English Department

CLU Festival of Scholars

The Festival of Scholars provides students in the College of Arts and Sciences with the opportunity to showcase their original research and projects. The weeklong celebration of student scholarship culminates with a reception honoring the students. Students whose work is chosen as the top selection from each of the four divisions (Humanities, Creative Arts, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences) receive an Outstanding Research/Project Award and are asked to present their work.

2013 English Capstone Presentations

Date: Monday, April 29, 2013
Time: 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Location: Roth Nelson Room
Description: English majors deliver papers and presentations as part of their senior Capstone experience, a year-long process combining independent and mentored research and creative writing. Students’ work reflects a high level of academic achievement and has likely been presented, in part or in full, at regional and national undergraduate conferences such as the Southern California Conference on Undergraduate Research (SCCUR), the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR), and Sigma Tau Delta, the International English Honors Society.
Student Abstracts at this Session
Student(s):
Elise Clapp

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Joan Wines
Innovative Devices in "After a While," an Original Short Story
Skillful authors use a variety of unusual devices to enhance the impact of their story telling. One such device is the use of a seemingly random framing structure; another is an unreliable first person narrator; and a third is the use of an unconventional method of developing plot sequence. In my original story “After a While,” I use all of these devices, but, as I will demonstrate in my presentation, I use them in highly innovative ways. A bucket list serves as my basic frame; the first person narrator, albeit unreliable, captures the audience’s sympathy; and the plot is complexly sequenced through character development. Although creative writing theorists agree that these devices should be subtle--so as not to overpower or distract from the primary story line, I use them boldly and argue that doing so reinforces my intended purpose of adding complexity and intrigue to the piece.



Student(s):
Alexander Daley

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Bryan Rasmussen
A Search for Power: The Role of Female Ambition in Emma and To the Lighthouse
Jane Austen and Virginia Woolf depict their characters, Emma Woodhouse and Mrs. Ramsay, as rebels against the social expectations for women of their time in order to show the power of female ambition. In Emma and To the Lighthouse, each character has a strategy for resisting against the male dominated social structure, but they display the capability to be both a part of mainstream society and a part of a rising counterculture that signifies a form of heroism which literary theorist Peter Brooks defines as “ambitious.” However, Brooks’ theory is limited only to identifying male ambitious heroes. To illustrate their function as “ambitious heroes,” I highlight two capacities of these characters: Emma Woodhouse’s perceived ability to romantically maneuver Harriet to marry Frank Churchill; and Mrs. Ramsay’s ability to arrange a dinner party, at which she is able to perceive, and maneuver within, her world from several different points of view.


Student(s):
Debben Hoffer

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Bryan Rasmussen
Narration Through Poetry: Why Narrative and Perspective Matter
Narration is an important aspect of a story. Through narration, we get a story’s specific perception. What I have done is taken forms of poetry to convey different types of narration. Through poetry, I attempt to tell the same story five different times with five different poetic forms to get the same idea from it. The story I am trying to unfold within my poetry is about a car accident. Five different people saw five different things that happened and no one can re-create the whole story perfectly, but with a glimpse of parts of what they can describe, we can get enough information gathered to see the main concept. I have handcrafted five separate poems in order to tell this story. I use ballads, free verse, prose poetry, and anaphoric poetry in my project to explore this idea. I use examples from Poets Claudia Keelan and Peter Covino.


Student(s):
Caitlin Jensen

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Bryan Rasmussen
The Silenced Mind: The Feminine Voice and Its Effects on Cognitive Narration
Although cognitive approaches to literature have become important tools in understanding narrative, they are far from being complete. By locating mind in a narrative, cognitive approaches offer a stronger analysis of the text, yet they disregard the mind in relation to gender. Given the classical feminist argument, like the one provided in Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar’s study, "The Madwoman in the Attic," literature has been man's domain throughout history. One begins to wonder where the mind's gender comes into play today. This essay examines the differences between the feminine and masculine mind by analyzing Elizabeth Barrett Browning's poem, "A Man's Requirements." With the help of Susan Lanser's theory of the female double-voice and Manfred Jahn's theory of focalization through shifting windows of perception, I seek to put the gender back into mind to show how the feminine voice can help reorient a narrative while critiquing patriarchal society.


Student(s):
Wenqing Luo

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Joan Wines
New Perspectives on Teaching and Tutoring Chinese International Students
The differences in Chinese and English writing conventions present a challenge for those who want to teach English to Chinese international students. By identifying, describing, comparing and contrasting Chinese with English writing conventions, I intend to create a set of pedagogical tools that will make us more effective in teaching and tutoring Chinese international students.



Student(s):
Michael McCaughey

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Joan Wines
Creationism and Scientism: Parallels and Divergences
In a world that all but demands that science be the foundation upon which we base our knowledge, many Christian creationists have increasingly come to use the rhetoric of science to prove their position. Examining this rhetoric alongside the rhetoric of scientism provides us with insight into what these two ideologies have in common as well as how they diverge. Particularly, I show how creationists have been responding to science with their own brand of science, all framed within a diegetic world that requires the imagination to adopt certain claims as facts in order to support a worldview suitable to their beliefs. I also examine how both sides work with fictional narrative to present a “non-fictional” history of the world. My purpose is not only to understand the similarities and differences of the arguments, but to understand, as well, some of the specific causes that might underlie the radical reaction people have to the opposition’s view.



Student(s):
Alexis Miller

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Joan Wines
C.S. Lewis and a Rejection of Cynicism
Although Benjamin Schreier concedes that cynicism is “capable of reinvigorating . . . democratic institutions,” he also sees cynicism as a “failure of competence,” and as a tactic that avoids rather than solves problems. I will examine cynicism in its role as a characteristic of postmodernism and will demonstrate how it attacks rather than builds on the foundations of past thought, thus free-floating rather than grounding new ideas and structures. While studying C.S. Lewis at Oxford, I was intrigued by the sharp contrast between his optimistic writings and the cynicism that seemed so pervasive in postmodern literature. Using Lewis as a model of a writer who ultimately rejected the allure of cynicism and emphasized the importance of tradition in the context of what he called “natural law,” I argue that society, instead of continuing to be dominated by postmodern cynicism, would be better served by a literary culture that credits writers like Lewis who have a more positive outlook on life.



Student(s):
Judith Newlin

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Bryan Rasmussen
The Educational Value of Reading: A Cognitive Approach
Why do readers continue to read popular novels that are critically panned? Using recent cognitive theory, I found that the reader of both page-turners and critical darlings uses a process of cognitive self-education to better comprehend new experiences vicariously lived through the narrative. To support this claim I relied on the work of Gilles Fauconnier and Mark Turner, cognitive theorists who hold that a reader comes to a text with pre-constructed frames of reference for various situations, which are created from prior life experiences and perceptions, and used to understand and interpret new scenarios. But, if all novels are equal at the cognitive level, how should we distinguish high art from low art? I think it is time to produce a more inclusive definition of literature that gives credit to the cognitive actions of the reader upon the meaning of text.


Student(s):
Ashley Orozco

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Bryan Rasmussen
Chicana Poetry: One New Voice and Where It Stands
Throughout the various waves of feminism, poetry has been a way of capturing voices of generations of women to which my own collection of poems will contribute. My project is a collection of 5 personal poems that relate to the topic of women and family tradition, specifically in the realm of Mexican American women, or Chicana. Chicana poetry shares common themes of sexuality and gender identification that are passed down through tradition to each new generation of women writers. My poems experiment with three different narrative perspectives, or “focalizers” in narratologist William Neelles’s terms, to illustrate how focalization in poetry can be used to exemplify the Chicana poet’s experience of sexuality, identity, and tradition. Each poem “focalizes” women of different ages dealing with identity issues relevant to their age. My objective is to create various story windows, while at the same time holding together a common thread of generational wisdom.


English Capstone Presentations

Date: Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Time: 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Location: Roth Nelson Room
Student Abstracts at this Session
Student(s):
Patrick Bennett

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Joan Wines
Finding Identity in a Postmodern World: Paths of Discovery in Haruki Murakami’s Detective Novels
In his detective novels, Japanese writer Haruki Murakami demonstrates how his postmodern characters develop their specifically individual identities by way of various methods, experiences, and choices. Their common initial conditions of loneliness and isolation arguably reflect the condition of some of Murakami’s postmodern readers. I want to theorize that these readers can use the detective author’s “character-seeking-and-finding-identity” model to gain a rational set of skills with which to discover their own identities.



Student(s):
Brenda Gallardo

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Joan Wines
National Educational Policy-making: What’s needed? What’s new?
The U.S. Department of Education has implemented various policies to address the issues and problems in our country’s educational systems. In this paper, I specify how two national education policies have been less than successful in equipping our students with the necessary skills for meeting “the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship,” a goal that Frederick Hess, a Harvard University Professor, maintains we need to achieve. Both the policy-driven Excellence Movement during the 1980s and the No Child Left Behind Act in 2001 failed to reach their expected results, let alone Hess’s lofty goal. Recently, the Department of Education is once again on the verge of implementing a new national education policy--the Common Core. An examination of this new policy reveals that the Common Core has a good chance of providing what is needed to fulfill the expectations we have for national education.



Student(s):
Robert Galletly

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Bryan Rasmussen
The Mind’s Eye: Focalization in Post-Modern Films
In film, as in fiction, an audience is drawn in to the characters before them. This paper explores a key mechanism by which the audience is connected to characters in contemporary film, namely through the narrative action of focalization. Focalization is the process by which we see from a character's perspective. There has been a trend in contemporary filmmaking that makes the technical process of focalization a feature of the plot. In the 1999 film "Being John Malkovich," characters place themselves into someone else’s body and interact with others to find out more about themselves. As the characters enter someone else, the audience views this "outer" character, yet the "inner" character is acting and thinking for them. I will explore how this process works in "postmodern" films and what this move to make formal narrative elements like focalization the substance or content of the narrative has to say about film.


Student(s):
Jenna Nakamura

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Bryan Rasmussen
Time Progression and Reader Investment in Holocaust Autobiographies
Holocaust personal narratives contain elements that differ from fictional stories and informational sources that allow them to expose the character's emotions and thoughts that would not be provided in other genres. In Anne Frank’s diary, "Anne Frank: The Diary of A Young Girl," and Miriam Katin’s graphic memoir, "We Are On Our Own," the personal choices in their lives illustrate how each of their decisions affected their lives. My intent was to compare certain excerpts in these two different types of personal memoirs to demonstrate how their structures differ but they both still reveal more than factual sources. My interest in this project began with the connection to the characters in historical personal narrative as well as the opportunity to situate myself in the character's situation. I found that memoirs and diaries were similar in providing emotional information but they differed in their presentation of the character's stories.


Student(s):
Shannon Streeter

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Joan Wines
Banning Harry: A Long and Losing Battle
The rationales for banning books have often been based on religious ideology, and the outcry against the Harry Potter series is no exception. Fundamentalist religious groups have declared that the Harry Potter novels promote a wicked way of life. They fear that J.K. Rowling's "malicious message" will infiltrate the minds of children and have damaging long term effects on society in general. They argue that Rowling's world of magic is thoroughly Satanic because magic is always Satanic and therefore evil and dangerous. This opposition is ironic in its failure to acknowledge Rowling's own emphases on struggles between good and evil. I demonstrate how the author's magical world is neither distinctly Wiccan nor Satanic and how her Christ figures and other Biblical contexts challenge the rationales of those who would ban these highly popular and successful books.


Student(s):
Ashley Szanter

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Joan Wines
Homosocial “Theory” and a New Reading of The Picture of Dorian Gray
Homosociality (social relationships between persons of the same sex and especially between men) originated as a Sociology term referencing intra-gender relations. In 1985, literary theorist Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick introduced the term homosocial as an interesting supplement to Queer theory, exploring it as a way to understand masculine gender dynamics in literature. Although Sedgwick did not forge a full-blown homosocial literary theory, she did build its preliminary foundations. I aim to broaden Sedgwick’s preliminary construction and create a theoretical prototype that can be applied across literary genres. Grounding this prototype in historical and etymological contexts will enable the theory to be detailed in its focus on homosociality while retaining breadth in relation to socio-cultural and historical factors. Applying this template to Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray will reopen the conversation on homosocial versus homosexual readings of Wilde’s novel.



Student(s):
Elmira Tadayon

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Bryan Rasmussen
Sherwood Anderson’s “Grotesques:” Characters as Human Truths, Not Human Minds
This essay examines Sherwood Anderson’s implied function of character as a representation of human truth rather than human mind, and demonstrates how this reading of character changes the way narrative can be understood and defined. Anderson’s "Winesburg, Ohio" challenges the assumption that characters are intrinsically human elements by introducing the concept of the “grotesque,” or the perversion of truth by humanization. For Anderson, a character is a representation of an abstract “truth,” which integrates with other truths in the context of a narrative in order to derive meaning and morality. This theory of character is contrasted with cognitive theory, which argues that by assigning a human “mind” to characters the reader simulates narrative situations and experiences emotions by proxy. The proposed theory of character function suggests that the reader can identify and associate with various human “truths,” signifying the narrative’s relativity to the social context in which it is read.


Student(s):
Grayson Yoder

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Joan Wines
How Readers Read: Are the Processes as Elusive as Ever?
Reader-response theory focuses on the interrelationships of reader and text. Stanley Fish sees these relationships as reflecting “. . . the shifting and contingent conditions of a community’s practice.” Cognitive literary theorists seek to marginalize Fish’s emphasis on reading behaviors as dependent on socialization factors and re-focus the reader-response inquiry within a physiological context. Their approach grounds the reader-text relationship by suggesting that the brain is not only a discernible system, but that the system itself is definable and constant enough to sustain cognitive literary theory as a general rule. This attempt to shift the emphasis from a socialization to a physiological context is now itself being challenged by new brain science. The work of Mary Ann Wolf and others in this field may yet destabilize the physiological base that has provided the cognitive theorists with the consistency needed to support their application of common and defined reader-response processes.



 

2009 The First Annual First-Year Creative Reading and Writing Award

 

 

Dr. Bryan B. Rasmussen introduces the Festival of Scholars presentations

 

 

First-year English students present their scholarly work

CLU's 2009 Festival of Scholars

April 26th - April 30th

 

 

 

Emily Piper presents her short story, "Never Mind"

 

 

 

 

Allison Wachtel presents her scholarly piece, "Size and Simulacra: Understanding Flesh and Agency in Don DeLillo's White Noise"

 

 

 

 

Shirley Wang presents her collection of poetry, "Innocent Infatuations with Coveted Obsessions"

 

 

 

Christa Youngern presents her short story, "Tagged"

 

 

 

Karen Emmert presents her poetry collection, "Potable Prophets: A Poetic Romp Through Faith"

 

 

 

Scott Bergemann presents his poetry collection, "Everywhere is War"

 

 

Sara Burgess presents her scholarly piece, "Vampire Obsession and Mormon Values in Stephenie Meyer's Twilight Series"

 

 

Kaci Cooper presents her scholarly piece, "The Anxious Worlds of Hardy and Faulkner"

 

 

 

Tori Destocki presents her one-act play, "Caught"

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2008 Festival of Scholars English Department Presentations

Lauren Coss Little Downfalls
David Watterson “The Graduate: Reflections on Film & Life”
Jessica Porter Aging and Duality: A Non-Modernist Interpretation of “Prufrock”
Amy Lever Hollow Imagery and Imperialism in Heart of Darkness
Jaclyne Rodriguez The Effects of War on Iraqi Children
Kristina M. Skiba V, Vengeance, Villains, and Victims: A Butterfly Effect
Mario Piumetti Jr. The Vatraviča
Amanda Setto The Four Humours Throughout Medieval & Renaissance English Literature
Timothy Harker Rising, Falling and Redemption in Fallen Angels
Nicole Walker Check Your Blood
Blake Hunsicker Daniel and Cyrus before the Idol Bel
Elizabeth Fox Peter's Absent Mother
Crystal Lorraine Murguia The Witches’ Manipulation of Macbeth through Foresight
Sylvia Naranjo Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Christian Imagery Expressed through Harry and His Supporting Characters

2007 Festival of Scholars English Presentations

Jake Goodrich              “Faith and Lack Thereof: Spiritual Attitudes in the Wake of the Holocaust”
Matt Johnson                “The Journey Within: Exploring the Natural World in Heart of Darkness
Danielle Martin             “The Outlaw Kid”
Luci Masredjian            “Calvinism Misguided in Faulkner’s Light in August
Emily Moffett                “Parallelism in the Modern Prometheus”
Erin Warrell                  “The Evolution of the Little Red Riding Hood Character as Reflective of Changing Socio- Cultural Perspectives"
Sam Farinacci               EVAN
Amelia Norton              “John Donne as Crypto-Catholic: Religious Imagery in Holy Sonnets XIII – XIX”
Patrick Jennett              “Deuces Wild and Dime Novel
Daniel Thomas              “Reciprocity and Jungian Psychology in Ursula Le Guin’s Earthsea Trilogy
Briana Williams             “A Study of Inner and Outer Beauty in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast

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