• Racism and Xenophobia in Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper," Herland and With Her in Ourland

      Mertsock, John S.; The College at Brockport (2001-01-01)
      This thesis project examines the literary work of Charlotte Perkins Gilman; in light of the xenophobic aspects of society in the 1920’s, namely the “Yellow Peril.” It argues that radical theories are present in the work of respected American scientists, political leaders, and authors of the time, and that Gilman, a feminist author, perpetuated these xenophobic ideas. This paper will focus on three of Gilman's major works, her short story "The Yellow Wallpaper," the utopian novel Herland and its sequel With Her in Ourland, from the perspective of race. It considers the symbols and images stemming from the "Yellow Peril" that pervade these works, conveying the racist notions inherent in popular turn-of-the-century sociological constructs, including eugenics and social Darwinism. The project notes Gilman’s role and progressive attitude regarding the feminist movement and oppression in tension with her xenophobic and racist beliefs as they co-exist in her personal writing and literary work.
    • Raymond Carver and the Menacing Search for Identity and Intimacy

      Bittlingmaier, Michael J.; The College at Brockport (2005-07-25)
      Raymond Carver has been called the master of menace by many critics who suggest his characters are devoid of self-awareness and have very few redeeming qualities regarding emotional growth. The menacing aspect of his work has been viewed by many readers as a plot-oriented tool that places the characters in hopeless situations the author refuses to let them out of, confining them to lives of "emotional paralysis and terror" (Wickenden 38). I intend to demonstrate the contrary that this menace is actually an incidental occurrence that derives from characters whose fears of being insubstantial are a result of identities in crisis. Failure to achieve a true delineated self provides the menace or tension that initiates the decision Carver’s characters are forced to make: to remain passively constrained by identity foreclosure or diffusion, or to liberate themselves from their self-imposed confines to actively set forth into moratorium: the explorative process of "forging an identity'' (Marcia, Patterson, and Sochting 1 2). While Developmental psychologist James A. Marcia' s identity statuses will provide a template for these adult characters experiencing a prolonged adolescent identity crisis, Erik H. Erikson's sixth stage of human development, Intimacy versus Isolation, will emphasize the lives of characters who fail to obtain true intimacy and who thus remain passive in their search for identity. Carver's use of first person narrative, ambiguity, epiphany, and symbolism are the technical aspects explored that emphasize the plight of the foreclosed and diffused character who must break free of the bonds of passivity by stepping forward into moratorium.
    • Re-visioning Medea

      Caronia, Nancy A.; The College at Brockport (2008-05-01)
      The Euripidean Medea has been canonized as the de facto standard of all characterizations found within the Medea tradition. The image of Euripides's infanticidal murderess has persisted for nearly two millennia due to interpretations that have furthered the impression that the infanticide is her most salient character trait. However, Pindar, Apollonios, and even Euripides did not make infanticide the central concern of their texts. Pindar privileges Medea's divinity and skills as a prophetess, while Apollonios focuses on the ways in which she was manipulated by gods and mortals. Euripides, who may have originated the infanticidal twist, uses the children's deaths to indict Jason and Creon's willful disregard of the hereditary blood curse on the House of Aeolus, to which both were connected. Roman texts such as Ovid's Heroides 12 and Metamorphoses 7, Gaius Valerius Flaccus's Argonautica, and Seneca's Medea reveal the complexity of the Medea tradition by explicitly and implicitly indicting the brutality and arrogance of patriarchal authority. Ovid creates an abandoned wife in Heroides 12 and a wife who would do anything for her husband, including transforming herself into an amoral supernatural being, in Metamorphoses 12. Valerius chooses to subvert Medea's purpose in the quest for the Golden Fleece by portraying the Argonauts as a band of pirates bent on destruction. Seneca's Medea displays the attributes of imperial rulers, which suggests that Seneca was crafting a veiled critique of the depravity and corruption found in the first century C. E. of Rome. Contemporary texts including Ludmila Ulitskaya's Medea and Her Children and Toni Morrison's Beloved privilege a post-modem self-consciousness, which further displaces reductive interpretations of Medea as a static figure of murder and mayhem. Ulitskaya chooses to create a Medea who more closely resembles the earliest strands of the Medea myth where she was privileged as an herbalist and a priestess; Medea Sinoply has never left her homeland and is portrayed as the nurturer and stability of her large extended family, which directly contradicts any interpretations of Medea that choose to see her as the bringer of chaos and destruction. Morrison's Sethe has the most explicit characteristics of Euripides's Medea, but Morrison uses these traits to challenge any simple notions of Sethe's killing of her daughter in a severe indictment of the institution of slavery. Morrison offers no easy answers since her Medea-like creation not only loses her daughter and her connection to her community, but also her sanity. Close examinations of these texts will reveal the complexity and sophisticated nature not only of the myth, but also of these authors’ creations.
    • “Reality" in the Adirondacks

      Mosier, Megan Ellen; The College at Brockport (2005-05-01)
      This thesis project celebrates the Adirondacks and chronicles the challenges of summer employment with a focus on the social gap between employer and employee. Crafted in a creative non-fiction style the author discusses outdoor literature, location as influential in character development, and segmenting as a means to focus essay content. The opening section discusses the project development as the author researched, experimented with, and polished the conventions necessary for a comprehensive creative non-fiction work. The remaining four sections include creative non-fiction essays.
    • Reconstructing Women's Subjectivity in Woman in the Nineteenth Century, The Lamplighter, and Behind a Mask

      Chaffee, Rachel L.; The College at Brockport (2004-11-02)
      Nineteenth-century American history is full of avid reformers, both women and men, seeking to make drastic changes in the social, cultural and educational systems of their country. Margaret Fuller, writer, critic and cultural reformer, was a key figure in the advances for women on all economic and social levels. It is with Fuller's approach to female identity as offered in Woman in the Nineteenth Century that this thesis centers upon. The first half of the thesis establishes the narrow domestic and educational framework of nineteenth-century female selfhood upon which Fuller bases her approach. The first two chapters examine the way in which Fuller offers woman a way into self-definition- making, encouraging not only the reevaluation of past and present female roles, but claiming that positive potential selfhood is attainable by repositioning and defining woman both inside and outside of the context of nineteenth-century social, cultural, and gender norms. By refuting the socially rigid definitions of female education, the social institution of marriage, and the confines of domesticity, Fuller's text offers us a lens through which to examine both the inherent flaws and possibilities in approaching female selfhood outside conventional nineteenth-century ideologies of personhood. Chapters three and four examine the practicality of Fuller's approach to female selfhood within the context of nineteenth-century women fiction, mainly, Susan Cummins' novel The Lamplighter and Louisa May Alcott's novella Behind a Mask. By examining the main characters of each story, Gerty Flint and Jean Muir, this thesis attempts to demonstrate the possibility of constructing a fully cultivated female identity based less on gender assumptions and more on the individual capacity Margaret Fuller believed all women held within them.
    • Representations of Women in Geoffrey Chaucer’s “Man of Law’s Tale” and “Tale of Melibee”

      Volpe-van Dijk, Herma; The College at Brockport (1999-01-01)
      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.)
    • Rescuing Van Weyden

      Kerner, Jonathan A.; The College at Brockport (2012-04-22)
      This work, submitted to satisfy the requirement for a thesis in creative writing at the State University of New York, Brockport, contains short works of fiction and of memoir. "The Smoothness of the Grain" is a study of one's interiority as it manifests without being understood. "Breakfast with Mom in Summer" is a fictionalized recollection of a young boy ' s pleasant morning. "Old Lady Gordon" is a loving remembrance informed by many boyhood experiences. "In Northern Wood" is a poetic recollection of a hunting experience. "Endless Winter" is a retelling of that experience that expresses angst about the author's world that was passed over in the earlier more reverent "In Northern Wood. " "The Fox" is a recollection of a hunting experience that waxes philosophically existential . "The Oswegatchie" is a fictional short story in which the author' s brooding interiority is on display while at the same time being a further celebration of friendship set in the outdoors. "The Sand Woman" is fiction inspired by Kobo Abe's The Woman in the Dunes depicting the awkwardness of strangers (who are forced to coexist) as it transforms into understanding and perhaps something more. Finally, "How I Got Here" is a memoir of the author's pursuit of a life that is purposeful.
    • Rivers of Divinity: The Impact of a Classical and Medieval Tradition on Chaucer and Malory

      Cirilla, Anthony G.; The College at Brockport (2010-05-15)
      Chaucer and Malory to classical river god providence, where epic poets wrestle with the ideas of empire and fate by questioning the river god's ability to exert his autonomy. Because river god providence is finite, it is susceptible to a peculiar frustration in exerting its legitimate authority at the hands of fate. Homer, Statius and Lucan all present versions of a failed river god providence, while Virgil alone creates a successful example of the tradition. His example, however, is in turn parodied by Ovid, which highlights further the ambiguities of river god providence. Medieval chroniclers and romancers utilize a Virgilian theme of river providence, removing the local gods and putting in their place either God's will or some other supernatural force (such as ghosts or fairies). River providence may be ambiguous at times in medieval literature, but is for the most part successful; the sovereign autonomy of river providence is questioned less than the moral autonomy of the hero who encounters these divinized rivers. Chaucer, through Criseyde’s oath in Troilus and Criseyde, suggests that river providence is a failure because it cannot assist a will in moral choices due to its pagan origins. Malory, on the other hand, presents in Le Marte D 'Arthur river providence which successfully executes its authority, ultimately suggesting that pagan traditions are acceptable when used to highlight Christian virtues. River providence ultimately investigates the frustration of autonomy in general, in a world which often aggressively limits any being's ability to make moral choices.
    • Robert Bly, C.K. Williams & Michael Klein: Corporate Intimacy in Prose Poetry

      Black, Ralph W.; Fellner, Steve; Oyer, Julie M.; The College at Brockport (2015-05-15)
      This advanced project explores the genre of the prose poetry form taking specific note of its shape, sound, and structure. It considers the juxtaposition of intimacy and inclusivity within the form in the prose poetry work of three poets, Robert Bly, C.K. Williams, and Michael Klein. Reader-response theory is also addressed to theoretically ground the conversation and infuse the concept of community and connection in and through this poetic form. Drawing on the accessible and personal nature that prose poetry can invite, this project examines how each poet exemplifies the idea of “created corporate intimacy” as it is applied to all three poets’ work as a means to further discuss the relationship of the reader and writer—and what these writers allow—and that is a sense of intimacy between the speaker of their poems and the readers, and the relational connection of readers.
    • Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead: A Postmodern Analysis

      Meyer, Elisabeth A.; The College at Brockport (1991-06-01)
      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.
    • Rudolph Fisher : An Annotated Bibliography

      Gable, Craig; The College at Brockport (1998-01-01)
      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.
    • Sarah Orne Jewett : Transcendence in Nature

      Leenay, Kathryn; The College at Brockport (2000-01-01)
      Sarah Orne Jewett wrote about people and things “just as they are” (Silverthorne 35) . Her father had given her this advice and, in a way, she made it her mission in life to acquaint people with each other. Despite her simple language and seemingly simple characters her work is full of wisdom and touches on m any universal themes. Willa Cather believed Jewett’s last novel, The Country of the Pointed Firs, deserved a place alongside Huckleberry Finn and The Scarlet Letter (Cather vi). Although some critics in Jewett’s time complained of “very little plot” (Silverthorne 143 ) in her stories, other influential critics and publishers, such as William Dean Howells, enjoyed and revered her “ free movement, unfettered by the limits of plot, and keeping only to the reality, which no other eye than hers has seen so subtly, so humorously, so touchingly” (Silverthorne 207) . I will analyze The Country of the Pointed Firs using the 1925 edition, which includes the three appended stories: “The Queen’s Twin,” “A Dunnet Shepherdess,” and “William’s Wedding.” Natural settings in the novel and in the appended stories allow characters in Country to transcend apparently conventional human limitations such as physical and emotional isolation from community, linear time, traditional Christian religions, and gender. The anonymous narrator in the novel develops pliant and enriching relationships with other community members as she “returns” to her true self. In the first few chapters of Country, she realizes that isolation from community can renew the soul and make one a stronger member of a community in the long run. This Transcendentalist tenet is expanded throughout the original novel, as well as the appended stories. Using natural settings as a "school" for transcendence, Jewett also touches on the Transcendentalist tenet of “the great and small," as seen in examinations of linear time and traditional Christian beliefs in the novel. Most of the characters in the novel are of a mature age, appearing to be beyond the years of parturition. Despite this ‘‘limitation," the characters are able to prosper on seemingly infertile, rocky land. They also appear physically younger than their true age, thereby continually contradicting the limitations of linear time on a body. The merging of the two extremes, great and small, is a collapse of a traditionally linear, hierarchical structure. In other words, when the two extremes are brought together as one there is no longer a need for a bipolar relationship between youth and age, good and bad, and man and woman. An embodiment of all forces in oneness, as seen in the work of two of Jewett's influences, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Emanual Swedenborg, leads to transcendence. The Christian belief that the greatness of God was born into the microcosm of a human baby, Jesus Christ, is an example of the "great and small" collapsing into one. Jewett uses and, in a way, redefines this image when she juxtaposes the maternal Mother Earth figure, Mrs. Blackett, with the conventional Christian minister at the Bowden Reunion. She introduces a woman -centered Christianity in her book where the church is found in the domestic setting of the home. Finally, Jewett transcends gender role limitations (again using natural settings for her place of education) by allowing characters to visit both their maternal and paternal selves. Country is a subtle novel that reveals Jewett’s own exploration and, essentially, reconstruction of many traditional nineteenth century beliefs. Jewett does not work with young heroines like Alcott's Jo or Bronte’s Jane Eyre to convey her message, but rather she returns, as the title of Country’s first chapter implies, to the teachings of the past and chooses an older woman, Almira Todd, as a guide and mentor for both the reader and the narrator. In her characters, Jewett reveals the wisdom of all ages and so taps into perpetual knowledge, growth, and a youthful spirit.
    • Screaming in Silence

      Reisig, Kristen; The College at Brockport (2003-12-09)
      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.
    • Scuttlebutt: Stories

      Shamblin, Terry L.; The College at Brockport (2000-01-01)
      This thesis project discusses writing creatively as it leverages rhetorical and compositional strategies as part of the creative process. The paper also argues that the use of varied disciplinary theories and knowledge from such diverse areas as psychology, sociolinguistics, grammar, mathematics and statistics, all assist in writing fiction. It discusses the study of ethos, pathos, and logos, as it has bearing on the writing of short fiction, and its use to foster a more effective writing process. The remainder of the project includes ten original, short fiction pieces.
    • Seesaw

      Povinelli, Caroline M.; The College at Brockport (2012-05-11)
      The twenty-three poems in this collection are invested in the examination of memories. The author's personal experiences and observations from childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood are thoroughly explored using original images and inventive language. Influenced by the works of Cesar Vallejo, Kimiko Hahn, and Karen Volkman, among others, these poems describe scenes and relationships from the past in a surreal, non-linear manner. The result is a highly detailed and emotional account of people and places that have made a significant impact on the author's life. Themes of resentment, guilt, loss, and regret provide a tangible link from poem to poem. A critical introduction explains the author's stylistic preferences and literary influences. The poems range from one page to three pages in length, and are separated into three sections. Each of these sections represents a period of time in the author's life.
    • Sexual Desire and Social Conventions in Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century American Seduction Novels

      McIntyre, Christine; The College at Brockport (2000-04-01)
      A woman’s role in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries was a difficult one. A woman’s purity was her most valued attribute. Women were the source of sexual morality within society. Men would only be as moral as women would demand. Seduction novels were a popular phenomenon at the time. They would often show the horrible consequences of women who were unable to retain their chastity until marriage. In this master thesis four novels are used as examples including Charlotte Temple, Maggie, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, and House of Mirth. Charlotte Temple tells the story of the conflict between rationality and romance. Charlotte ignores the warnings of her mother and is seduced by a soldier who has no intentions of marrying her. Charlotte’s life ends in tragedy. Charlotte can be a warning for girls on what not to do. Maggie shows a similar fate within a lower class society. Maggie is a naïve and innocent girl who wishes to escape from poverty. She sees her chance in her brother’s friend, and gives herself to him. Her friends and family abandon her as used-up and she also has a tragic ending. This story speaks for the perceived value of women and the false morals of the time. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl is an autobiography of a young girl born into slavery. Her master continuously harasses her. Not wanting to be forced into a sexual encounter, she instead chooses to take a lover. She shows a person who wants to live up to society’s moral standards, but cannot. The last book, House of Mirth, focuses on upper class women, and their role as parasitic ornaments to their husbands. The main character in this story seeks to marry a wealthy man, even at the expense of love. She feels love towards a poor man, but chases after wealthier prospects.
    • Shakespeare, Ovid, and the Expression of Feminine Voice

      Kryger, Rebecca J.; The College at Brockport (2008-05-15)
      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.
    • Shrews, Jews, and Public Dues: The High Price of Rhetorical Savvy

      Bianchi, Tina J.; The College at Brockport (2005-04-30)
      The role of the socially inferior Other is fulfilled in both The Taming of the Shrew and The Merchant of Venice via Katherina and Shylock, respectively. The way in which these two characters are received by the modern reader in comparison to the way they would have been received by Shakespeare's contemporaries is a major focus of this thesis. It contains sections on the social parallels between Katherina and Shylock, rhetorical parallels between the two plays, and the problem of interpretation and classification as comedy for the modern reader. It also takes into account the plays' settings, especially Merchant, as it traverses a complex set of boundaries in relation to re-assimilation of Jews in Venice, and it acknowledges the conscience of the modern day reader who may find the treatment of Shylock to be tragic as opposed to comedic, and who may feel a sense of regret for Katherina's transformation into a socially accepted model of womanhood as defined by the patriarchal boundaries of the time. However, it leaves space for debate, as both the writer and the text are suspect under the light of analysis.
    • Singing the Song of the Eunuch

      Sanderson, Andy; The College at Brockport (2007-04-01)
      Form, stated as a critical component of poetry writing in “alchemic” combination with image, word choice, and resonance, as they bear on the creative writing process, is explored in this critical and creative thesis project. The poetic voice as it is informed by "Sanderson's Four Axioms,” (named above – form, image, word choice, resonance) are revealed through examples of published poets, critical suggestions, and original poetry. The creative work is written in a variety of traditional and non-traditional forms primarily focused on the author’s personal experiences as a lifelong resident of Western New York. In essence, the creative section presents a series of eclogues that explore voice in both its stylistic and thematic manifestations.
    • Some of the Parts: Poems and What They Can Do

      Yockel, David W.; The College at Brockport (2011-04-18)
      " Some of the Parts" begins with an introductory essay that focuses on my personal poetic vision as well as discussing my belief in the operation of poetic language. It starts by exploring the path of my graduate study and goes on to work through the mechanics of denotation and connotation, among many other poetic devices. It shows my belief in the immortality available through poetry's attention to specific moments in life. The three sections of poems were written over the past two years. The themes are set up to flow into and out of each other, between ars poetica, nature and beauty, and my choice of forms: anaphora, list poem, etc. I hope that the order of the pieces works well and ultimately colors my poetic aesthetic correctly and exhibits the import I place on the smaller "parts" of the human condition.