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.


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.



2010 English Capstone Presentations

Emily Piper

"Never Mind" (original short story)

Allison Wachtel

"Size and Simulacra: Understanding Flesh and Agency in Don DeLillo's White Noise"

Shirley Wang

"Innocent Infatuations with Coveted Obsessions" (collection of original poems)

Christa Youngern

"Tagged" (original short story)

Karen Emmert

"Potable Prophets: A Poetic Romp Through Faith" (collection of original poems)

Scott Bergemann

"Everywhere is War" (collection of original poems)

Sara Burgess

"Vampire Obsession and Mormon Values in Stephenie Meyer's Twilight Series"

Kaci Cooper

"The Anxious Worlds of Hardy and Faulkner"

Tori Destocki

"Caught" (original one-act play)

2009 English Capstone Presentations

Student(s):
Katherine Bierach

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. James Bland
Room 621

In "Room 621," Natalie, a college student who works in a bakery, decides to accept a wealthy customer's proposition for a paid sexual affair. The relationship allows them not only to escape from their drab daily lives, but also an opportunity for them to rethink honesty, trust, and self-valuation. Blurring the lines of relationship labels, Natalie and Rob view their encounters in different lights, but a growing sense of intimacy and empowerment keep driving them back toward each other. The purpose of the story is to examine how happiness and love, without necessitating each other, affect others in our lives, and to challenge the fairy tale notion of true love and happy endings. I re-wrote "Room 621" multiple times, experimenting with verb tenses and plot twists, feeling my way forward to an organic close.


Student(s):
Shannon Anderson

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Bryan Rasmussen
Batman: A Return to the Byronic Hero
The reappearance of the Batman character over 75 years speaks volumes about its reflection of American social transformations through the Great Depression, the Cold War, and current problems of globalization and terrorism. However, the conspicuous Byronic characeristics between economic standing and vigilantism have never been studied in depth. This presentation reexamines the emergence of the Byronic hero and identidifies the social transformations Batman echoes. The research focuses on the contradictions necessitated between mortailty and the relationship of wealth and justice in a modern, global context. The method of approach was the analysis of two Batman graphic novels and a breakdown of the visual and ethical progression of the Batman character since its creation in 1939. Unlike traditional Byronism, the character's philosophy of rebellion. defiance, and skepticism are ultimately beneficial to society. He takes the role of a social critic, yet this socially beneficial twist to the Byronic hero does not free him from guilt, bitterness, or exile. This research will add nuance to our understanding of Byronism and the complexities that arise when added to the already complex mixture of twentieth century heroes, morals, and political policies.


Student(s):
Nicholas Guarino

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. James Bland
Space Dust
Space Dust is the title of a novel that I am writing. What I will be presenting is the opening section from that novel. The story was deeply inspired by the American tradition literary Sinicism, calling writers such as Mark Twain and Kurt Vonnegut. It is about a kid from Schenectady, named Laurence Stevenson, who writes a screenplay about a terrorist who blows up the whole world. The story follows the odyssey Laurence goes on to make his script and reality.


Student(s):
Krista Jones

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Marja Mogk
Unsent Letters
"Unsent Letters" is a creative nonfiction memoir comprising a series of letters written to people or objects in my environment. The purpose of these letters is not necessarily to communicate with those addressed, but to reveal the internal dialogues with others that often take place within my own mind. The letters range in focus from everyday serendipities to more serious reflections, and from the comic to the earnest. They reveal a neurotic self-consciousness that shapes what is perceived and inflects its articulation. This presentation will include a selection of letters representative of the overall tone of the project.

Student(s):
Liane Lefler

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Marja Mogk
A Tale that Turned Tail
This is a contemporary young adult fantasy fiction short story about learning that surfaces do not always relfect what lies underneath. The story's protagonist, Princess Javelin, is independent and adventerous, but she nevertheless falls madly in love with exactly the right man: the dashing Prince Bertrum. When Bertrum sets out on a vainglorious quest to seek the legendary Phantasm, Javelin steps into action to save her beloved from certain death. Along the journey, however, Javelin gets a hand from an unwanted helper; a lowly courtier whose duty to protect Javeline hides his own love for her. Javelin's mission challenges her to discover her own strengths as she faces life-threatening trials and, ultimately, challenges her to discover what love really looks like. This story was inspired by genre stories that move beyond restrictive gender typing by representing female characters as proactive agents: Rob Reiner's The Princess Bride and Disney's Mulan.


Student(s):
Marijel Melo

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Marja Mogk
Change the Subject
Menstruation during choir practice, bathroom bullying, losing a mom at sixteen: "Change the Subject" is a creative non-fiction piece that pays homage to memories often left unspoken and filed away under the brain's "do not go there" slot. The piece is comprised of a handful of "visual snapshots"--or vignettes--that act as meticulous story tellers, stringing and resurrecting past memories into the form of a written story.



Student(s):
Cyndy Murphy

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Marja Mogk
Swimming in the Deep End
This project is a creative work consisting of nineteen original poems sharing the common theme of loss. The goal of this poetry compilation was to creatively investigate and emotionally validate the different circumstances surrounding loss. The nineteen poems deal separately with the death of loved ones, the loss of self, failed romantic relationships, the question of female gender roles, the destruction of the environment, financial struggles, and the loss of freedom through incarceration. "Swimming in the Deep End" has some feminist qualities in the poetry that are very loosely based on the works of Adrienne Rich. Dylan Thomas and Robert Frost were also inspirational to this project.


Student(s):
Jennifer Swanson

Faculty Mentor:
Dr.Sigmar Shcwarz
Flannery O'Connor's Wise Blood and the Gospel of John 9- The Blind Man's Journey to Sight
John 9, the story of the blind man who is made capable of sight, sheds light on Flannery O'Connor's discussion of blindness in her work, "Wise Blood." The duality of physical and spiritual blindness is a theme present in both works, and the study of this theme reveals a similar message, or warning, to the general public. The miracle of John 9 is a man who is physically cured of his blindness and gains spiritual sight as well while the pharisees remain spiritually blind; the miracle in "Wise Blood" is that Hazel Motes, though he physically blinds himself, finds himself finally capable of spiritual sight. In both works, material sight acts as a hindrance in the quest for spiritual sight.


Student(s):
Lindsay Taylor

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Joan Wines
A Poetry of American Public Spaces: Late 17th through late 20th Centuries
My goal in this series of poems has been to capture some of the atmospheres and attitudes of certain key time periods in U.S. history, conveying them through poetic descriptions of the country's social spaces. Each poem attempts to represent its historical moment, in part by illustrating the social rituals of a public gathering place. The poems present various community sites, each reflecting familiar milestones in a timeline of American history. The poems' settings animate and resonate with the country's culture at various historical moments, and each poem indicates how a site has adapted and been renewed as the country's communities have changed over time and been affected by specific events. I chose to reference historical periods of significance, then chose some of the most popular public spaces, researched the era and atmosphere, and synthesized this information in my poems.



Student(s):
Brittany Reaves
Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Marja Mogk
City Lights
"City Lights" is a short book that is about the journey if a young woman's life. She learns the difference of her past sheltered life in comparison to the large, exhilarating lifestyle that she eventually adapts to including the love of a stranger. The coincidental occaisons as to where they meet are fortunate enough for Charlotte to have caught his eye, but she is too focused on adapting to this new life to notice. This is a fictional love story that happens when it is least expected. It always appeared to be so easy to write a fictional book but, in turn, I was proved wrong. The main process or method of writing this short story was basically just writing down all of my ideas when they came to me.


2009 First Year Research Presentations

Student(s):
Nicholas Bague

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Bryan Rasmussen
Tourism and Authenticity
In my paper, I synthesize two ethnigraphic accounts in order to find a deeper, implicit message. It seemed that the authenticity of the Chinese and Danish cultures of Chinatown and Solvang, respectively, had been tailored to appease the American consumerism that threatened their cultures. According to Clifford Geertz and Edward Bruner, culture texts only illustrate what authors feel is most important in light of inevitable ethnocentricity, giving the texts more touristic attributes than ethnographic. According to Dydia DeLyser. tourists try to escape from something rather than quest for something, similar to the escape from American society that the authors seemingly expected. In her essay, she suggests that rather that tourist spots being authentic themselves, they give tourists merely the experience of authenticity. From here, I conclude that rather than being disappointed specifically in Chinatown and Solvang, the authors are implicitly voicing disappointment at the effects of Americanization of foreign cultures.



Student(s):
Bradley Boelman

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Bryan Rasmussen
Authenticity: The Cultural Facade
This paper uncovers a tension in the concept of cultural authenticity by comparing representations of two seemingly dissimilar cultures. My research is derived from two "culture texts," which are paper written from first-hand observation of a foreign area and the area's culture. In my paper, using the texts, I argue that both places are not in fact separate from American culture, but rather American cuture with non-American elements, illustrating a tension between cultural authenticity and inauthenticity. They show that how the presence of foreign elements pushes these two "foreign" places outside of dominant American culture altogether, thereby preserving "authenticity" as something distinctively "American." To argue this, this paper compares the texts to the writing by Bronislaw Maliowski and Richard Handler on the subjects of culture and authenticity.


Student(s):
Christa Carlson

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Marja Mogk
"New Eve"
"New Eve" is a short story that retells the traditional nativity tale through the Virgin Mary's point of view. Unlike the Mary we meet through the Gospels of Luke and Matthew, this version pictures Mary as a contemporary high school student in Ventura County and follows the events of her life through her own first-person account. As a "new" or second Eve, Mary is not the saintly innocent woman that she has been historically understood to be, but a woman with sexual desires, complex social relationships, and conflicting thoughts on the strange events that befall her. The story falls within a larger American tradition of retelling the Gospel narratives, however unconventionally, in an effort to understand and appreciate them (e.g.Andrew Lloyd Webber's rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar, Martin Scorsese's The Last Temptation of Christ, or Margaret George's novel Mary, Called Magdalene).

Student(s):
Megan Casanova

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Marja Mogk
The Green Table
The Green Table is a one-act play about a hardworking cafe owner, Chris Dreyer, and his estranged teenaged granddaughter, Marle. After years apart, Marle has come to live with Chris. The two struggle to overcome their mututal awkwardness and reconcile the past as they both mourn the loss of Chris's daughter, Marle's mother. Separately, they find meaning in their memories, in music, and dance. Ultimately, they find comfort in knowing that they struggle together. The play explores the ways in which we try to generate certainty--through religion, for example--in face of life's uncertainties, and the stress that this generates in relationships. It also explores the intersections of multiple losses; the loss of a loved one, the loss of the past, and the loss of economic security as Chris's cafe is increasingly in danger of failing.


Student(s):
Adam Erickson

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Bruce Stevenson
Thoreau's Vision of America
Scholars have long studied Henry David Thoreau's Walden; or, Life in the Woods as a peculiarly and profoundly American social critique, as a meditation on the nature of one man's self-sufficient and independent existence,or as a guidebook for economical living or self-improvement. This paper argues that Thoreau's Walden embraced the rhetoric of individualism of his era, combining it with an exploration of the power of consciously coexsiting with the natural landscape, to provide not only a method of living deliberately but also a model for coexisting with other peoples as well.



Student(s):
Suzuye Nomura

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Penny Cefola
Recognizing the Problem
I did not have room in my hectic high school social life for depression, so instead it consumed me from within and made my life a mental living pandemonium. No one else could see or understand the battle raging within my five foot frame, but I could feel it like a heavy cloak weighing me down. This is the story of my story bout with depression and how I coped. The purpose of my study was to prove that depression is nothing like a cold, it cannot be dealt with in a week, and that if depression is dealt with actively healing can begin. Introspection, interviews and research on various authors of related literature comprised my project and made it whole. Excruciating life experiences do not have age limits or time restraints. They do not discriminate or hold grudges, but they do give us exceptional opportunites to better ourselves and those around us.


Student(s):
Kristina Ritcher

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Jim Bond
How to be a Hero: Harry Potter Reexamined
Within the limited field of Harry Potter academics, scholars have generally understood heroism to be confined to one person--Harry Potter-- who fits a specific list of classical attributes. In light of the final installment of the series, however, this understanding of heroism in an oversimplification as we see multiple heroes who do not fit the mold. In this presentation, I will explore a broader definition of heroism that allows for multiple heroes. This heroism rises more from love and community than prophecy or inheritance. I base my examination on a close study of Deathly Hallows, consideration of all the previous books in the Harry Potter series, as well as research by other scholars in the field.


Student(s):
Brigette Stevenson

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Joan Wines
Beware the Red Book: A Work of Children's Literature
Beware the Red Book is a work of children's literature meant to have its audience question the world around them. Evelyn Brown, the story's reluctant heroine, discovers a mysterious notebook, and strange things start to come to light. However, not all of them are as wonderful as they seem. Evelyn is the only one who can save herself, but can the reader be saved easily? The story satirizes the elements of fantasy in literature. Told from the point of view of a sarcastic and omniscient narrator, Beware the Red Book attempts to make its reader as much a character in the story as the characters in the story itself. With these unusual methods, hopefully children will learn that reading a book might very well be the start to the adventure they have been waiting for.



Student(s):
Calvin Wiley, Nicholas Bague, Bradley Boelman
Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Bryan Rasmussen
Deeper Knowledge
Every ethnographer studies his culture through a sort of film, a lens that puts certain aspects in better focus and affects any analysis he writes. In writing this paper, I attempted to analyze that lens and derive what qualities create to anoteworthy ethnography. I argue that "atypical attributes," deep and personal knowledge of the group at hand, separate the truly excellent works. I derive my evidence from two mini-ethnographies, or "culture texts," written by Molly King and Garret Henry, each of whom visited Chinatown and returned with opposing analyses. I also use evidence from scholars such as Clifford Geertz and Johannes Fabian to advance my argument. I end my paper by suggesting that it is the existence of these atypical attributes in a group of people that create culture to start with.


 

2008 English Capstone 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 English Capstone 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