazaki has taken inspiration from countless times. These women are characteristically old and thus “ugly”, or not conventionally attractive, and they serve as antagonists to more conventionally attractive, younger women. Meanwhile, magical men such as Haku and Howl are often portrayed as heroic and noble—not without their own character flaws, of course, but there is still a distinct contrast. As progressive as Miyazaki is with his portrayal of women, he still relies on archetypes such as these, whether intentionally or not.

    This topic is open to any discussion regarding portrayals of gender in any Studio Ghibli film, whether positive or negative.

    • Interesting!! I think that part of it may stem from the fact that Japan seems to have a lot of myths about 'old hags' or women/female-appearing demons who are evil. However, as I am not Japanese nor know Japanese myths well, I cannot say for sure. Regardless, this is an interesting problem, though perhaps a bit West-aligned. – FinallyHome 2 weeks ago
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    13 Reasons Why: helpful TV show?

    TV series 13 Reasons Why depicted real-life challenges of American high school students. Bullying, rape, suicide, mental health, drug addictions and many others are included. Season 1 and 2 dealt with Hannah Baker’s 13 reasons to kill herself, and whether or not the school was responsible for failing to prevent this from happening. Season 3 focused on Hannah Baker’s rapist Bryce Walker’s accidental death and how Hannah Baker’s circle of friends covered it up. Lastly, Season 4 centered on how the friends of the "framed victim" investigated into finding out the real killer. It is often argued that TV shows/media of this sort are bad influences on young audiences, with examples include horror movies and heavy metal music. Why do you think, after all the accusations and criticisms, Hollywood/American television is still producing and promoting such contents? Is it because any publicity is publicity, and sensational contents are always good TV show materials? Should television be producing fewer of these shows or only to be broadcast on adult channels? Does demand for such contents create supply? Or, perhaps a little more positively, the show does alleviate real-life problems of high school students and young adults, and more of these are needed?

    • This is a solid topic. I would look into creator intent for this subject. As, some directors just do as you pointed out in your thesis; and they merely wish to create content that will get easy media attention. They do this because they know people will watch shows just because it is talked about and could careless about whether or not the press is positive, while others actually care for the taboo topic and want to do them justice. Netflix's cuties is another worthwhile thing to look into. Not trying to poison the well here, but I believe cuties was an example of individual who had a questionable understanding of the subject matter, and this lead to it possibly doing more harm then good. Beast with no Nation is also worth looking into, as it was received positively for the most part. – Blackcat130 1 month ago
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    Has Pop Music Simplified Over Time?

    In numerous studies, people are finding that pop music is homogenizing, both harmonically, stylistically, and even in vocal variety (i.e. very similar sounding artists being appreciated). Some claim that pop music is being "dumbed down" by becoming harmonically and melodically simplified. While pop music nowadays may be more harmonically and melodically simple, are there other factors that make it more complex/varied? Should we judge music based on these factors, or should we appreciate other aspects of the genre? What are those factors that we should appreciate?

    • A big factor is how formulaic a lot of the music is. Everyone wants to climb to the top via popularity and they do so by following the mainstream and taking the place of those who came before them by doing the same act. Many musicians don't even write their own songs, they just perform what their companies give them. It's a struggle between capitalism and the rise of the artist. – LaRose 5 years ago
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    • I'm not sure this topic fits into any of the current categories. According to the guidelines, music is not currently a category, but might be in the near future. Once this comes to pass, I would give this topic a second look. – BoomBap 5 years ago
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    • This topic is difficult because there is so many factors that can play a role. While I'm of the opinion that music (and all mainstream art including visual media, animation, film, literature, and theater) is being dumbed down. The reason people are noticing how similar music is becoming is also due to them being more familiar and experienced with it. While many artist are often criticized for "copying" other artist work. The reality is many artist are "inspired" by other artist. You can see this with bands like Wolfmother, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Cage the Elephant who were inspired by late 60's rock bands and tried to imitate them. You can honestly pick any era for music (or games, movies, and theater) and start noticing how redundant trends pop up due to the success of others. If you go back to the early 2000's there was a point where every artist was using auto tune and even further back you had the gangster rap era where everyone was trying to prove how "tough" they where. Also more recently Invincible has become incredibly popular due to its Amazon series and many people have praised it for its subversion of mainstream comic-books, but to me that is not the case. As, many of the more "shocking" elements have been done before by other comic-book series, such as the supposed paragon of good actually being corrupt. And is simply using his positive image to take over the world. Graphic violence has always been apart of comics and super hero's having sexual relations and having it be portrayed in full detail in the pages has also occurred. But the general press is talking up these elements, which to me shows how unfamiliar they are with the subject matter. "Btw I do think Invincible both the comic and Amazon series are worth looking at but not for the reason's I listed above." While I'm sure some musicians are simply following trends, I don't think all of them are. You also have to take in account how producers can act as gate keepers to the success and how popular some artist become, as they may choose to publish one artist over another due to them being similar to another successful arts. – Blackcat130 1 month ago
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    • I agree with some of the points previously mentioned. A particular aspect of music that can be argued is the notion of why exactly is pop music in its current state? Popular music in a sense can be argued is rap music due to the popularity of the genre. Moreover, pop music is an amalgamation of various genres blended together and can be seen in the ways in which EDM influences the beats of songs or how low-fi beats borrowed from ambient R&B. – jgabriel97 2 weeks ago
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    literature
    Write this topic

    Novels with complex structures

    Mark Z Danielewski’s House of Leaves is probably the most famous oddly structured book. For the most part there’s two separate narratives; the narrator’s own story is told in footnotes, the main body of the text being the discovered critical analysis by Zampano of a non-existent documentary film about an ever-changing house. Zampano’s also blind, btw.

    It’s a little bit gimmicky, but at times the Zampano essay is stunning, with some of the most memorable sinister moments in modern literature.

    Beside House of Leaves, I was surprised by the twist of the plot and development in these books:

    Abraham Verghese: Cutting for Stone.

    Orhan Pamuk: Museeum of Innocence. (This is a love novel, and you may not like this genre.)

    Benito Perez Galdos: Fortunata and Jacinta.

    Theodor Kallifatides: In her Gaze. (First written in Swedish, but it is translated into some other languages. I do not know if English belongs to them.)

    Selma Lagerlöf: The Story of Gösta Berling. Repeatedly some one will predict an event that is easily seen to be impossible, unless supranatural phenomena are included. And then the event does occur, but because of perfectly natural causes.

    Arnold Zweig: The Fight Over Sergeant Gruschka. (In WWI Gruschka is a deserter from the Russian army and had been living in a German P.O.W. camp. He had escaped. What he is most eager to avoid is to be send back to this camp. A woman eventually advises him how to avoid that – but he will actually suffer worse outcomes.)

    • Really interesting topic! I would add The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison. Different narrative voices intertwine and the font plays a really important role too. The Dick and Jane story at the beginning of the novel is written 3 times - one normally, one without punctuation and one without any spaces between letters. Worth reflecting on what that is supposed to mean. And the book is structured by seasons, comparing the Dick and Jane vision of spring, all nice and pretty, and the afro-american's reality of spring in the 1960s - rape and violence. And Gabriel Garcia Marquez' A hundred Years of Solitude. – Rachel Elfassy Bitoun 6 years ago
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    • What about Faulkner? I'm thinking The Sound and the Fury and As I Lay Dying. – Kristian Wilson 6 years ago
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    • I'm thinking Scandinavian crime/mystery-thrillers and their impact on modern fiction (Girl with the Dragon Tattoo). – Thomas Munday 6 years ago
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    • The structure and themes of Cloud Atlas could be another book to consider for this topic. I find the puzzling feature of the structure of linked stories or novel-in-stories to be intriguing and feel it could be inserted into this topic. Some other linked story novels include: Circus in Winter by Cathy Day. Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan, and Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston. – BethanyS 6 years ago
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    • Interesting. But would you mind explaining what are the questions this topic is going to answer/any potential central argument? For example, what the authors are trying to do with the unusual structures? What messages do they convey? I would also suggest to look a bit into the history of the novel. – Ka Man Chung 2 months ago
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    Plato's Cave and the Construction of Reality in Post-Modern Texts

    Analyse post-modern texts according to Plato’s cave and suggest how reality is constructed, commenting on its relevance and need in our modern era. Compare to classic texts where reality wasn’t as much of an issue. Why is it so important for us to have a constructed reality presented to us? Why can’t we go out and explore our own reality?

    Suggestions of texts:
    Lewis Carroll – Alice in Wonderland
    The Matrix
    James Dashner – the Maze Runner
    Suzanne Collins – The Hunger Games

    Or any texts that have a constructed reality within.

    • I can see this going in so many different directions. Having just recently read Susanna Clarke's novel "Piranesi" I can also see how this theme would be really popular now, reflecting the various isolations of our pandemic circumstances. A writer may want to lean into some classic Jean Baudrillard/simulacrum, or Jean-Paul Sartre to compare differing ideas about how isolation distorts reality. – Grimoiria 2 weeks ago
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    The Marvel Trajectory: Cinematic Potential or a Downward Spiral?

    In light of the relatively recent comments on Marvel films made by the likes of Scorsese and Coppola, does the superhero film have a place as an artistic work? Is it a modern reiteration of older genres of filmmaking (the Western, the gangster film, etc.) replete with popular cultural furnishings? Or, as the New Hollywood filmmakers suggest, does Marvel’s cinematic universe mark a downward spiral in quality for the cinema of America (and likely the world at large)?

    • The most important part of writing on this topic is establishing what is a "good" and "bad" film. While Scorsese and Coppola are considered great film maker's, their opinion on films at times are subjective. And while they've have been praised throughout the years, we have to acknowledge that they have bias on what they believe is "good" and "bad". Most people will simply let their comments go without actually questioning them, because they've established themselves as an authority on film through their successful career. But by that same metric we could say people Micheal Bay and Seth Rogen are great film makers, as they have had successful films. Meaning simply finding someone in film that believe superhero movies are "good" would be enough to counter the opposing opinion. What makes a quality film can vary from person to person. Good example of this is many people felt Star War's the last Jedi was a good movie. Though when you look at critical and fan opinion the feeling were split. So, I would recommend using your early paragraphs to establish how you will be measuring a films quality and then apply that to modern Superhero films and the films that Coppola and Scorsese believe are "good". I find this topic really interesting, albeit a difficult one to discuss. This is mainly because people use personal enjoyment to decide if a film is "good" or "bad" when that is entirely subjective and can vary from person to person, as how we may react to an experience can vary greatly. My last bit of advice is there are people out there who get pleasure from pain "masochist". And people who can enjoy eating shit. Pleasure is always subject to the individual. It is the same when discussing the quality of a film. – Blackcat130 2 months ago
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    • As with any form of media, trends come and go. The initiation of the MCU encouraged a lot of failed imitations of the "cinematic universe formula" (see universal's Dark Universe, the DCEU, and the limping corpse of Sony's Spider-Man universe). However, I would argue that such criticisms from Scorsese etc are indicative of the wider blockbuster "genre", the commodification of individual films into franchises owned by huge conglomerates, and the frequency with which blockbuster films are now produced. As Warner Bros, Universal, and especially Disney continue to churn out more and more productions, it's almost inevitable that the quality will begin to decline. We're now looking at several tv series and 3 or 4 MCU movies per year, as opposed to waiting three years between each Star Wars film, as it was in the 70s. The commodification of franchise cinema has a lot to answer for, and the MCU's consistency in terms of quality can likely be attributed to the singular vision of Feige, so at least everything is consistent. The lack of this same vision is the same reason that the new Star Wars films have felt so dissonant from one another and have been suitably lambasted. So yes, I think a case could be made for the MCU signalling the end of "quality" blockbusters, but less mainstream art pictures, smaller studio productions, and independent films will likely remain unaffected. However, the precedents set by the MCU have bled into other blockbuster franchises who all want the same financial returns; so I'd argue for blockbuster cinema their concerns are valid. – NathanialEker 1 month ago
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    What Makes a Scientist

    Dr. Henry Jekyll, Dr. Victor Frankenstein, Doc Emmet Brown, Dr. Walter Bishop from Fringe, and characters like them throughout literature and film are categorized as "mad scientists." Sometimes it’s because their science is taboo or outside what society believes is even possible; sometimes they’re suspected of madness or some other kind of mental illness; sometimes it’s both. Why are these characters appealing to audiences, even if they’re not well-liked by the fictional societies they live in.

    An analysis could include comparing them to real-life scientists like Galileo and Copernicus who were considered "kooks" but turned out to be right. Also, consider how driven these characters are to prove their theories, even pushing moral and societal boundaries – if they weren’t actually mad before, they can more easily be perceived that way by the end of their story.

    • Hmmm, intriguing. You might begin exploring this topic with what it meant or means to be "mad," both in past eras and now. For instance, Jekyll, Frankenstein, and even Brown were considered "mad" for their eras but would that be true now? If so, is that because of their methods? Should scientists be expected to work within certain boundaries so they and their work will be acceptable to society, or is that too much like "playing God?" I think you have a lot to explore here and look forward to reading a full article. – Stephanie M. 1 month ago
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    Ambigous Endings

    I’d figure that an analysis on ambiguous ends in literature seems to warrant some serious thought.I’d like somebody to write about the psychology related to an open-ended plot..Movies could do as well.Anime is also an option

    • Do you have specific works in mind? Choosing some might help anchor the topic. – Stephanie M. 4 years ago
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    • Before We Go is a great movie with an ambiguous ending. – Munjeera 4 years ago
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    • Like the ending in Kidnapped or David Copperfield? – RedFlame2000 4 years ago
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    • Looks good under the topic of writing as the discussion could be the value of an ambiguous ending using various examples of how it works in various mediums. – Munjeera 4 years ago
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    • Before We Go is a Chris Evans movie about two people who meet in New York. He is on his way to connect us with the love of his life who has become an old flame and she is deciding to end her marriage. I can't say the ending because it will be a spoiler but the ending is ambiguous. Unusual for a romantic comedy. – Munjeera 4 years ago
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    • An ambiguous ending to a novel will undoubtedly leave open the window to future renditions. Even in a happy-ending scenario, there is potential for reversal of fortune (leading to another compilation). There is always the possibility that the reader massaged the original plot into a flavor consistent to their unique palate; one the author could conceivably exploit into several more chapters, or sequels. An unresolved ending builds the kind of tension and momentum that brings loyal readership back to the watering hole, so to speak. That is not to say that critics won't take notice either, for ambiguity fuels their ire as well. – lofreire 4 years ago
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    • Damn! You beat me to it. I was going to suggest a very similar topic. On a personal note, I rather enjoy ambiguous endings or those that credit the audience with enough intelligence to work things out for themselves. We are all too often given spoon-fed answers that discourage us from thinking...and we are a thinking species after all! – Amyus 4 years ago
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    • Are ambiguous endings sometimes done so as to leave the way open for a sequel? Or it can be a sci-fi device... – JudyPeters 4 years ago
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