Discussion 12

A. Describe your research interest. Which texts from the textbook will you include? Be as specific as you can about your idea and why you are interested in it. Wednesday

B. Comment on 3 other students’ Discussion A. Your posts can be brief, but they must be of substance (for example, “that sounds interesting’ is not substantive). You can pose some questions for further thought or you can add your own thoughts on the topic. Sunday

52 thoughts on “Discussion 12

  1. My interest in researching so far, hopefully it doesn’t change is on Donald Hall and his poem “My Son My Executioner”. Interested because of being a parent myself and how Hall came to write this poem. Reading is Bio on page 518 you see into his life of having cancer and his wife died of leukemia. Interested in how these things could affect such a poem.

    1. I considered this author as well because I’m also a parent and I really liked this poem. Even though I read the bio, the cancer and wife’s death didn’t stick out to me and it makes me wonder how that influenced his poem.

        1. I loved that poem when we read about it! I think that he would be such a great writer to choose, his works are all so deep and filled with such emotions!

    2. With the struggles he has been through, it will be interesting to find out how they relate to his work. I always enjoy reading about people that have overcome tragedy in their life and how they did it. Good luck!

    3. I enjoyed Donald Halls poem as well. I wonder if he wrote the poem for his own son? I would be interested to see where you are going with your research about how having cancer and wife dying of leukemia would affect his writing.

    4. When you talk about Hall’s life experience’s effect on the poem, you have to restrict yourself to whatever happened in his life before the poem was written. But Hall did write about coping with his wife’s death in other poems. Actually, a lot of Hall’s poetry explores death. I know you have spent a lot of time with this poem, and I will be interested to see what else you do with it.

  2. The author that I am interested in researching is Peter Pereira thanks to his poem “Reconsidering the Seven.” I am choosing him because after looking back through all the other papers, whether the informal or not, I have used his poem twice and written on subjects that this poem reminds me of. After reading the short bio on page 714 in the text I knew I’d love writing about him. I also like the fact that he is still alive and really isn’t that old.

    1. I think that you will be able to go many directions with this poem in how ever you decide to go. I think with the poem and like you said his bio they both can probable play out together. I am going the same route as you using a poem that I have written about more then once so far and just trying to expand what info I already have.

      1. That is such a cool author to write about!! I also think that writing about a young and current author will add for an interesting dynamic!

    2. I think I figured out the direction of my paper. I will still be writing on Peter Pereira poem, but I plan on including the other poems in our text that question religion because I’ve written on the similar subjects.

    3. I like how Peter is still alive and you can research to see how he is doing now. Also maybe you can add his very first work of poetry and the most recent one (if he has writing anymore recent poems) and compare how he may have felt while writing both of the poems and how that may affect his writing depending on his age and where his life may stand.

      1. I have chose my subject based on the fact that I have mentioned my poem twice in other work as well. It must be a sign that we like the subject or poet! Religion is a tough topic to talk about because it is so broad and has so many different views from each person. I commend you for choosing to write about it, I would be to afraid too.

        1. A focus on poems with “religious questioning” seems like the right size topic for a paper like this. I am curious which other poems you will look at. Sophia’s caution is I think a good one to keep in mind. It should not stop you from this topic! But being specific and not making generalizations or statements based on stereotypes will be important. This is a good topic for trying out more close reading and analysis in order to understand the fine points of the questioning of religion in literature.

  3. I think that I will be using “Happy Endings” for my paper. Margaret Atwood is fascinating to me and I would like to explore how her activism work and political work affects her writing. I find humor in how she can be a major contributor to the feminist literary traditions and yet talk about a woman as a man’s personal booty call, allow her to attempt suicide and accidentally succeed for him. I am curious about her work in other areas as well as her literary accomplishments and how they over lap.

    1. If seems that her short story “Happy Endings” has quite a bit of a feminist approach. Or should I say that she shows both sides of the booty call. I think that her work will show her work politically, activism for feminist, and being able to write interesting work all together.

      1. Happy Endings was such a different short story, I found myself doing research just for myself to figure out what type of person Margaret Atwood really is! I also had to reread the story a few times just because of the strange way it was written, it has no happiness in it at all! The title itself is almost an ironic spin on the the rest of the story.

    2. I think the fact that she brought both sides of it to the story is why I am so intrigued by it. Her style of writing I really did just find interesting. Kira I agree that there is no true happy ending but if you think about life there is no real happy ending, we all die. The happy comes with the in between. The happy ending in this story I think was the sarcastic and ironic humor.

    3. I agree with K Pliska, the “happy ending” is not at the end at all and more about life in general. It was a very real piece of work that made you think about different sides to every story. I enjoyed it so much, that I am going to write about her as well.

      1. I really enjoy the discussion going on here. K, based on what you have written, I think you might be interested in Atwood’s little book called The Tent. Any focus on Atwood needs a limited topic because she writes like crazy, so there is too much to handle at once. The Tent is most like “Happy Endings.” To me one of the ideas in “Happy Endings” is that we have this phrase “happily ever after” but what are the details of that? Atwood has been playing with the fairy tale genre for a long time, and I think this story follows that. But also, I think it is a story about writing, about the details and perspective that make a plot. And that is the focus of The Tent too, I think. It is safe to say that all of Atwood’s work has as one of its topics a focus on perspective (Brandon, it is interesting to consider this attention to multiple perspectives a major tenet of feminism; I think yes, it is); the book that makes perspective its central concern is Alias Grace. If you or Erin need any further suggestions, let me know: big, big Atwood fan here!

  4. I have decided that I am going to research Robert Frost. I had to memorize one of his poems in middle school and ever since I did that project I always remembered his name as a poet. I did my paper on Birches so I think I have a special liking to Frost. I enjoy the language he uses and how he depicts everyday life of a man. I would like to explore why he wrote some of the works he wrote and what inspired him. Since I enjoyed writing and disecting Birches, I assume I will enjoy researching other works that Frost created. Since he was one of the most famous poets of his century, there is a lot of information I can gather about him, which will make my research more thorough.

      1. I am not familiar with Robert Frost’s works but I decided to do some more reading on him because of this post. He is a very interesting man and puts deep though into his poetry.

    1. Great choice Sophia, I enjoyed his “Birches” and would love to explicate more of his work. It seems to be more mature, complex and deeper than some of the other works we read. Good luck!

      1. I just loved “Birches” and the imagery that was spoken of reminded me of Alaska. I am slowly starting to get a better grasp on Frost’s life. A lot of information is complex and hard to understand at times.

        1. It’s interesting to think about the effect of landscape on poetry, especially someone like Frost, and it seems natural that he would appeal to those of us living in wintry, woodsy places. I am interested in some of these words being used to describe his poetry, such as “mature” and “deep.” I would want anyone using such words to follow up with specific attention and explanation as to the meanings of these things. Does mature mean contemplative rather than playful? “Birches” is such a fun poem with its fantasy element. Frost is certainly a crowd-pleaser!

  5. I have decided to research Langston Hughes because in highschool I chose him to do a research paper on because his poems were touching and they just kind of grabbed me so im going to further my research with him. The poems that he has written that are in this book are “Mother to Son” “The Weary Blues” “Saturday Night” and a couple more.

    1. I almost went with Hughes also because of his short story “Salvation” which I find interesting and wrote a paper about earlier this year. I think with his bio, short story, and poems that you have a good start already.

      1. I almost chose him also because of the story “Salvation.” I both enjoyed the story and was angered by it at the same time. I do have a firm standing in religion so for me to have a story about people shoving someone, especially a child, into something that they may not be ready for is upsetting. I did enjoy his writing though.

        1. That is awesome that you have previously done a research paper on this poet and you are going to further investigate his work. It will be interesting to dig deeper.

          1. It does sound like you are inspired but not having a real specific idea yet. I wonder what you wrote about in high school and what questions that left you with that you would want to go further into. I wonder what your impression was of Hughes’ prose after having some knowledge of his poetry. I’ll be interested to see where you go with your paper as you develop a specific idea.

  6. I have decided to research Langston Hughes because in highschool I chose him to do a research paper on because his poems were touching and they just kind of grabbed me so im going to further my research with him. The poems that he has written that are in this book are “Mother to Son” “The Weary Blues” “Saturday Night” and a couple more.

    1. Langston Hughes has several short stories and poem you can focus on in your paper. I find Hughes very intelligent and a very good writer. I enjoyed his work in the textbook. I like how you did a research paper on him during high school and you can expand and maybe good more into further detail in this research paper.

  7. For my research I have chose to write on John Keats, his writings have been extremely influential in my life. I love his motivational poems, they are wonderful for sports. He is such a idealistic romantic writer. I am so extremely excited to write about him!

    1. Upon further thought, I have changed my author to Emily Dickinson. I think her writings are rather dark and brilliant. I relate to many of them, therefore it could be almost healing to write about her

      1. It’s interesting that you call Dickinson’s poems dark and brilliant, two opposite things. Is there a struggle inherent in her poems. Dickinson is heavy with strange or obscure imagery. This makes her fun to explicate, but attention must be paid to the exact details of her language. Being specific will be extremely important.

  8. I am going to do my paper on the poet Emily Dickinson. She has seven poems in our textbook, two of which caught my interest, “I’m Nobody! Who Are You?” and “Because I Could Not Stop for Death.” She writes about the madness of society, how people think, act, and behave. I am interested in learning more about her life, her other works, and how she interprets others through her poems. I anticipate it being an exciting tale, she is considered among the greatest of American poets.

    1. I find Emily Dickinson very fascinating and mysterious. She had such a quiet life and no one really knew how amazing she was as a poet until after her death. She has such a unique style and some of her poems are still a mystery to people today. It will be great fun for you to uncover her life story and learn more about how to read her poetry. Have fun and Good luck!

      1. I like that you have identified specific topics of her poetry that interest you. This is a good step in the focusing process. A lot of stuff is out there about Dickinson’s life, some of it total gossip, so scrutinize your sources. The reason for the lack of publishing during her life is a controversial topic that the scholars do not all agree about. The first publication of her poems was under the direction of a family member who heavily edited the unconventional punctuation out. It’s hard to imagine what would be lost without Dickinson’s unique use of punctuation! I consider Dickinson one of the greatest poets of any time, anywhere in the world. (Tanya, I was hoping you would add a Dickinson poem to your topic. She wrote about faith again and again. Your post here also brings up the question of defining the focus of your topic, such as “religion” and “faith,” two different things.

  9. I have decided to do my research on John Updike. He wrote the short story “A&P” that we all read in the first unit this semester. I just really enjoyed this story and the more I read about him the more I liked his style of writing and the way he wasn’t afraid to write about controversial issues in his time. He really is a decorated short story author (Pulitzer Prize twice, National Medal of Honor twice, and appeared on the cover of Time twice!) and intelligent man. Unfortunately he passed away just about 5 years ago due to lung cancer.

    1. That was a great story and like you I found his style of writing to be interesting. The controversial subjects are what make his writing in my opinion. I did not realize how decorated of an author he was.

    2. I enjoyed that story too, the way each character was described made a clear mental image of them making it that much better. He accomplished a lot in his life, sad that he’s gone now.

      1. While I love “A&P” (because of the voice of the narrator), and I had to read the Rabbit novels in college, I am pretty unfamiliar with Updike in general, so I will be very excited to have the opportunity to learn more. I know he has had an interesting relationship with the feminist critics, and I think we can see why already in “A&P.” I have heard that he considered The Witches of Eastwick as his response, but I have no source and cannot remember where I heard that. At any rate, The Witches of Eastwick is a pretty hilarious 80s movie!

  10. I will be exploring more about Margaret Atwood and her role in the feminist movement. This will go well with my last paper written about Gender Focus and will allow me to expand on that topic. Margaret Atwood led a very interesting life to include writer, inventor, activist and more. We are already familiar with her short story, “Happy Endings”. I look forward to reading other works by her as well.

    1. I’ll have to look up what she invented since I didn’t know she was an inventor. I’m still a little confused on the exact topic of my paper, but it looks like you have a very clear idea on what you will be writing about. Good luck!

      1. You can see more about what I have to offer about Atwood above. Focusing on her participation in the feminist movement is a good narrowing into focus. It will be a tough topic as she has spanned a couple of different iterations of feminism in her life time. I would say that you do not have a lot of time to read stacks of her books. How will you go about deciding what to read? She writes poems, stories, novels, and essays. I would say her most overtly feminist novel is The Handmaid’s Tale. My personal favorites are her poems from the 70s, where she really explores the role of power in domestic relationships (Power Politics, Are You Happy are the titles of the two collections I refer to). Here is an example:

        You fit into me
        like a hook into an eye

        a fish hook
        an open eye

        Ha ha! I just love the biting humor.

  11. I chose to do my research paper on Tennessee Williams. He wrote the play The Glass Menagerie. I did some research on Williams for my paper 3 and I became very interested in his writing. Also his background story about his family and past experiences.

    1. I personally didn’t enjoy The Glass Menagerie as much as some other classmates. It might be my own preference, but I would be interested to see his other work as well!

      1. I’m really glad to hear you will take up Williams. My favorite of his plays is Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. You will find a similar theme of family dynamics gone dramatic in that play. A biographical approach to his plays is pretty much what the critics have done over the years. I had never read The Glass Menagerie before I chose it for this class, and what surprised me the most were the stage directions and the character narrating to the audience. I was so intrigued because these intrusive strategies reminded me of the alienation techniques that Bertolt Brecht used in the 1930s. He believed that the audience should be reminded that it is not IN the story, that the story is a creation to manipulate the audience. This was a big change from the Romantics who believed a good story sucks you in and makes you forget the real world (these are huge simplifications I am using, but I just want you to have an idea of what the possibilities are). Even though Williams highlights the non-reality of the play in the play, the play still feels pretty real. I was fascinated by that.
        But from what I know of you, I imagine you are more interested in the family dynamics of the play. I will be curious to see what you decide to focus on.

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