Humanities

The Split and Alienation of Iranian-American Identity

Yasna Kalanaki

Irvine Valley College

In terms of culture, “men make their own history” and man’s creation is only as good as himself (Said 5). Thus, our history is riddled with all the prejudices and complexities that we ourselves exhibit. The history of Iran is uniquely characterized by this man-made history – one of self-inflicted Orientalism that cut Iran’s past from it’s present and future, forming the split within the Iranian identity. While this split has been mostly reconciled in native Iranians, it has taken a new form within the Iranian-American community, leading to their alienation within the U.S. as both an isolated minority in the eyes of the White Gaze and from other minorities. This position has stifled Iranian-American expression and threatens their growth as a community. Therefore, a reconciliation through a confrontative reeducation of history is necessary for Iranian-Americans to close this split and regain an identity that faces the legacy of history and meets with the demands of contemporary geopolitical struggles.

“Must See the Bones”: Critiquing Ballet’s Methodology Through the Lens of Nietzsche

Zoe Briscoe

Emerson College

It is well established that ballet dancers are at increased risk of developing injuries and eating disorders relative to the general population. This phenomenon results from ballet’s methodology, which is fundamentally self-negating: the technique, the tools, and the instruction are all harmful to ballet dancers. The way ballet operates can be explained using Nietzsche’s aesthetic philosophy. Ballet cannot be classified according to his aesthetic evaluations, because it is a fusion of both aesthetics and Christian morality. Ultimately, ballet instead functions as an ascetic practice—it both hurts dancers and characterizes the damage done as empowering.

Temporarily Blinded: Brontë’s Ableist Descriptions of Disability in Jane Eyre

Brianna Schunk

Wilkes University

When scholars are asked to highlight disability issues in classic literature, many will turn to iconic characters such as Tiny Tim (from A Christmas Carol), Quasimodo (from The Hunchback of Notre Dame), or Lenny (from Of Mice and Men). Though some people will highlight Jane Eyre for Bertha’s character, very few will bring up Edward Rochester as an example of disability in classic literature. Rochester is rarely viewed as a passive character upon whom things are done. However, Rochester’s character in the final chapters of the novel is a victim to disability stereotypes, and Brontë’s treatment of him as a character with a disability is insensitive and cruel. This essay details the various ways in which Brontë uses disability as a plot device and surrounds it with negative and stereotypically ableist images that value the abled body over the disabled body.

Expanding the Limited Self: Restructuring and Redefining Expression in Lorde’s “Coal” and “Black Mother Woman”

Ann Magner

Oklahoma Christian University

During the American post-Civil Rights era of the ‘60s and ‘70s, non-dominant racial, sexual, and ethnic groups sought to break out of restricting languages conventions in writing. Many writers such as Audre Lorde developed postmodern techniques which emphasized experimentation with language structures and manipulation of conventional themes and narratives. Scholars discuss Lorde’s intentional use of anger and eroticism in writing, as well as her skill in restructuring syntax and reworking connotations. Furthermore, Lorde’s status as a Black, lesbian, feminist, socialist, mother influenced many autobiographical elements in her writings. Lorde’s poetry uses fragmented sentence and image structures to explore identity and intersectionality. Religious and maternal imagery also evoke questions regarding agency and the origins of self-actualization. Employing postmodern techniques throughout “Coal” and “Black Mother Woman,” Lorde problematizes simplistic ideas about identity by revealing the complicated origins of selfhood.

An Examination of The Colbert Report Through the Lens of the Theory of Egalitarian Comedy: What Happens When the Audience Laughs, But Comedy Fails?

Ariane Ivanier

Emerson College

In this research, the concept of what it means to create effective comedy is explored. This is examined through an analysis of the political context of the Bush administration and the cultural context of the rise of infotainment and how those two phenomenons culminated in the creation of The Colbert Report. Through a close reading of the show’s meta-commentary and core themes of ridicule and parody of obsession over media pundits, patriotism, and religion, this paper explores what it means to create comedy that might succeed in its ability to make an audience laugh, but fail as an effective commentary on the systems that it mocks.

Growing Pains: The Dysfunctional Family’s Power Struggle in the Grimm Brothers’ “Hansel and Gretel” Coming of Age Story

Rachael Oatman

John Brown University

The Grimm Brothers’ fairy tale “Hansel and Gretel” offers a glimpse into the struggle for independence for two children coming of age within a dysfunctional family. To gain their autonomy, Hansel and Gretel must fight for it by confronting the current source of control, their stepmother. Hansel and Gretel prove themselves independent persons by killing the witch, who is the transformed stepmother. However, their newfound power may only lead to a false sense of a happy ending with a cycle of familial dysfunction.

Highlights from previous editions

“Where Words Fail, Music Speaks”: The Experience of Adapting Literature to Music

Laney J. Fowle, Kyle Bishop, and Matthew Nickerson

Southern Utah University

Adaptation is a relatively new yet growing academic field consisting mainly of research on the modification of book into film. This study endeavors to expand the discourse on adaptation to the modal transformation of literary works to music. By using this specific adaptive type to examine the process and functionality of adapted works, I was able to address several key aspects of modern adaptation, including the hot-button issue of fidelity to an established source text, the role of adaptor as co-author, and the ability of solitary artistic modes to augment each other when combined. The resulting personal attempts at adaptation of a short poem to an accompanied vocal composition and an unaccompanied choral work were accomplished by the practical application of adaptive theory presented in several documents on the strategies behind the adaptive process. In using an experience-based approach, this study provides a hands-on look at the complex processes involved in adaptation and contributes to the growing body of adaptation research.

Jargons and Pidgins and Creoles, Oh My!

Emily Gray

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Linguistics, as defined by the Oxford English Dictionary, is “the science of studying language, including phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, and historical linguistics” (OED.com). Within this field, the study of pidgin and creole languages is the source of much controversy and disagreement. Due to their divergence from typical linguistic features and development patterns, pidgins and creoles have long been ignored by the linguistics community. Considered by many to be “inferior, haphazard, broken” versions of “older, more established languages,” these so-called “bastard tongues” were written off as unworthy of study (Todd 1). Only recently have these forms of language garnered interest from linguistic scholars known as Creolists. However, compared to their more respected and recognized counterparts, the study of pidgins and creoles remains incomplete. Modern Creolists are able to agree neither on the accepted definitions for the terms pidgin and creole nor on the status of a number of languages claiming to be either of the aforementioned terms (Muysken and Smith 3). While usually studied together, the terms pidgin and creole are used to distinguish between two very different and unique forms of speech and language (“The Origins of Pidgin” 1).

"So Dead and Bald" Destroys the World: A Psychological Critique of Object Metamorphosis in Infinite Jest's Game of Eschaton

R. Christian Phillips

Capital University

“Do not underestimate objects! . . . It is impossible to overstress this: do not underestimate objects” (Wallace 394). Even the most cursory reading of David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest reveals the importance of objects to this work. Objects affect and vigorously direct all the characters throughout, from the tennis balls being continuously squeezed by students at the elite Enfield Tennis Academy (ETA) to the veil Joelle van Dyne wears to the plethora of drugs being consumed and, most importantly, to the cartridge of James O. Incandenza’s final film, which is given the ultimate power of life and death over anyone unfortunate enough to view it. Yet, the twenty-two pages devoted to describing a single game of Eschaton–played by a group of pre-pubescent ETA students referred to as Combatants–most clearly expose how a simple object, or group of objects, can take on greater meaning and create devastating change for the individuals interacting with them. “A standout moment,” this game is described as “a mash-up of Model U.N., tennis, and calculus . . . that ends in broken bones, tears, and hilarity” (Holub). A psychological critique of the objects used during the Eschaton game reveals their metamorphosis from mere objects into Things that actively affect the Combatants and ultimately destroy this game of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) while drastically altering the real world lives of all those involved.

Painting the Negative Space: How Faulkner Silhouettes the Living Ghost of Flem Snopes

Jessica Franczi

Reinhardt University

Like porch lights, mosquito bites, and last-minute glasses of sweet tea, ghost stories are an experience innate to the South after dark. Whether or not a person believes them, these tales have the ability to characterize houses, streets, even entire cities. For the citizens of Frenchman’s Bend in William Faulkner’s The Hamlet, convoluted stories of Antebellum and Civil War ghosts permeate the area. Distracted by the buried men of the past, the people of Frenchman’s Bend fail to realize that they themselves are living in one of the most sprawling, epic ghost stories ever to unfold in Mississippi: the story of the rise of Flem Snopes. As Snopes, a veritable living ghost, wreaks havoc on the town with his invisible, untraceable hands, Faulkner offers his readers a valuable truth: sometimes, the only way to see a ghost is to observe its effect on others.