Friday, September 23, 2005

Constant Excitement

God's so good - He gives me all sorts of fun little surprises every day to keep things interesting and lively. Here are just a few of the outstanding ones...

I was on duty and not only did all my girls get their shoes stolen and put in the gym by the soccer guys during the major speaker but we also got a nice little 3am surprise. At that charming hour of the morning, the fire alarm began to blare. I sprang out of bed, yelled, "Tony get up!" (knowing that if it was real, my roomie would be roasted before thinking of waking up), and rushed into the hall to find one of my girls frantically pulling very burnt popcorn out of the microwave. I have this theory that if you're too tired to plug 30 sec. instead of 30 min. into a microwave, then you're probably not lucid enough to be absorbing much from your late night test vigil. About half of my girls never woke up through the whole ordeal - note to self...

Larry and I got caught in a glorious downpour, complete with lightning crashes sudden and close enough to make me squeal once--I'm glad Larry gets so much amusement out of my dork moments.

There are three bears on campus (mom and two cubs). Try warning 30 freshmen girls about that and keeping them sane at the same time. We also have had a lovely infestation of skunks all the sudden. Why can't we just have a sudden increase of butterflies or quail or something pretty and innocent on campus? Oh well . . . (but of course I'd like to see the bears--how cool would that be?)

I'm going to San Francisco with Larry and my family! Kinda a last minute thing--but I'm psyched. Dad has a singing gig over there and we decided to tag along since we found beautifully cheap airline tickets.

This year's canoe trip rocked! I spent a lot of time in the water, and we helped a bunch of friends enjoy the same pleasure. ;)

Lastly, happy feast of St. Padre Pio! God bless all.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Thanks to the Holy Spirit

My friends, life is good, God is infinitely good, and, courtesy of the latter, I have a thesis topic. The following attempt at a description contains as many common terms and as few English-majorish qualifiers as I could muster; so please be patient with me, and I’ll try to explain the general direction my pursuit of the subjectively perfect thesis topic has taken me.

Roughly within the last century, a new wave of literary critics has struggled to re-interpret and fathom the depths of the classics of English literature. I won’t go into the various forms here, but they each promoted radically different perspectives on how a work is to be read. Some said words don’t have objective meanings, and so the meaning of the work is only an interpretation by an individual, a community, or a specific, temporal context or culture. Others insisted that the work of art had to communicate some sort of universal truth.

Spanning the gamut of literary theories were the new feminist literary critics. They looked at written art and artists through the tinted glasses of modern feminism (to contrast it with the early equal-rights “feminists”). Thus, Jane Eyre, Ophelia, Lizzy Bennet and other female characters were victims of a male dominated, misogynistic society. They were to be praised for traits like ingenuity, just anger, independence, self-sufficiency, emotional forbearance, etc. The feminist critics examine female authors of note in the same manner.

I would like to study the rhetoric of these women and hopefully demonstrate how their terminology and perspective is self-defeating if their quest is truly to reclaim the proper dignity and equality due to the female sex in the modern world. Too much of their language emphasizes a master/slave relationship between men and women. In the same strain, they seem not to aspire to equality and complementary with men, but rather superiority through male-virtues (note how similar some of the virtues they extol in female characters sounds like the ideal Hemmingway-esque modern man.) In addition, by employing this type of rhetoric, they lose sight of the true beauty of the “feminine genius.” They neglect to praise females displaying sensitivity, humility, sacrificial love, receptivity, or a mothering spirit. I would argue that the female characters they extol were not intriguing to centuries of readers because of their foresight and adaptation of the “ideal” modern woman’s character, but because of their realistic portrayal of universal feminine virtues and attributes.

Obviously, this is a direction, not a specific topic. I would probably trim it down to a study of 1-3 critics or critiqued characters. I have a lot of reading and studying to do in order to actually form an educated opinion and thesis on the topic; since, as of now, I only have vague surmises drawn from my studies in several previous classes and discussion with my thesis advisor. Fortunately, I have a directed study on my thesis topic this semester and will be waiting until next semester to actually write it.

Keep me and my “opus Dei” in your prayers; you are all in mine.