• Nihilism in Melville’s Moby Dick

      Barnum, John E.; The College at Brockport (1/1/1972)
      This thesis project positions itself as a close examination of Herman Melville's novel, Moby Dick, as a fictional statement of the author's nihilistic view of man and his world. The paper argues that Melville's nihilism derives primarily from his belief that man's perception of himself and the world is relativistic. Definitions of nihilism and the era in which Melville authored the novel, a time when traditional values and belief systems were being questioned and discarded, are explored. The project labels Melville as a “philosophical” novelist in his treatment of the character of Ahab, in particular, as the nihilistic aspects of the character are revealed in this classic work of literature. In addition, the project also examines the contrasting "healthy" nihilism as exhibited in the novel by Ishmael.
    • The Morale of Consciousness Wails

      Stigall, John; The College at Brockport (1/1/1980)
      This creative thesis, by renown African American poet, John Stigall addresses issues of race in America through poetry.
    • "Base Betrayers": The Priests of James Joyce's Dubliners

      Withey, Carl; The College at Brockport (1/1/1980)
      This paper examines the priests in James Joyce's Dubliners and dis cusses the ramifications of their presence or absence in the stories, and their importance to the book as a whole. The basic goal will be to demonstrate that in Dubliners Joyce portrayed the Irish Catholic priest as a simoniacal Judas who sold out his spirituality and betrayed the Irish people. In "'Two Gallants" Joyce has Lenehan call Corley a "base betrayer" because Corley prostitutes himself for money. Although Corley is not one of the priests in the book, he clearly is a conterpart to them in his actions. This is why I have chosen as the title to my thesis "Base Betrayers: The Priests of James Joyce's Dubliners. " The first section of the thesis consists of an introduction to the history of Dubliners, a summary of Joyce's religious background, an examination of the religious views Joyce held as a mature writer, and finally, a presentation of his attitude toward his fellow countrymen. The second section discusses in brief the major the.themes and methods of Dubliners, their relevance to the priests of the book, and then examines the appearances of those priests in the individual stories. The third section scrutinizes the clerics of Dubliners as a group, and attempts to come to some final conclusions about their presentation.
    • Man's Search for Freedom: A Continuing Theme in the Poetry of William Wordsworth and Robert Frost

      Maier, Anne C.; The College at Brockport (1/1/1982)
      As man searches for personal freedom he is confronted with limitations which not only complicate his quest, but remind him of his fragile human condition. The more he struggles with these limitations the more he questions the reality of ultimate freedom. In the following thesis selected poems of William Wordsworth and Robert Frost are used to define man's limitations and illustrate the various ways man attempts to overcome them. The first chapter explores some of the ways man limits his own personal growth. An individual's fear, indecision, and lack of creativity, for example, often prevent him from moving forward in the direction of freedom. This discussion leads to the matter of how man is limited by other men, both in the problems created by personal relationships and society as a whole. The third and fourth chapters present those limitations which are imposed on man by the greater forces of Nature, Time, and Space. Man's inability to overcome the power of Nature, to control the passing of time, and to fully understand the complexities of the universe, force him to submit to his limited state of existence. Robert Frost suggests a philosophy of simple acceptance. Once man realizes his limitations and learns to live with them, he will find happiness, peace, and a satisfying sense of freedom. Delving too deeply into the mysteries of life is a futile exercise, resulting in frustration and confusion. William Wordsworth, on the other hand, puts faith in the power of the imagination as the key to freedom. Once the imagination is discovered and developed by the guiding hand of Nature, man is no longer a limited being. His imagination provides him the freedom· to view the world creatively and attain joy and peace in his earthly life. Placing the works of two poets of two completely different literary periods side by side, supports the idea that man continually contemplates his limited existence. Furthermore, each poet offers the hope that man can indeed live happily despite his limitations.
    • Bernard Malamud: Metamorphosis of an Author

      Abbotson, Susan S.; The College at Brockport (1/1/1984)
      Bernard Malamud’s work is the subject of this thesis project. Malamud, a major twentieth-century Jewish American author, was the recipient of several National Book Awards as well as a Pulitzer Prize for his novel, The Fixer. This study examines The Magic Barrel (1958) and Rembrandt's Hat (1973), two of his short story collections, and highlights the extreme ideological contrasts between them. It discusses the idea of Malamud’s short stories as “the breeding ground” for his perspectives on life and art. The discussion includes Malamud's views on the artist’s role and leads to a consideration of his sociological background. It posits the idea that Malamud’s world view experienced a reversal, a switch from optimism and idealism to hopeless pessimism. This change or metamorphosis, it is argued, was revealed within the author’s life and work and reflected the world in which he was writing.
    • Copper and Stone

      Aichel, Shirley; The College at Brockport (1/1/1987)
      This thesis project is prefaced with a personal history that looks at experiences and relationships as an inspiration for creative writing. The remaining sections include original poetry that responds to family history, personal experience, and recurrent themes of war, loss, nature, and relationships. Selected literature and poetry prompts are noted from diverse styles and writers - Thoreau, Milosz, Williams, Jarrell - among others.
    • The Works of Mary Jane Holmes: A Brockport Union Catalog

      Carson, Grace T.; The College at Brockport (1/1/1988)
      This thesis contains some brief biographical material, but is much more focused on an extensive bibliography of Mary Jane Holmes' work. The author examined several collections of her novels in great detail, noting various editions, bindings, publishers and so forth. Some literary criticism and assessment of Holmes' work is also included.
    • Postmodern Historical Fiction: Aspects in Three Writers (Doctorow, Reed, and Boyle)

      Henry, Matthew A.; The College at Brockport (1/1/1992)
      The contents of this thesis include: Characteristics of postmodernism -- Approaching postmodern historical narratives -- E.L. Doctorow and Billy Bathgate -- Ishmael Reed and Flight to Canada -- T. Coraghessan Boyle and Water music.
    • The Railroad in American Poetry

      Bodenstedt, James C.; The College at Brockport (1/1/1992)
      In many ways travel by train is a speeded-up version of what we are all doing – a here and now experience of what it's like to be human. Trains tend to make us reflective and introspective. For over 150 years poets have used railroad imagery in an attempt to enter into the universal experience of trains. This thesis will examine the remarkably strong hold the railroad image has had on the consciousness of poets, ranging from the Transcendentalists to contemporary American poets. For many of the nineteenth-century poets, the image of the railroad expresses the promise and the danger of technology in modern industrial society, while the contemporary poets do not generally write poems “about” the railroad, but use train imagery to journey through the psychic landscape of the country and one's own mind and being. Today's train poems reveal why they must take a journey through the landscape of the self in order to be fully awake in the world. There are hundreds of railroad poems out there that reveal poets' psychic journeys. Almost every major and minor American poet since Emerson has either written a train poem or has used railroad imagery in their poems. Trains continue to fascinate our poets' imaginations despite the railroad's demise, because they still represent profound metaphors in American consciousness- symbols of speed and power personifying industrial society itself; yet at the same time trains remain a symbol of time's passage upon our' scarred, native soil. In examining railroad verse, we will look at how the consciousness of the poet explores what trains are, because like any good poem, railroad poems also probe into the language depths of the unconscious mind, which is the repository of primal, sensory images, and reach forth toward a harmony or wholeness with the rational, ordering, conscious mind. The first four chapters of the thesis invite us to travel along the nineteenth-century railroad of Emerson, Thoreau, Dickinson, and Whitman. On their trains we find that the image of the railroad is incorporated harmoniously into the landscape. Succeeding chapters examine the poetry of the twentieth-century. I separated the chapters into the following themes to represent the diversity of the railroad in American poetry: "Come Serve the Muse,Again;” "Arrivals and Departures at the Station;" "Sketches of American People and American Landscapes;" "Troop Trains and Holocaust Trains;” and "Journeying Through the Landscape of Consciousness." In these chapters the image of the train will take us on an inward journey of personal and spiritual freedom.
    • Weasels and Angels: Rhetorical and Communicative Strength and Weakness in Selected Women of The Canterbury Tales

      Glossner-Greer, Emily; The College at Brockport (1/1/1993)
      This thesis looks at the communicative methods and rhetorical strategies of five women characters found in Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales through the lens of Helene Cixous's description of written female language as applied spoken language to examine the dichotomy of "weakness in strength" and "strength in weakness" these characters portray.
    • Orson Scott Card: Without Joseph Smith and Mormonism There Would Be No Seventh Son, No Red Prophet, No Alvin Maker

      Porschet, Alma Jean; The College at Brockport (1/1/1994)
      This thesis project examines the idea of religious belief as an integral part of Orson Scott Card’s science fiction and fantasy novels, the Tales of Alvin Maker specifically. Similar to the work of C.S. Lewis, often viewed as literature through which the author reveals Christian doctrine, beliefs, and iconic images, this thesis project examines the fantastical literary work of Card as he articulates Mormon history, tradition and doctrine in an “other-world setting,” with a primary focus on Mormonism's mystical and archetypal aspects.
    • King Lear: A Textual and Bibliographic Study

      Adams, Linda B.; The College at Brockport (1/1/1994)
      This thesis project examines the printing history of William Shakespeare’s King Lear. The discussion includes the various arguments concerning the authoritative nature of the Quarto 1 and First Folio texts versus those that followed. The study explores the idea that since Q1 and First Folio are considered original or authoritative texts that all others are editions taken from them. While Q1 and First Folio appear to possess marked differences in their text, they must be considered as representing a draft and revision even as neither should be understood as inferior to the other, for each holds authoritative value for Shakespearean scholars. The project also offers a close reading, though not exhaustive, of many areas of the play text, stage directions, and the story’s through line. Through comparison and discussion the project includes a focus on detailed differences found between the various editions of the play to support the thesis of Q1 and First Folio as authoritative in nature.
    • An Evolution of Evil: the Cycle of the Vampire

      Wenskus, Edward R.; The College at Brockport (1/1/1994)
      The vampire story has been around for ages, and still remains as popular today as ever. As times change, so do the vampire stories. In this master thesis, the author gives a timeline of the vampire story and how it reflects the culture of the time it was written in, showing how the vampire moves in a cyclic nature from protagonist to antagonist and back again. The author starts with Lord Byron’s Augustus Darvell, a charismatic, yet sympathetic character who suffers from his vampirism. While Darvell commits murder, he holds a lot of self-hate and despair. By the 1840’s the vampire transformed into a true monster, preying on young women, and being totally remorseless. This vampire is often described with animalistic attributes, and is a thing of evil, undeserving of sympathy. In the 1870’s this type of vampire often took the form of a woman, more subtle and clever than her male counterparts but no less evil. Bram Stoker’s Dracula altered vampire fiction for decades to come. Dracula was a thing of pure evil, much like his predecessors, however he is stripped away of all humanity becoming not just a monster, but a demon in flesh. It wouldn’t be until the 1930’s pulp magazines before the vampire would have another major change. At this time, H.P. Lovecraft wrote about cosmic horror, replacing the supernatural with the scientifically unknown. Lovecraft’s vampire was immune to holy symbols, and wasn’t an undead but rather an unknown ancient entity living in the earth. It would be destroyed by technology rather than religion or magic. This is where the cycle begins to repeats itself. According to the author, contemporary vampires now look more like Byron’s. They have a sympathetic look and are the protagonists just as often as they are the antagonists.
    • An Examination of Evil in C.S. Lewis’s The Narnia Chronicles and Space Trilogy, and in Tolkien’s The Silmarillion and The Lord of the Rings

      Wilkins, Chistopher J.; The College at Brockport (1/1/1994)
      Two of the most influential writers of contemporary fantasy are C.S Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. The two men had much in common and were close friends with one another. In this master thesis, the author compares the face of evil within works of these two prolific writers. C.S. Lewis opposed amoral relativism, and in his novels illustrated how it could lead one to evil. Lewis also illustrated the potential of evil through scientism without a moral compass to guide you. Characters decapitate others and preserve the heads for scientific research. Tolkien similarly wrote on the dangers of science as a force of evil. Diabolic machinery destroys the once peaceful natural world leaving behind rubble and ruined forest. Tolkien also wrote on the evil caused by ethnocentrism and xenophobia. The thesis concludes by illustrating techniques both authors would use to describe the evil within characters by their appearances and actions. The evil characters are lustful and patiently scheming. The difference between the two, concludes the author, is that C.S. Lewis’s protagonists have small victories before the final showdown as a sign of hope, while Tolkien has his evil appear as an unstoppable force until the very end.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • An Exploration of Alternate Realities: Women's Contemporary Speculative Fiction

      Zanghi, Deborah L.; The College at Brockport (1/1/1997)
      Speculative fiction was one of the last genres of fiction to receive a strong female presence. Until very recently, women authors had a select few genres available to them including romance, mystery, and children’s fiction. This is surprising when we consider that one of the earliest and important works of speculative fiction is Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. One appeal early speculative fiction had on female readers and writers was its element of escapism. Women have often taken a submissive role, behind men. The escapism offered in speculative fiction showed what could be, if things were different, often to the betterment of women. The works of three authors including Octavia Butler, Marion Zimmer Bradley, and Anne Rice are used. The thesis provides a thorough analysis of trilogies written by all three authors. It is argued that these writers use speculative fiction as a window into worlds of alternative roles of power and independence to women whom are denied these roles. These three authors examine changes in social structure based on race, gender, sexual preference, and androgyny.
    • Rudolph Fisher : An Annotated Bibliography

      Gable, Craig; The College at Brockport (1/1/1998)
      This thesis project constitutes an exhaustive, annotated bibliography of an oft overlooked and too seldom referenced African American author of the Harlem Renaissance, Rudolph Fisher. This work is bibliographic in nature not biographic and careful note should be placed on the extensively researched source list. Prior to this project, “A Corrected Bibliography of Rudolph Fisher” by Leonard J. Deutsch in 1978 was the last attempt at correcting and updating the sources available regarding Fisher’s work. Since past attempts to gather substantiated and comprehensive bibliographic material have been rife with “errors, inaccuracies, inconsistencies, and omissions,” firsthand verification was utilized to accomplish the desired result - a bibliography that provides future researchers with an updated, accurate, and thorough listing of primary and secondary sources relating to Rudolph Fisher. The bibliography is divided into two major alphabetically arranged sections, primary and secondary sources. The primary source list includes long and short fiction, non-fiction, reviews (by Fisher), correspondence, and unpublished writings. The secondary source list includes critical articles, parts of books, unpublished criticism, reviews and notices, correspondence, biographies and death notices, and bibliographies. Annotations are designed to be as brief as possible while allowing for a user friendly aspect for future research. Of note, the researcher includes, aside from the bibliography proper, a chronology of Fisher’s publications as well as key events in his life and an outline of the bibliography itself.
    • Cannibalistic Imprisonment: Incorporating Hunger, Food, Identity, and Language in Samuel Richardson’s Clarissa, Mary Gordon’s Final Payments, and Toni Morrison’s Beloved

      Wheeler, Holly A.; The College at Brockport (1/1/1998)
      This thesis critically examines the intersection of contemporary feminist theory and the work of three authors, Samuel Richardson, Mary Gordon, and Toni Morrison, representing classic and contemporary literature. In pursuing extended comparative readings of Richardson’s Clarissa, Gordon’s Final Payments, and Morrison’s Beloved as case studies, this project observes the various ways in which cultural and material circumstances organize relationships among writing, women's bodies, food, and identity. One facet of the argument concerns the concept of the “abject,” understood to be a “process which begins at the moment of self-realization in the pre-oedipal dyad.” This is applied to all three narratives as a means to further discuss identity with regard to each protagonist. The project juxtaposes the physical instances and metaphors of imprisonment which cause a breakdown of the heroines' language and identity, which, in turn, results in both literal and metaphorical cannibalism. Explanatory material on eating and relationship formation, as foundational to identity, is offered prior to the literary discussion that follows.
    • Representations of Women in Geoffrey Chaucer’s “Man of Law’s Tale” and “Tale of Melibee”

      Volpe-van Dijk, Herma; The College at Brockport (1/1/1999)
      This thesis project discusses stereotypical representations of women as it explores Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales. Understanding the Middle Ages and its treatment of women in society and art, the first section explores the idea of clergy and aristocracy as dominant groups responsible for the creation of the feminine ideal and their subsequent subordination even as it presents paradoxical imagery (ex: Eve and Mary). Following chapters are devoted to female protagonists and highlight their representation as empowered in spite of societal constraints. Through a close reading of the text, the project specifically focuses on Custance, the protagonist from “The Man of Law's Tale,” and Prudence, from “The Tale of Melibee.” Although Custance and Prudence adhere to medieval cultural ideals of femininity, it further notes their central position in the narratives discussed, and presents an argument for the active and heroic nature of these women in Chaucer’s poetic tales. The project concludes that Chaucer’s female characters subvert traditional imagery, transcend stereotypical representations, and create an image of medieval women as independent subjects. (Artwork from the time period is included throughout the project as part of the discussion of gendered representation.)