Recent Submissions

  • Screaming in Silence

    Reisig, Kristen; The College at Brockport (12/9/2003)
    This thesis project examines the fourth writing genre, creative non-fiction; memoir specifically. The introductory chapter considers the structural components, or lack thereof, in this type of creative non-fiction essay. Point of view and its various merits in memoir writing are discussed as well as the clarifying question of “subjective truth” from the writer’s perspective. The remaining chapters are original, creative non-fiction essays; memoir crafted from the author’s life that explore childhood, family dynamics, and coming-of-age.
  • Violence and the Family in the African-American Antislavery Novel

    Linderman, Kerry L.; The College at Brockport (8/14/2002)
    This thesis provides a detailed analysis of three early African-American literary works: Clotel, by William Wells Brown, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, by Harriet Jacobs, and The Garies and Their Friends, by Frank J. Webb. Specifically, these works are discussed in terms of their representations of violence, especially that stemming from slavery, and the effect of such violence on the family. An important factor in the devastation caused by the violence of slavery is that system's disruption of the domestic ideal in the homes involved. No matter how well each family may approximate idealized white domesticity of the nineteenth century, the shadow of slavery looms over each home, regardless of the racial identity of its members. This thesis discusses the ways in which violence disrupts the homes in each of the works, from forced separation of family members to invasion of the home itself. In several cases, it is apparent that the limited choices offered to the characters because of their race or gender often contribute to their domestic failures as well. Furthermore, such vulnerability to violence is not unique to the homes of black characters; although white homes are rarely subjected to the same type of violence as black homes, white characters are, nonetheless, victimized by the slave system as well. Even when slavery is not the main concern or abolition a central purpose, its inherent violence is far-reaching and inescapable, even for the most successful of white families. Though they differ somewhat in format and purpose, these three works have in common a concern not only for the effects of slavery on the individual, but also for its violent disruption of the home and family, regardless of race or class.
  • Open Endings and Questionable Liberation in Margaret Atwood's Alias Grace, Cat 's Eye, and The Handmaid's Tale

    Klick, Donna M.; The College at Brockport (8/8/2003)
    This thesis project discusses the literary work of Margaret Atwood, specifically highlighting Alias Grace (1996), Cat's Eye (1989), and The Handmaid's Tale (1986). As part of the discussion, the project considers Michel Foucault's theories on how power and discourse shape the individual and Sigmund Freud's work on how repetition aids an individual in obtaining power, and argues that Atwood’s female protagonists are not only shaped by their imagined environments but are liberated from the oppression within them. Given the focus on female protagonists and how they may liberate themselves, the research also considers Peter Brooks' work with regard to open-ended narratives in order to assess if these protagonists realize their quest for liberation. The study is broken into five chapters, dedicating separate chapters to the discussion of each novel noted above, with both introductory framework and conclusions at the close of the project. The conclusive comments draw attention to the author’s intent to challenge the reader to understand the societal commentary infused in the literature and to think about the question, “What if?”
  • Poe's Guinea Pigs: Narrators and Perversity in Selected Tales

    Stroud, Matthew C.; The College at Brockport (2/11/2004)
    Many scholars and critics make the mistake of closely linking Poe with his narrators, some going so far as to say that Poe's tales are autobiographical, at least in part. While it may be said that certain of Poe's writings seem to reflect particular aspects of his life, a purely autobiographical reading falls short of any real understanding of Poe's stories. Examining five of Poe's writings-The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket, "The Tell Tale Heart," "The Black Cat," "The Imp of the Perverse," and "The Cask of Amontillado"-in the order in which they were written reveals a pattern of thought developed through the selected tales as if they are a series. This pattern reveals that Poe is not connected to his narrators but is instead an observer; learning from their actions and recording for his readers what knowledge he is able to glean pertaining to the issue of perversity. Before delving into this reading, an examination of several critical viewpoints is offered. Each is broken down and individual strengths and weaknesses of each reading are offered as they relate to the reading being put forth. Upon completion of the review of literature, each of the five tales is closely examined, and the distinction between Poe and the narrator made clear. Additionally, the progression of thought through the tales in the series is demonstrated and it is shown how Poe seeks answers to certain questions, how those questions are answered by each of the tales, and what Poe does with these answers. In the first two, perversity is seen ,but undefined. In the third, it is defined but never fully explained or understood. In the fourth, it is explained in detail but never controlled. In the fifth it is knowingly used by the final narrator-guinea pig-in Poe's series of experiments.
  • Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead: A Postmodern Analysis

    Meyer, Elisabeth A.; The College at Brockport (6/1/1991)
    This thesis project discusses Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead as an example of postmodern drama. It further examines the style of the authorship, often likened to Samuel Beckett and Harold Pinter, and in this examination seeks to define and discuss postmodernist theater. As part of the study, a working definition of postmodernism, its history, proposed tenets, and leading critical theories are analyzed. Meyer states, “A literary movement so new and controversial among critics and academics as postmodernism is, requires thorough investigation, definition, and exemplification.” Chapter Two establishes the definition for postmodernist theater, which is used as the basis for the discussion of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead in subsequent chapters. More specifically, Chapter Three examines the deconstruction and subversion of hierarchical orders regarding characters from Hamlet as well as the hierarchy of authorship regarding Shakespeare and Stoppard. And finally, the author discusses postmodern linguistic features in the play, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, particularly the function of word games and language as postmodernism, for discussion of Stoppard's plays.
  • Emily Dickinson: The Concept of Catharsis

    Wolfley, Jennifer; The College at Brockport (1/1/1995)
    Emily Dickinson remains recognized as one of greatest poets of the American literature canon. The majority of her work, while often considered dark and abstract, was unread by anyone else in her lifetime. Why then would she choose to create such a large volume of troubled writing in secret? This thesis project explores this question using a psychological lens, and examines the work for any possible therapeutic effects it may have had on Dickinson. The project further suggests that Dickinson suffered from clinical depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and extreme personality disorders. (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) II is used throughout to support these claims.) This thesis explores four common themes found within Dickinson’s poetry including death, child imagery, powerlessness, and anger. These themes are related to events in the poet’s life that may have sparked such feelings. Several poems are given as examples for each theme, and through a close reading, are thoroughly analyzed to gain a clearer insight into any possible intention. The project concludes that Dickinson wrote as a form of therapy in an attempt to heal emotionally as well as maintain her sanity.
  • Mayberry Days

    Reed-Mullen, KaTrina; The College at Brockport (11/6/2008)
    This memoir consists of a series of short vignettes, each of which is a standalone story. These vignettes tell about the writer's childhood: the experience of growing up in the Deep South in the 1960s and 70s.
  • Canadian Wild: Poems

    Ostafew, Glenn Stryker; The College at Brockport (10/5/2008)
    It has been my hope that this thesis would serve as a bridge between three things: my past wilderness experiences, my present explorations of great nature poets, and my future as a writer. I desired to write authentic wilderness poems that gave readers new experiences, yet I was afraid that they might not be broad enough in scope and have too much sentimentality to be effective. To find a path through this dilemma I looked to great nature poets, both American and Canadian, as I sought to see how they were such successful writers. In looking at their work I asked many questions. Where did they get their inspiration? Did they use experiences or did they just write creatively? How did they talk about their past effectively? Did "place" play a large role in what they wrote about? The act of writing poetry often feels like a solitary task, as if no one has ever written like you have before, but as I searched the lives of poets I found a companionship and association that was inspiring. Looking at Margaret Atwood, for instance, gave me courage to keep alive the memories of when I was a small child in British Columbia, for she herself wrote about her own childhood experiences. John Haines was another poet who contributed to my writing process. He was not someone who simply experienced nature in his childhood. He was a man who sought it out as an adult and excluded civilization from his life. The end result of my thesis was more than I hoped for. Just by learning from great writers I was able to write boldly about my past, and I found that intertwined in my memories were people that shared those experiences with me, and they too added to the depth of my poems I call "Canadian Wild."
  • Notes from an Un-hyphenated American

    Flores-Salvaggio, Cacilda; The College at Brockport (12/18/2004)
    The introduction to this thesis project discusses the idea of poetic prose as a literary device to draw in the reader and create a sense of closeness within creative non-fiction, memoir specifically. Several noted memoirists’ work is also discussed under a close reading lens examining their particular style of creating non-fiction prose. The use of punctuation to control pace in writing and the idea of the hyphen as a means to mirror the author’s “hyphenated” identity is maintained throughout the creative chapters that follow. The project concludes with several chapters composing the author’s original memoir which explores the idea and reality of the immigration experience in this “coming-to-America” tale.
  • The Philosophy of Time in Mrs. Dalloway, Orlando, and The Waves

    Willis, Erica B.; The College at Brockport (6/1/2006)
    This research project considers various philosophies of time as they are represented in the writing of Virginia Woolf. The project frames the discussion with the idea that Woolf’s work embodies these pre-existing theories in revolutionary ways. The three specific texts examined for this research are Mrs. Dalloway, Orlando, and The Waves as they respond to the philosophical and scientific temporal theories of Henri Bergson, Albert Einstein, and Friedrich Nietzsche. The study highlights the examination of time as a process that has obsessed centuries of writers, intellectuals, and scholars. It also demonstrates Woolf’s belief that the concept of time is a human construction. The project argues that the key to understanding Woolf’s thoughts on literature, society, religion, or philosophy is not by exploring her personal writing, but by considering her fictional characters as stand-ins for her own experimentation with different theories of time and reality.
  • Gender Power and Social Class: The Role of Women in James Fenimore Cooper's The Pathfinder, Homeward Bound, Home as Found, and The Ways of the Hour

    Zeitvogel, Chuck; The College at Brockport (11/22/2004)
    This thesis deals with the role Cooper's female characters play in his novels of manners and social class. Though Cooper is best known for his Leatherstocking Tales and other novels of romantic adventure, he was also a critic of American society. Through his novels Cooper clearly illustrated what he believed were the proper gender roles for men and women. He also used his novels to show his frustration about changes in societal order. His writing was his way of coping with America's shift of power from the landed genteel class to the urban factory owner class. This thesis incorporates four of Cooper's lesser studied novels: The Pathfinder. Homeward Bound, Home as Found, and The Ways of the Hours. In each of these novels Cooper uses gender roles and social class to express his views of the ideal American society. The gender roles Cooper establishes are clear. Female characters are only allowed to wield power in small, enclosed spaces, or in life or death situations. Occasionally Cooper may grant female characters more power, but only if they are away from society, in the wilderness for example, or when there is no chance of them usurping power from men. Male characters, on the other hand, control all social spaces and political power. Although many scholars either attack Cooper's novels of social criticism, calling them the rants of a bitter man, or ignore them altogether, this is a gross injustice. Cooper was not a bitter man. He was a man living through a time of social change. Unfortunately he was not ready or able to cope with those changes. His novels are his attempt to cope with social change as best he could.
  • Shakespeare, Ovid, and the Expression of Feminine Voice

    Kryger, Rebecca J.; The College at Brockport (5/15/2008)
    The way in which femininity is represented in literature often reinforces the idea of the objectified woman and the dominant man. William Shakespeare, influenced by the writings of Ovid, attempts to challenge these social constructs by developing alternative feminine voices in his works. Lavinia from Titus Andronicus, Lucrece from The Rape of Lucrece, and Imogen from Cymbeline serve as examples of women who must utilize a voice outside what is characteristically feminine in order to gain power from the "unspeakable" events such as rape and mutilation that alter each woman's perception of self. These women also prove how the eyes of a voyeur can manipulate and misinterpret the voice a woman communicates.
  • Living the Dream of my Father: A Memoir

    Negrea, Sherrie; The College at Brockport (5/8/2001)
    This memoir is an account of the dream my father had for me and the way I eventually came to embrace it after years of rebellion. My father was a Romanian immigrant who lived through the Holocaust, a facet of his life that I never questioned as a child. It was not until nearly twenty years after his death that I began a journey to discover more about my father's past and what it meant to me. As a child, I rejected my father's view of the role women should play in the world-the 1950s version of the housewife who stayed at home rearing children. I was determined to do something else with my life, and eventually I became a journalist. But after finally marrying at the age of thirty-five, I found that my life seemed empty without a family. Fulfilling my father's dream, though, became impossible as infertility problems conspired against me. My desire to have a child finally led me back to my father's corner of the world-Eastern Europe-to adopt a seventeen-month-old orphan from Russia. The memoir is divided into two sections. ''The Proud American" chronicles my father's life in Romania, his escape from that country after the Communists took control in 1944, his emigration to Canada and then America, and my childhood in Florida. "Fulfilling the Dream" covers my career as a newspaper reporter, my struggle with infertility, and my tortuous path toward adopting a child from an orphanage in Moscow. With my return to Eastern Europe, the memoir traces how I finally completed the circle my father began when he left Romania as a young man with no money, education or family, but simply with the dream of a better life in America.
  • The Next Great Adventure: A Child's Literary Journey through Death and Grief

    Grifa, Joelle M.; The College at Brockport (4/24/2008)
    Literature is often a direct glimpse into another world, conveying messages from characters to help readers shape and define their own futures. Parents and guardians of children are often left searching for a way to use literature to explain the more difficult parts of life to child readers. Grief literature offers models of different grieving processes. Critic Mary Rycik was the first to coin the term "bibliotherapy" when she discussed the healing role that children's literature played for the traumatized child or young adult. When faced with loss and sorrow, characters will either heal and move on, or succumb to the grief they feel when a loved one dies. The novels in the following thesis: Hans Wilhelm's I 'll Always Love You ( 1990), Robert Munsch's Love You Forever ( 1999), Dwight Daniels' Grieving at Christmastime (2005), Ralph L. Klicker's Kolie and the Funeral (2002); S.E. Hinton's The Outsiders ( 1997), Rodman Philbrick's Freak the Mighty ( 1993) Robert Cormier's The Chocolate War ( 1974), and William Golding's Lord of the Flies ( 1954) all showcase characters making both healthy and unhealthy choices regarding grief. Progression plays a pivotal role, for as novels advance in intricacy, readers are presumably advancing in age. Young characters evolve from a reliance on their parents, to friends, and then ultimately decide alone how they want grief to affect them. Grief literature attempts to ready readers of all ages for death and the emotions associated with it. Grief literature offers answers during the tragic times when answers seem scarce. Ultimately death will not be something to be afraid of, but is seen as the great adventure touted by Peter Pan in J.M. Barrie's Peter and Wendy (1911) and Professor Dumbledore in J.K. Rowling's novel, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer 's Stone (1997). This is the very goal of grief literature; to turn sorrow into a story, and to turn that story' into life.
  • Hawthorne's 1850's Romances: Political and Personal Apologia and Accommodation

    Carbone, Vicki; The College at Brockport (12/5/2008)
    Nathaniel Hawthorne was one in a long line of American scholars, politicians, statesmen, and writers who created a national mythos. By creating, or recreating, a national past wherein every American would share, at least in myth, a common New England beginning, it was hoped that Americans would share a common view of America as the city set on a hill which the Puritans believed they had established. This was to accomplish many objectives: glorify America's Puritan beginnings, make heroic the Puritan forefathers, and remind every American of the brotherhood of all Americans. In addition to this, Hawthorne undertook to examine and explain American history, and to work through a very complicated national and personal accommodation. On a national level, Hawthorne needed to show his readers the Puritan character as both the manly hero who served as a noble warrior for liberty and as a harsh bigot who persecuted those with whom he disagreed. In doing so, he was able to aid in the creation of the national mythos while providing his contemporaries with the idea that they were yet more noble than their Puritan forebearers. Additionally, Hawthorne sought a personal accommodation. The Puritans whom he calls his forebearers were not mythic ones; they were his ancestors. He was both repelled by and attracted to Puritanism and felt that he had inherited from his ancestors "strong traits of their nature" (Hawthorne "The Custom House" 13). As a result, he sought to come to terms with these ancestors by exploring not only the history of the Puritans themselves, but also the succeeding two hundred years, to examine how the Puritan attitudes and ideals emerged in consecutive ages.
  • Warring Discourses in The Picture of Dorian Gray

    Appleby, Joseph T.; The College at Brockport (1/1/2006)
    Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray has enjoyed a myriad of critical treatment since its first publication. Much of this is due to the paradoxical nature of Wilde's style. In this novel, there is a tension and unique interplay between the discourses of ethics and Decadence as applied to the artistic life. Wilde's attraction to Catholicism also plays a prominent role in his treatment of characters. Although the author's intent remains ambiguous, the course of the novel leads one to the conclusion that there exists a fundamental incompatibility between Decadent and Catholic thought. The purpose of this thesis is to explore this incompatibility in all of its complexity. This thesis utilizes those works that have influenced Wilde, particularly the writings of Huysmans and Pater. Furthermore, it references Catholic writings and how they may apply to the ethical considerations put forth. Also, Wilde's life, as expressed through his letters, is brought to bear upon the analysis of the novel. Several critical writings on The Picture of Dorian Gray are also examined for their relevance and as a means to demonstrate the complex nature of the work and the possibility of a wide variety of interpretations. The thesis concludes with the notion that Wilde's novel cannot be seen as having one central discourse. Art and ethics have a certain interdependence despite conflicts between their fundamental propositions. Finally, the thesis proposes that the lack of resolution in The Picture of Dorian Gray stems from Wilde's developing understanding that would deepen with his profound experiences in the face of imprisonment and mortality.
  • Performative National Cultures: Hybridity, Blurred Boundaries, and Agency in Untouchable and Brick Lane

    McMonagle, Abby A.; The College at Brockport (4/21/2010)
    Monica Ali's Brick Lane and Mulk Raj Anand's Untouchable unite through the complex examination of nation and culture that they both perform. By utilizing post-colonial and cultural theories, as well as Judith Bulter's notion of performativity, it is possible to thoroughly study Ali and Anand's portrayal of national culture through their characters and writing. Since these novels focus on characters that experience immigration to Britain or colonization by the British, Ali and Anand employ the opportunities provided by such experiences, which include immigrant and colonized characters that" change their collection of cultural practices and then are contrasted with other characters in similar positions, to emphasize the hybrid national cultures of their characters and novels. These characters' national cultures are revealed to be performative as they make passionate attachments to identification categories, perform the normative practices mechanically, and desire the privileged national culture's attributes, but are still able to rearticulate their national cultural identity within the preexisting signification system. Thus, Ali and Anand highlight the performative construction of national culture by drawing attention to the performances of the hybrid national cultural identities that they portray in and through their novels. These insights that are gained from the juxtaposition of Ali and Anand's writing also trace what has or has not changed about the function of national culture and how the definition of "Britishness" has evolved to expose that this category is in constant flux.
  • Learning the Land : Survival of the Self in a Hostile World

    Powderly, Colleen; The College at Brockport (1/1/1996)
    “Self” as a literary focus, developed with the work of Wordsworth and Coleridge, was carried on by Emerson, who was himself influenced by these European writers and his own American citizenship. The advent of industrialization and the acquisition of wealth and material goods on both societies had a corollary effect on the transcendental movement in America, of which Emerson was deeply engrained, and on our societal concept of “self”. Further understanding of transcendentalism suggests "that each individual was potentially capable of fashioning himself and building a total conception of the world" (Anderson 699). This thesis project discusses Emerson’s work, specifically found in Nature and “Self-Reliance,” as it positions the concept of “self” and “nature” as interchangeable imagery within texts that consider both female authorship and woman’s role as protagonist within the four narratives examined. The study also considers each female heroine as they master “self” and the world each has created within the constricting cultural expectations of wife and mother.
  • According to Luke: Redefining Authorial Intent in Literary Theory

    Wilkins, Scott R.; The College at Brockport (5/1/2005)
    This project defines intentionality more comprehensively than the traditional understanding by including the unconscious and unintended social elements of a text. To that end, I discuss relevant aspects of Cultural Studies including ideology; microculture, and macro-culture while exploring how these elements relate to literature. Through examining of the Gospel of Luke, I demonstrate that intention is not coextensive with meaning. When Luke, or any author, makes a statement, his secondary or latent presuppositions should be almost as important as his primary intent in determining ultimate meaning. I show that culture and authorship are intimately linked and that a proper reading is one that accounts for unintended elements of meaning. This project’s primary aim is not an examination of Luke, per se, but is rather the examination of the language, ideology, and social factors as they work in and through an author. As a result of his unique cultural position, Luke offers an excellent text to consider. My aim is not to elevate the theory at the expense of textual analysis but, rather, to develop a fuller understanding of the literary doxastic practice and thereby come to a fuller understanding of authorship itself. Through all of this, I unabashedly promote our interdisciplinary approach as the superlative theory.
  • Straddling the Line

    Karas, Janelle K.; The College at Brockport (4/25/2007)
    This research project focuses on the tension between fiction and creative non-fiction as they are defined and understood as separate styles of writing. The introductory section examines the scholarly discussion of “truth” and imagination and the blending of fact and fiction in this re-imagined genre of writing. The research considers the creative non-fiction memoir writing of Maya Angelou, Augusten Burroughs, and Dave Eggers. The concept of reader’s “belief” as they relate to a given creative non-fiction piece and the reality of perspective as a means to position and understand this type of writing is also explored. The reminder of the project includes original creative non-fiction and fiction pieces.

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