Languages and Literature Undergraduate Theses


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 5 of 139
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    Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
    (2023) Wallis, Caleb; Graham, Loren; Johnson, Jeremy; Morris, Jeffrey
    Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a 14th century chivalric romance poem written in Middle English with a combination of alliterative and rhyming meter. Despite the poem’s popularity in recent media, this is all of what we know about The Green Knight’s history. When it comes to other popular mythological pieces such as The Odyssey, a title of distinct authorship gives these poems a defined time and style, which in turn leads to a figure of authority over the poem itself. Even many poems without an author, such as Beowulf, still manage to retain such a figure through their continued use in academic and popular spaces, as seen in the prominence of translators such as Chickering and Heaney. The Green Knight, however, not only has an absent author, but also any major figure of authority. No one owns The Green Knight in the way Homer owns the Odyssey, nor is anyone The Green Knight’s academic standard in the way Chickering’s translation is for Beowulf. This creates an immediate draw for any translator seeking to work with medieval source material, as such a lack of authority means that, through the skill and style of a talented translator, The Green Knight can be made one’s own in a way that The Odyssey cannot. In this light, I will be presenting my own translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. This translation is in modern prose and seeks to combine both medieval and modern language with the poem’s existing alliterative style.
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    (2022) Kearns, Jackson; Graham, Loren; Reeves, Virginia; Stewart, Kevin
    The following is a novella which follows a character, Atlas, named for the famous Atlas who held the Earth above his shoulders by his great strength—but named not for that reason—named rather for that selfsame Atlas’s size, enormous by comparison to the Earth he held above him. Imagine a man of that size. Wherever could a man like that fit into the tiny Earth he held above him? This is Atlas’s entire story in many ways. He is a man trapped—trapped in a world that is too small for him, trapped in himself and by himself, unable to escape his own perception of the cage which holds him and thus trapped in his very mind itself. As Atlas traverses his life and his relationships (or attempts to, to the best of his ability), he reveals himself to be a man who could never fit into this world. The tragedy of a man like that is Atlas’s story. Within this novella is the story of Cain and Abel, gone somewhat astray, the story of love and loss, of loyalty and betrayal, of captivity and freedom, of life and death, and of a horse named “Alula.” But most of all, this novella is the story of the human condition gone wrong and the ultimate depths of the failing of self.
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    “The Spirit of Women”: Magic Realism and Resistance in Isabel Allende’s The House of the Spirits
    (2020) Wall, Rachel; Bernardi, Debra; Hallows, Ryan; Satre, Kay
    Magic realism is a literary technique that combines the normal and the mundane with the abnormal and the fantastical in a realistic setting where people perceive everything as ordinary. Authors have been using this literary technique since the early 20th century; however, people did not widely discuss magic realism until the Latin American literary boom in the 1950s through the 1970s. During the boom, many authors used magic realism to portray social concerns, political injustices, and various types of oppression. While Isabel Allende incorporates the common theme of political oppressions, she set herself apart by using magic realism to portray feminist matters regarding patriarchal oppression. Drawing from the critic, Wendy B. Faris, this thesis portrays how Allende uses Faris’s five elements of magic realism in her novel The House of the Spirits, 1982. Faris’s five elements are the irreducible elements – the things and events that are perceived as abnormal; the merging realms – the interconnection between the living and the spirits; the disruption of time, space, and identity – the multivocal interpretations of dimensions and identity; the phenomenal world – the existential world; and the unsettling doubt – the way readers react to magic realism. This thesis examines how Allende uses each of these elements to expose and challenge political and patriarchal oppression within Chile during the 20th century.
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    An Early Winter
    (2001-04-01) Leonard, Samuel; Murphy Fox; Kay Satre; Barry Ferst
    It is utter foolishness to pray for increased sensitivities in a world like ours. I have always carried a darkness that fed and entertained me. Now, I don’t want it anymore. This is my dilemma—questioning if I can undo what I have done to myself. For so many years I have sought the shelter of detaching affinities, guarding them with introverted clutches. My bed is an uncomfortable place when I think like this. My feet tangle in the sheets, hands cover my face, my breath leaves heavily. The temperature grows excessive. I beckon tears, drawing a forced union with divinity. I envision interlocking plates of sculpted metal encasing my vital organs, shielding my capacity to feel. These armor plates contain my emotional radiation, reflecting their source, poisoning my sensitivities, sealed and buried like nuclear waste.
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    Science Fiction and Models of Humanity
    (2019-04-01) Holland, Emily; Kay Satre; Virginia Cooper; Jessica McManus
    Science Fiction as a literary genre offers a unique platform for social commentary. It presents plausible scientific advancements as a reality, and then uses this possible future to enter the discussion on society’s current models of humanity. One of the first works of Science Fiction, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein; or The Modern Prometheus, published in 1818, was written in a time overflowing with new scientific theories and advancements. Two such sciences, galvanism and vitalism, aimed to identify the principle of life within the human body. At the same time, early psychological theories discussed the psychological aspects of what make us human, specifically emotional connection and sympathy. Shelley drew on galvanic, vitalist, and early psychological theories. Her model defines humanity by emotional expression, a capability for sympathy, and a basic desire to connect. Her novel has since driven more Science Fiction works to define humanity on innovative psychological levels. One example is Kate Wilhelm’s Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang, published in 1976. In the 1970s, the ethics of cloning and genetic control were highly debated. Wilhelm’s novel creates a world where cloning is the preferred means of human generation, instead of sexual reproduction. Her model defines humanity less by biology, and more by individuality and a capability for original thought. Kate Wilhelm and Mary Shelley both use Science Fiction to present psychologically-focused models of humanity. This paper will compare and contrast how these two authors use science and psychological theory in representing life and drawing models of humanity.