Quality Education in the Benedictine Tradition
Fr. Rene Kollar, O.S.B., DeanSchool of Humanities and Fine ArtsPhone: 724-805-2343Fax: 724-805-2812
The School of Humanities and Fine Arts
Last Tuesday, December 8, 2015, our senior English majors presented their senior projects in the Coverlet Gallery. The presenters included Bridget Synan, Ashley Likar, Jessica Kissel, Kathryn Klawinski, Morgan Stout, Jordan Frodente, Kathryn Ordiway, and Alexis Zawelensky. Each presenter summarized their senior theses in an 8-10 minute presentation in which they choose to utilize PowerPoint’s or to read a passage of their papers. The theses dug deep into popular works in order to contemplate interesting arguments about a particular novel.
Both Bridget Synan and Alexis Zawelensky argued a rethinking of the love plot in the American classic The Great Gatsby. Some of the topics that our presenters explored in this broad analysis of the novels were: Is novel really a story about love? Or is it a commercial enterprise, an elaborate advertisement for a lavish and glorious American project that relishes breaking the rules in sexy indulgence? Does Daisy believe in Gatsby? Do you? Or, is The Great Gatsby a war novel more like Hemingway's universe of tortured impotent men and frisky manly women than some jazzed up Horatio Alger?
Our seniors with a creative writing concentration produced a compilation of short stories as their senior theses with a similar theme throughout the work. We heard from Jordan Frodente about the parallel universe Laborte where magical objects reveal how charmed or damned our lives can be.
Ashley Likar wrote her thesis on how Faulkner imagines a religious struggle in his atheistic world where ordinary characters attempt to work the promise of Easter's resurrection. Jessica Kissel considered how Homer pits his conventional hero, Odysseus, against the divine Athena, pointing toward a moral rectitude that reinvisions power. The other theses covered topics of attaching buttons over children's eyes, mutilating mermaids, and beetles eating out pianos, trees, and, well, basically, brains.
The night was filled with literary contemplation and criticism that can only be found in the English Department. Congratulations to all of our seniors who presented their theses last week!
2010 graduate Meg Matich has published five new poems in the Alice Blue Review. Each of these poems relate to the subject of cold, whether it is the feeling of being cold, descriptions of animals that live in cold climates, or the scenery associated with cold weather. Here is one of her poems entitled "Cold":
"Imagine the moon coated in snow calving from its surface. Avalanche to the earth, midnight to the sea."
You can see the rest of the poems here: http://www.alicebluereview.org/twentyfive/poetry/matich.html
A big congratulations to Joseph Carroll, SVC English major who graduated 2014. His paper, “Screw-turn-izing the Governess’s Touching Story: Pedophilia in Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw” was published this month in Sigma Tau Delta’s yearly journal The Review. This prestigious undergraduate journal received more than 1000 submissions!Carroll’s essay is much more than witty wordplay. He digests a mass of scholarship on Henry James’s most famous story to make sense of the lacuna, narration, and social critique of this puzzling novella. Departing from its frame as a ghost story, Carroll argues that the embedded narrator, the Governess, is viciously deceptive. He explains, “this essay argues that the Governess can be reasonably read as a child molester who hopes to either conceal her abuse of the children with her deceptive manuscript or convince herself that she did not commit such atrocities. In providing this disturbing interpretive possibility, I show that James’s psychological thriller locates evil neither in the paranormal nor in the corruptibility of innocence but in the tangible, dreadful reality of deviant human behavior and adult perversions.” Carroll shows James moving beyond representing childhood in Victorian splendor by critiquing adult investments in childhood purity at the cost of corruption.