April 14, 2011

Time for a Quick Re-cap

You know what hit me today?
A few more weeks and I’m done. Done with the MA. Done with English lit. Done with Rutgers. Done with Newark. Not quite done with Jersey, that will remain for another few months, but almost there!

I have previously lingered upon how bittersweet this is. This program has been a wonderful and fruitful growth experience for me personally and professionally. I have met some amazing people; colleagues, mentors, students, and everything in between. The program also came at a time in my life when I was in a very dark place and, almost single-handedly, is responsible for my rehabilitation into the functional and successful (albeit often harried and eccentric) intellectual that I am today.

It’s been an awe-inspiring and sublime two years.

As I dive into writing the final few papers of my MA, I wanted to take a moment to dwell upon all of the work that got me here. Here’s a little review of the courses that built this degree for me, the papers I wrote for them, and what I did with those papers subsequent to the lecture ending.


Semester one: Fall 2009

Intro to Graduate Literary Study

Final Paper: “One of These Things is Not Like the Others”

Analysis of Frankenstein using Race theory

Later Became: recycling. I didn’t have many ambitions at this juncture…

Rhetoric and the Teaching of Writing

Midterm Paper: “Great Expertations; an Examination of the Novice-as-Expert Predicament in College Freshmen Papers”

Analysis of a batch of undergrad papers in which I explicate what I call the “novice-as-expert” phenomenon. How does a college Freshman deal with being put in a situation where he must form an opinion on a field he knows nothing about? What rhetorical strategies does he use to accomplish this, and how can teachers use those strategies to better teach paper-writing to young college students?

Later Became: Conference paper

Final Paper: “If Lost, Please Return To… Imitation and Abandonment in the College Freshman Paper”

A second analysis of a batch of undergrad papers in which I uncover what I call “rhetorical abandonment”; students giving up on their arguments for one of several reasons. I discuss how students do this, why they may do this, and how we can use this discovery to (again) better teach paper-writing as a whole.

Later Became: Conference paper; Presented at the NJCEA annual conference 2010


Final Paper: “Act One Scene One: The Tabard Inn; Performativity and Theatricality in the Canterbury Tales”

A theatrical examination of the “Canterbury Tales” postulating that the Tales were, in fact, the first modern example of playwrighting.

Later Became: Conference Paper; Presented at the Virginia Tech Graduate Student Conference Jan. 2010; also became the basis for the paper which I presented at the University of Montreal’s Graduate Student Conference in Feb. 2010

Semester Two; Spring 2010

Studies in Satire

Midterm Paper: “Everything you Wanted to know About Dildo but Were Afraid to Ask”

An analysis of the Earl of Rochester’s Signior Dildo arguing that it is more pornography than lampoon.

Later Became: submission for 1st ever Rutgers Newark MA Publication

Final Paper: “Dirty Words: The Utilization of Graphic Imagery Within Satire”

An examination of the use and purpose of graphic imagery which runs rampant through (especially eighteenth century) Satire. Expectedly, I focused mainly upon Swift, Rochester and Voltaire.

Later Became: not much of anything due to the fact that I can’t present it to a professional colleague or especially mentor without blushing (I still have trouble looking Jack in the face because of this one).

Rhetoric of the American Revolution

Final Paper: “Obnoxious and Disliked”

An examination of the character of John Adams within the musical 1776 and his relation as a projected political personae within the play to his projected personae via letters, biographies and historical documentation.

Later Became: a bragging point that I actually got to write a legit academic paper about a musical.

Intro to Renaissance Literary Studies

Midterm Paper: “More Will than Will Serve”

A look at how Shakespeare uses the word “Will” in Sonnet 6, as informed by Erica Zilleruelo’s similar examination of Sonnet 135.

Later Became: A conversation starter. Will really loved his Willy.

Final Paper: “Walk Like a Man”

An examination of the roles of cross-dressing within The Merchant of Venice and As you Like It

Later Became: Not much of anything because there was almost nothing original about this paper. I really think I was running out of steam that semester…

Semester Three: Fall 2010

Science Fiction

Final Paper: “Let’s do the Time Warp Again”

Well, if you listened to my podcast earlier this week, you’d know exactly what this paper was about. So go listen! Go on!

Later Became: Conference Paper, presented at the first ever Rutgers Newark MA Consortium


Final Paper: “Beyond the Sea”

A discussion of the role of the ocean in “The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner”.

Later Became: the reason why I’m friends with my arch-nemesis. She’s my doppelganger and will likely be forced to kill me someday because we two cannot live in the same world. If you think I’m joking, ask Ben. He will (once again) corroborate the facts of the case.

Jane Austen

Midterm Paper: “Parlor Theatrics; Jane Austen and the Reader/Audience”

An examination of the role of theatricality within Northanger Abbey and the implicit suggestion that the book is more of a play script than novel. Also a defense of Catherine Morland as a theatrical character for an actor to play rather than a novelistic heroine.

Later Became: My PhD writing sample. Also hoping to publish this…

Final Paper: “Jane Needs More Brains”

A look at Pride and Prejudice and Zombies as a piece of literature as well as the role of the Zombie within it. 

Later Became: Again, hoping to publish this.

Semester Four: Spring 2011

Research Sources and Data Technologies

Final project: research proposal based upon Kenneth Brannaugh’s Love’s Labour’s Lost. That’s about all I can say about it right now. What? I’ve still got time!

Henry James

Midterm Paper: “Daisy Miller: Leading Lady”

A look at Daisy Miller as a character, a piecing-together of her role within the book as well as James’ play by the same name. Daisy has (notably) never before been assembled this way as a conglomeration of all the parts which James wrote for her.

Later Became: Proof that I could write a paper and study for an end-of-the-world exam from hell.

Final Paper: something about Gothic, "The Turn of the Screw", and "The Uncanny".  Again... I have time!!


Final Paper: An analysis of Macbeth as a Gothic piece. A lot of work has been done with this and Hamlet, but almost nothing about this and the cursed Scottish Play.

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