Here’s the video I brought up in class.
An article that uses the OED in rich ways also opens up a cultural etymology for a word we tend to toss about without a whole lot of consideration.
For my final paper in the class i want to use The City and The City and Metropolis. I want to explore the theme of unity between the two sources. I wish to inspect how different times periods could effect how a writer wants to end a story. Will they pick a happy ending where everyone will be happy and live together in peace? Or will the author choose to shock the reader and not follow the cliche of happy ending?
The main characters both journey between two cities to discover their roles in the harmony of the cities. In Metropolis he was the mediator and helps the cities achieve peace. In The City and The City China Mievelle uses his mediating character to change nothing immediately. I want to focus on the idea of unity is literature and how that can make a break a happy ending.
For this final project, I want to write about The Outward Room and The Artificial Silk Girl and I want to talk about the main characters and how they react with the world around them, but I want to specifically talk about how Harriet is portrayed by a male author while Doris is written by a woman. I think that has a lot to do with the way they are presented, the way they act, the way they interact with men, etc. I think that would be an interesting subject to explore, especially if I research the authors to see how their lives could have possibly impacted their writing of these female characters. However, I feel as though this could be too broad a topic and I may have to narrow it down.
As of right now, my Idea is to use The City and The City and Metropolis and use them to look at the idea of a dystopia. Why do we like the idea of dystopia in fiction? How does the time period affect the form of the dystopia? I think these two pieces work well for this topic because they are both pieces of dystopian fiction from far off time periods and different cultures. Comparing and contrasting ideas from a 1920’s German film and a 2009 English novel sounds fun. Depending on the direction I go what I actually research could vary quite a bit. I could look up historical research about 1920’s Germany and England’s status in 2009. I could also do some research on Fritz Lang and China Miéville and see what their personal political views were when these works were published. Alternatively I could also compare the dystopian themes in these two works to more recent works in popular culture, but this idea in particular would take the most time so I am a bit apprehensive. My biggest worries for this topic are the difficulty of the research, and the presentation portion of the project. This topic is a particularly loaded one and it would be easy to overwhelm myself with the research. I have no doubt that it could make an interesting paper, but I have no idea if it would be fun to sit through a presentation about it. I am hoping that this is sounding as interesting to other people as it does to me. Please let me know what you think. I do not want to end up giving a boring presentation.
My final research paper is going to be about the women rights during the Great Depression. Since Millen Brand’s The Outward Room (1937) and Meridel le Sueur, “Women on the Breadlines” (1932) are both in the same era and also wrote about women main characters, so I want to compare and find the similarity from women characters about the struggles that they faced in the city, how they were confined to limiting roles such as in working and living. For career, what are the common and most popular jobs for women (if they are not married)? For living, can woman be a head of the family instead of men?
I think the women rights were very limited in this era. For example, Brand wrote that when John asked Harried to married, Harriet’s answer was no because she thought it was not right that a man would marry an insane woman (129). Another example from the same text was when Harried realized that she was not insane and she wanted to leave the hospital, but the doctor (man) said that she was insane, so other people still see her as an insane women even though she might not insane anymore, but she had to accept that judge and keep remind herself of what people had judge on her.
At the end of my paper, I want to make the decision (based on my research) that does the rights that women had at that time, were most of women happy with it? And did the rights provide women more or less benefits?
In my final proposal for this class, I am very interested in exploring Mieville’s “The City and the The City” and Virginia Woolf’s “Street Hauntings”. Through the semester, i have been very interested in the idea of sight and being seen in a city. The concept of seeing and unseeing in Mieville’s novel was incredibly interesting for me because of how completely it affects every person in that city. I want to compare this with the enormous eye image in Woolf’s piece. I have been imagining Breach as the manifestation of that enormous eye because it has the power of seeing both cities, which Virginia does by seeing all sides of London. She ‘sees’ her true self by imagining being on a balcony while walking to the Strand. This is startlingly similar to seeing and unseeing.
I also thought it would be interesting to look at Mieville’s novel through Woolf’s quote “Or is the true self neither this nor that, neither here nor there, but something so varied and wandering that it is only when we give the rein to its wishes and let it take its way unimpeded that we are indeed ourselves?” (Woolf). This suggests to the city of Orciny and the whole picture view of Ul Qoma and Beszel. Overall, I just think that these pieces enhance one another.
From this point, I really need to work on refining a specific argument that can be support by these pieces of work. If anyone has any suggestions, I would love to hear them!
For my final project, I am thinking about attempting a rather political undergoing, in analyzing the socialist sentiments underlying some of the works of the interwar period that we have examined in this class.
This semester, I already wrote an essay analyzing the portrayal of the suffering and of the plight of the working class in both Fritz Lang’s Metropolis and Meridel Le Sueur’s article “Women on the Breadlines,” which I believe could be a good starting point for the analysis of socialist sentiment, but not by any means a basis: in writing said essay—as I am looking back on it now—I remember a certain feeling of wishing I could have incorporated more of an explication as to how such themes of workers’ suffering is truly socialist rather than simply examining the ways in which each piece exemplifies such suffering (which, tragically, is all I examined).
In order to achieve this true explication of socialist themes, I was strongly considering bringing actual quotes from Karl Marx himself, from his various manifestos and books on the subjects of socialism and communism, which would give me a rather nice basis for examine such themes in the two pieces spoken of above—indeed, using points from Marx himself, I believe my paper would take on a certain credibility in that it would be utilizing the text of the very origin of all socialist sentiments.
One concern I have with this, however, is that “Women on the Breadlines” may not contain enough evidence to show that it is truly socialist in nature. Sure it is published in a magazine called The New Masses which was admittedly a communist magazine, and sure it evokes an ethos in the reader at the plight of the workers, but I can’t say that such ethos would be enough to base a half of my paper upon. I have found ample evidence for socialism in Metropolis, however, and I plan to analyze it heavily in my paper.
For the reason of a lack of enough socialist sentiment in Le Sueur’s piece, I was considering using it only slightly (to fulfill the requirement for the analysis of two in-class texts) and perhaps bringing in other interwar socialist-biased pieces, though I imagine this would take a vast amount of research and time in analyzing such pieces. And, therefore, I was thinking about focusing primarily on Metropolis.
My last concern for this proposal, though, from Metropolis drawing socialist themes and relating them to the actual writings of Marx, that it has been a while since I have viewed the movie, and my notes on such movie, though meaningful and useful, are by no means full, and it may seem thusly that my analysis may seem equally empty upon completion.
Writing to Promote Change
I wanted to entertain the idea of geographically following two characters throughout a story. However, since this class has been more than challenging in the writing department, I have decided to pick up on an essay I started earlier. What I need help with is narrowing down my idea to form one argument.
I want to explore The Artificial Silk Girl and The Outward Room. I would like to include in my essay what times were like during the Great Depression both in Europe and in the United States to equally show the hardships of both countries and I would like to show how the economic times impacted both men and women. I would like to take this information and relate it to both authors, particularly where they were during the time these novels were published. And I would like to end it with how the historical events of the time (The Great Depression) is reflected in both stories by the main characters. What message regarding this time in history is the author trying to send us?
So, how do I sum this up? Let me give it one more shot. I want to explore The Artificial Silk Girl and The Outward Room. I want to compare how The Great Depression impacted both the U.S. and Germany, hereby impacting the authors of both novels and deciphering what message both authors were trying to send their readers during this influential period in history.