Research in the Humanities
L'écriture Engagée: Poniatowska and Spota on Tlatelolco 1968
In 1968, a movement known as El Movimiento Estudiantil led mainly by university students sought social, political and government change. The truce began in mid-1968 and finalized in a student massacre in October second at the Plaza of Tres Culturas in Tlatelolco, Mexico. Under a Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI)- Institutionalized Revolutionary Party, the president and its government suppressed and censored any form of journalism and literature narrating while at the same time attacking the government’s action against the students. Years later, a variety of literary reactions were born denunciating the massacre. This form of narrative is known as “Tlatelolco Literature.” The oppression of Mexican students at The Plaza de Tres Culturas is seen as a historical phenomenon triggering the creation of literary texts and also evoking a revision of Mexican government and autonomy. The night of October second is a historical event affecting Mexican Literature; the narrative in return is born as an answer to history. The literary texts of Elena Poniatowska’s La Noche de Tlatelolco (1971) and Luis Spota’s La Plaza (1977) serve as a response to a historical event. These texts serve to affect the collective consciousness: to proclaim political commitment, to analyze the Mexican governmental system, but most importantly to promote an individualist engagement in a reconstruction of the events of Tlatelolco 1968.
Daniel J. Weber
Every generation of mankind has struggled with the persistence of evil, and authors in particular have contributed to this battle with their writing. Milton’s Paradise Lost and Shelley’s Frankenstein offer differing approaches to understanding the source of evil in their central characters. Although Milton’s Satan and Frankenstein’s Monster ultimately live evil lives, the causes and paths that they take to get there differ. Satan has only himself to blame for his wickedness, whereas the fiend of Frankenstein is a regretful product of his creator’s lack of love and of a blind society that has a twisted view of beauty. The two authors present characters who live wickedly even though they exhibit the potential for good. Milton and Shelley are at variance in allotting the blame for the evil of each character. This difference demonstrates that Mary Shelley does not conform to Milton’s traditional approaches to understanding evil. Her Romantic ideas concerning family and society are examined in light of her use of beauty and appearance. She asks the readers to reevaluate their concepts about beauty and how it relates to evil. This paper presents a critical analysis comparing and contrasting the authors’ views by examining the two primary texts, and referring to a range of modern critics of each work. Conclusions from the study allow modern readers to evaluate contemporary ideas concerning wickedness with a deeper understanding of two different approaches taken by canonical authors with a focus on Shelley’s reevaluation of society’s influence on individuals.
Critical Thinking (Honors) Students
Sarah Cusson, Emily Dunlap, Valerie Gelso, Jared Gimbel, Lindsay Kane, & Melissa Onnen -- While many researchers disagree on what divides the writing and reasoning features into male and female, we set out in our research project to discover what the varying opinions of experts were, and either confirm or contrast them to writing and reasoning within the Concordia University, Irvine environment. We examined the research and conclusions of Mary Hiatt, Elisabeth Flynn, Sandra Harding, Sydney Callahan, and others to discover what the primary differences between the writing styles of each gender. We then compared these results to our analysis of six groups of in-class essays from Dr. Susan Bachman's Critical Thinking classes. The essayers were evaluated by underlining and marking the use of moral and religious phrases, long sentences, short sentences, descriptive words and phrases, emotion, directness and brevity, and narratives. Aside from analyzing grammar, syntax, and sentence structure, the philosophies of the arguments were analyzed to evaluate the differences in the thought processes of the writers. The results were then compared with either the more stereotypical expectations or the experts' findings about writing and problem-solving differences between males and females. We found that, here at Concordia, males and females tend to write and reason along stereotypical lines rather than along the lines suggested and predicted by the experts' research.
Kelley G. Lawson
The English writer Thomas Hardy can be described as one of the first modernist writers. Living and writing during a changing period from the Late Victorian to the Early Modern, Thomas Hardy received much criticism for his pessimistic philosophy on life in the coming 20th century. Many readers of the day believed that his "modern" novels such as, The Return of the Native, Tess of the D'Urbervilles, and Jude the Obscure were autobiographical. Hardy's pessimistic and rationalist views of life could be seen very clearly by the readers of the day. Tragic irony fills the pages of Hardy's more modern novels. Writing on the tragedy of the contemporary everyday man, this heavy irony became Hardy's trademark. Hardy wrote about the tragedy with the coming of a new 20th century and the leaving of the 19th century. It was then that Hardy saw a "realization of the disparity between Nature and man." This disparity between "nature and man" was the quintessential ache of modernism that Hardy focused on in his modern novels. Through Hardy's modern novels and poetry a reader can find reasons for which Hardy lost his faith which in turn led him to believe it might be better not to bring any more children into this world.
Frankenstein shows the inherent dangers of an unchecked confidence in modern science. Though many critics view Frankenstein as unscientific, it is probable that Mary Shelley knew a considerable amount concerning the most modern science. This is displayed in the range and depth of the science, or natural philosophy, that Victor employs in his creation of the monster. Victor is often portrayed, by many critics, as no more than a magician or at best an alchemist. This view does not do credit to the science he employs, nor the cool and optimistic attitude he takes toward scientific progress. Even those critics who admit Victor’s scientific proficiency often blame him as the sole cause of all disaster in Frankenstein. An examination of the text displays that this view is in error. Victor is characterized more as a victim of science than as anything else. He says that science is the “genius (attended spirit or demon) that has regulated [his] fate.” Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is no less than a critique of science, but she distinguishes herself from feminist critiques in that science is not a successful attack on man, but on nature. Mary Shelley was fully aware of the negative effects of science and weaves this theme beautifully within the framework of Frankenstein.
Jessica Horn and Amanda Tormohlen
What began as research comparing the movie "Hidalgo" to the collection of supposedly true stories upon which the movie is based expanded into much more. Our comparison revealed to us the complex relationship between truth and fiction and how much a story with strong audience-appeal can sideline worries about literal truth, at least temporarily. Frank T. Hopkins, who is the author of the writings reprinted in the Long Rider's Guild "Hidalgo and Other Stories," originally printed his stories as factual accounts of adventures in the Old West. Basha and Cuchullaine O'Reilly, the editors for the reissued accounts of Hopkins, claim Hopkins was an "equestrian charlatan." Yet Disney released "Hidalgo" and publicized it as based on a true story of a horse and rider who won a 3,000 mile endurance race through the Arabian Desert. By carefully comparing the book and the movie and conducting further investigations of our own, we agree that the story of Hidalgo was a hoax. Still, readers and viewers report liking the movie and Hopkins' fabrications. To account for why truth seems less important, we applied Aristotle's appeals. Additionally, we believe that dramatic power of the original Old West stories that Hopkins plagiarized and the mood of the nation in the 30's and 40's when he wrote accounts for why Hopkins' tales are found so interesting. Our research affirms truth and literary honesty, while not denying that the Frank Hopkins' stories continue to help people gain an appreciation for the values of the Old West.