Plan for the Exam

March 14th, 2017

Here are my notes on how to use some of the text for the exam:

In Fun Home, Alison Bechdel goes through melancholic mourning. Upon learning about her father’s closeted gay identity, Bechdel is left with ambiguous emotions towards her father, which she has to reconcile before she can loosen her libido from her father. I will be reading Bechdel’s novel through Freud’s theory on mourning and melancholia. Freud believed, that the melancholic self-criticism was in fact directed towards a lost object and thus pathological, and Alison Bechdel in Fun Home, argue that melancholia is generative and allows the mourner to their new identity in the absence of the loved one. Along with Freud, I will also incorporate Judith Butler and her theory about how our gendered behavior is a performance and thus a learned behavior. In the graphic novel there are a lot of instances where we see that.

Fun Home can also be considered an elegy. Bechdel subverts some of the conventions of elegy. Fun Home is anti-elegiac. Bechdel doesn’t try to console herself for her father’s loss. Instead she attacks his identity. In a traditional elegy, the mourned person is often apotheosized by the end. That doesn’t happen in Bechdel’s case. Similary, I will also be using Virginia Woolf’s “Mark on the Wall” as a text that works with the conventions of the elegy.

I am going to use Emily Dickinson’s poems and show how they conform/diverge from Professor Chu’s definition of a lyric i.e musicality of the poem, exploration of heightened sense of consciousness etc. Professor Chu’s definition of lyricism is mirrored in Dickinson’s poem. (I am not sure if that will go under theory or genre but I am hoping it will cover one of those categories)

I am also planning on using De Bois theory of double consciousness and how Gwendolyn Brook’s poems explore that in variety of different ways. The speaker in Brook’s poem often look at themselves through the eyes of others. There sense of self is unstable and that ties directly to double consciousness.  I think that will also fall under understanding a text through a use of theory.

In The Importance of Being Earnest, Oscar Wilde offers a commentary on the constraint that were imposed on individuals by Victorian morality. Wildee satirizes this whole idea of what society deems respectable and absurd, right and wrong. (I don’t know what secondary text I will using to explore this text, but I hope I can find some articles that addresses Victorian culture and how it is reflected in the text)

Johnathan Swifts’ “A Modest Proposal” is a satirical response to the harsh economic condition under which the Irish peasant were living during the 1730s. In her essay Louis A. Landa compiles a number of prominent papers that explained the economic policies of the time. Landa writes that “A Modest Proposal” is a protest against the economic maxim of the time that “people are the riches of the nation.” Landa writes that Swifts “purpose was to demonstrate that however these maxims applied to other countries, they had no application to Ireland” (Landa 161).

At this point I feel relatively comfortable in showing how different theories can be used to understand certain texts that I am going to be using. I need to work on how the text also reflect and engage with the different historical conditions under which they were produced.



4 Responses to “Plan for the Exam”

  1. Brandon Hernandez on March 17, 2017 2:06 pm

    Hey Ikram, nice list. You have a lot to say already but we share the same problem – historical context. I’m going to look for something about Oscar Wao. It’s a fun read, I recommend it if you haven’t read it already. I think your strongest text is Fun Home. I’m going to read it on the plane to Florida next week. I’m glad you’ve chosen to use Brooks and DuBois’ double-consciousness, you’ll be able to get a lot out of that. So far so good.

  2. Chani Rubenstein on March 17, 2017 10:39 pm

    First off, this feels solid! I like your reading of Fun Home, and I think the texts you’ve chosen can be approached from many different angles. Swift is versatile, as is Earnest, and I feel that the two can also be related quite easily to each other. I feel as if Bechdel is one of my strongest pieces as well, especially as it doesn’t conform to anything, even stylistically. I like the idea of going with double-consciousness. It’s pretty adaptable as well. I can’t believe I forgot about this theory while writing up my own study guide. Feel free to see if I’ve made any connections that you haven’t already.
    I agree with Brandon that historical content is my weakest point. I think it’s because I don’t know what constitutes historical content, and what’s just explanation.
    Good luck and be well!

  3. sumaria on March 22, 2017 5:50 am

    Thanks for finding the Landa article on “A Modest Proposal”. I wanted a historical source and it sounds like a good one that summarizes a lot of other work for us.

    I want to find something similar for Bartleby and possibly group 3 shared it in their theory presentation (Abbott, I think). Though I wanted to focus on the economic, which it sounds like it mentions only to refute, so the bibliography of that source might be more helpful. Either way, research is much easier in a group!

  4. Plan for the Exam at Mind Over Matter on October 25, 2021 9:28 pm

    Grayce Chao

    I found a great…

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