English Honors Seminar 2016-2017

Excerpt from Interview with Ishiguro:

Guernica: “You’ve said that an inspiration for The Buried Giant was the fourteenth-century poem “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.” What about that poem first sparked your interest?”
Ishiguro: “Most of the poem—which I’ve known for a long, long time—was completely irrelevant to my book. There’s a little passage when the young Sir Gawain leaves Camelot and goes across Britain looking for this Green Knight’s castle. In that fragment, which is literally about one stanza, there’s a mini-description of the landscape that he crosses, and then he gets to the castle and the story continues.What really sparked my imagination as far as The Buried Giant was concerned was that tiny little description of the country he was crossing. It sounds like such a weird place. Britain in those days was really rough. There weren’t any inns or anything like that where he could stay, so he had to sleep on rocks in the pouring rain—I don’t know why he had to sleep on rocks, he could have slept under a tree, but that’s what it says—and there are a couple of lines that say that he was chased by wolves and wild boar and panting ogres. They’d chase him up hills, out of villages. That’s the first and last time you hear anything about ogres. I thought, “This is a rather interesting landscape.” Particularly the panting ogres. They’re more or less like wild bulls or something: they were an inconvenience. There’s no real sense of surprise that there’s this panting ogre coming after you.To be honest, I don’t know very much about the Arthurian Legends. The Arthur in my book is a quasi-historical Arthur. It’s possible that there is a real historical figure upon which the King Arthur myth was based. And it’s that figure, a military leader, who was around in that time who perhaps—and I say perhaps because the history there was so murky—led the resistance fighting on the part of the Britons [the indigenous people] against the migrants who were in increasing numbers taking over parts of the island. These are the people who later became the English; they basically took over the whole country. So a lot of people think that if there’s a historical basis for the Arthur legend it was this great leader who, for maybe a generation or two, managed to impose a kind of a peace and stability, but a very, very uneasy one as a result of having won major military victories. And then eventually that peace crumbled and the Anglo-Saxons took over Britain and the place became English. It’s that Arthur that I’m interested in rather than the Arthur of the Holy Grail legends.”

~To summarize- Ishiguro basically states that he believes he has not contributed at all to Arthurian literature. He was definitely inspired but would claim that he does nothing to add on to this type of genre. In this presentation, I would like to explore the question if Ishiguro’s The Buried Giant, in fact does not contribute to Arthurian literature or it does.

I took the basic motifs that Helen Fulton lists of Arthurian literature.She writes more in depth and connects various works together. According to Helen Fulton’s “Introduction: Theories and Debates some motifs in Arthurian Literature are:

  • Emphasis on individual hero overcoming obstacles to win a noble reputation
  • Focuses on knight ship
  • Highest standards of religious virtue
  • Romance-type of discourse
  • Magic
  • Supernatural
  • Warriors can speak language
  • Shapeshifting
  • Natural and cultural identities
  • Heroism in barbaric society
  • Uses of the past to explain the present
  • A Quest

~The knights are able to speak many languages and communicate with animals verbally along with being able to shift into the animals~

In exploring if The Buried Giant can be taken as Arthurian Literature, I would like to take a look at Sir Gawain and his characteristics. Him being the nephew of King Arthur, is the character who would give the ultimate layout of a Arthurian King. The story begins with the couple, Axl and Beatrice setting out on a mission in hope of finding their son in a near by community. They are ended up being attacked by two ogres the first night


  • Wise
  • Follows the rules
  • Chivalrous
  • Humble
  • Peace making

Quotes from The Buried Giant

  • “This fellow’s a Saxon warrior, Sir Gawain, and here to do us mischief. Help me face him, for though I’m keen to do my duty, if this is the man we seek he’s a fearful fellow by all accounts.”
  • “What reason have I to take arms against a man simply for being a stranger? It’s you, sir, came into this tranquil place with your rude manners.” (Ishiguro p.118)

~In this scene, Wiston is introduced. A warrior visiting from the east. He claims to be traveling in peace on an errand for his king. Wiston ends up saving Edwin, that Sir Gawain states was bit by an ogre. Once again, you can see a motif of knight ship and chivalry in these quick two passage. Sir Gawain is not taken aback by Wiston and trusts him and has no reason to fight him on false pretenses.

  • “I beg you, do not jest, Sir Gawain. This is a wild fellow, and he’ll strike at any moment. I see it in his eye. He’s here to do us all mischief, I tell you.”
  • “Name the mischief I bring, “Wiston said, “travelling peacefully through your country, a single sword in my pack to defend against wild creatures and bandits. If you can name my crime, do so now, for I’d hear the charge before I strike you.”
  • “Sir, let me remind you, I’m a knight of Arthur, no foot soldier of your Lord Brennus. I don’t take up arms against strangers on rumour or for their foreign blood. And it seems to me you’re unable to give good cause for taking against him.”- Sir Gawain (p.119)

~This is in response, to everyone telling Sir Gawain to kill Wiston because he is foreign to the land and bring mischief. Sir Gawain’s character here, continues to show what the Arthurian knight is made up of, honor, virtue, peace, nobility. He will not fight just on suspicion but needs substantial proof to fight and shed blood.

“Companion to Arthurian Literature” by Helen Futon (can be found in the exam material section in Historical Content)

Ishiguro, Kazuo. The Buried Giant. Vintage International. 5 Jan. 2016.

Rukeyser, Rebecca. “Kazuo Ishiguro: Mythic Retreat.” Guernica. Guernica, 23 Oct. 2016. Web. 30 Mar. 2017. <https://www.guernicamag.com/mythic-retreat/>. (Can also be found on exam material website under Genre)

March 31st, 2017 at 12:18 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

The excerpts are taken out of H. Porter Abbot’s “Unreadable Minds and Captive Reader” Here, I list the various interruptions that Abbot is able to list. This shows Cave and Parker’s theory at play on how literature can be always interpreted differently depending on the person and their background. There are two quotes from Bartleby at the end.


The crisis that Bartleby brings on in the heart and mind of his employer is caused by the way he undermines what Ernst Mayr has called the human tendency to engage in “typological” thinking—our assumption of an inner classifiable essence that generates what we see on the outside ( 165-6), to wit, the thinking of the jail’s grubman who assumes Bartleby was “a gentleman-forger” because “they are always pale and genteel-like, them forgers” ( 130).”

Identifying the type, as Mayr argues, is a powerful cognitive imperative, and accordingly Bartleby’s employer begins to infer essence from the evidence of Bartleby’s isolation and poverty: “what miserable friendlessness and loneliness are here revealed ! His poverty is great; but his solitude, how horrible!” ( 109)

Our narrator, however, is too honest a man to succeed in identifying Bartleby even as this least of types. Yet he remains a captive would-be reader, which in itself seems as enigmatic as Bartleby, He marvels at that “wondrous ascendancy which the inscrutable scrivener had over me, and from whieh ascendancy, for all my chafing, I could not completely escape” (118), So powerful is it that when he thinks he is leaving Bartleby for good, “strange to say—I tore myself from him whom I had so longed to be rid o f ( 124),

~Here, it is important to look at how the character can also be interpreted in a different way. The characters are what can also be looked at in depth to understand the bigger picture and the plot as a whole. The understanding of characters can also lead to different and multiple interpretations of the story.

Andrew Delbanco reads this as Melville’s bearing witness “to a good man trying to become a better man in the face of another’s suffering” (Delbanco 221), Delbanco’s interpretive move, and there have been many like it, is an example of a second default response to the unreadable mind: that is, to see it as a function in the characterization of another.
Bartleby’s employer is the captive reader, and the unreadable Bartleby the catalyst who brings out the lawyer’s character. All of which is quite just. And we can choose to leave it at that. But should we not give up on him as a character, Bartleby’s unreadability remains a problem for us, the captive readers of the text. Without narratable cause, “I would prefer not to” is a motif of such transcendent bizzarerie that it seems to come from outer space. Its combination of quaint diction, subjunctive formality, affectless politeness, together with the granitic resolve of its speaker’s attendant behavior, takes Bartleby one step too far from any kind of plausible integration of character – an implausibility that only grows with its insistent repetition. To adapt Andy Clark’s coinage, the phenomenon of Bartleby is “representation-hungry,”” in the sense that there remains an inexplicable distance between Bartleby’s behavior and the presumption from all appearances that Bartleby is human.

~This interprets Bartleby’s character as a problem for us-since he is unreadable but also the so-called catalyst that drives the plot forward. The problem that comes from this is how bartleby’s behavior distances himself from all things that would make him human. Once again, that could lead to a seperate interpratation of why Bartleby is who he is.

…As the story is fiction and not nonfiction, there remains a third common default response. This requires shifting the mode of reading from determining who Bartleby is or how he functions to determining what he stands for.  The unreadable character is read neither as a character nor a function, but as an idea.It is a shift that allows meaning to rush in, which is what has happened almost invariably in the critical response to Bartleby.

~Here, an interpretation of the short story can be read as the characters representing an idea- rather than an actual human or character. Which can also explain the lack of closeness of Bartleby and humanity.

The “sequel” is a paragraph devoted to a mere “rumor,” that “Bartleby had been a subordinate clerk in the Dead Letter Office at Washington.” “Dead letters!” our narrator exclaims, prompting, “does it not sound like dead men?” And after a brief excursus on the metaphorical potential of Bartleby’s rumored employment, he concludes: “On errands of life, these letters speed to death. Ah, Bartleby ! Ah, humanity !” ( 131 ). The hint is more than enough to initiate a symbolic reading. In 1949, Richard Chase developed what has become a popular reading of Bartleby as the uncompromising writer at a time when Melville, now struggling to write novels of greater weight after a brief period of popular success, was beginning to go into eclipse. Bartleby thus chooses death rather than compromise with the agents of a society that has degraded his profession. Others have hung their readings on Bartleby’s plebian status. For Laurie Robertson Lorant, “Bartleby is the ghost of social conscience haunting the precincts of the ruling class” (Lorant 333). For a third, Bartleby can be read as a protest against the absurdity of life itself- that, finally, we are all writers of dead letters. An existential Christ, his death is a final aet of defiance against the whole metaphysical set-up of life on earth. “Ah, Bartleby! Ah humanity!”

“I would prefer not to,” said he.

~Here, Bartleby is being read as a symbolic reading of society. Bartleby is a symbol of integirty and strength overcoming societal oppressions. Somewhat martyr like for his values.

I looked at him steadfastly. His face was leanly composed; his gray eye dimly calm. Not a wrinkle of agitation rippled him. Had there been the least uneasiness, anger, impatience or impertinence in his manner; in other words, had there been any thing ordinarily human about him, doubtless I should have violently dismissed him from the premises.(lines 24-28)

~This quote exemplifies Bartleby’s somewhat distance from humanity in his character

Nothing so aggravates an earnest person as a passive resistance. If the individual so resisted be of a not inhumane temper, and the resisting one perfectly harmless in his passivity; then, in the better moods of the former, he will endeavor charitably to construe to his imagination what proves impossible to be solved by his judgment. Even so, for the most part, I regarded Bartleby and his ways. Poor fellow! thought I, he means no mischief; it is plain he intends no insolence; his aspect sufficiently evinces that his eccentricities are involuntary. He is useful to me. I can get along with him. If I turn him away, the chances are he will fall in with some less indulgent employer, and then he will be rudely treated, and perhaps driven forth miserably to starve. Yes. Here I can cheaply purchase a delicious self-approval. To befriend Bartleby; to humor him in his strange wilfulness, will cost me little or nothing, while I lay up in my soul what will eventually prove a sweet morsel for my conscience.(line 53)

~This quote help support the reading of this short story being a symbolic reading. By the Narrator refelcting on the character of Bartleby and trying to understand him personally. Bartleby’s traits are highlights which can help support his innocent characeter in a corrupted society. Or it could also be read as a way for the narrator to make himself feel good-like he is doing a good deed by helping Bartleby. “Cheaply purchase a delicious self-approval”- he’s doing it to make himself feel good and not for the good deed itself or for the sake of humanity. It could be seen as the narrator possibly representing the corrupt society and Bartleby resisting it.


“Melville, Herman. 1853. Bartleby, the Scrivener.” Melville, Herman. 1853. Bartleby, the Scrivener. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Mar. 2017.

March 31st, 2017 at 11:52 am | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart”


Insanity Defense: A person accused of a crime can acknowledge that they committed the crime, but argue that they are not responsible for it because of their mental illness, by pleading “not guilty by reason of insanity.” The insanity defense is traditionally classified as an excuse defense, in contrast with jurisdiction defenses like self-defense. This classification indicates that, while the action committed by a defendant was impermissible, the actor is excused because of a prevailing condition, here insanity. (“Insanity Defense.”)


Moral Insanity: A disease of the mind in which the individual is bereft of ethical judgment or feelings but still fully functioning intellectually.( “Moral Insanity Definition.”)


Quotes from “The Tell-Tale Heart”

“It is impossible to say how first the idea entered my brain; but once conceived, it haunted me day and night. Object there was none. Passion there was none. I loved the old man. He had never wronged me. He had never given me insult. For his gold I had no desire. I think it was his eye! yes, it was this! He had the eye of a vulture –a pale blue eye, with a film over it. Whenever it fell upon me, my blood ran cold; and so by degrees –very gradually –I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye forever.”


“It grew quicker and quicker, and louder and louder every instant. The old man’s terror must have been extreme! It grew louder, I say, louder every moment! –do you mark me well I have told you that I am nervous: so I am. “


No doubt I now grew very pale; –but I talked more fluently, and with a heightened voice. Yet the sound increased –and what could I do? It was a low, dull, quick sound –much such a sound as a watch makes when enveloped in cotton. I gasped for breath –and yet the officers heard it not. I talked more quickly –more vehemently; but the noise steadily increased. I arose and argued about trifles, in a high key and with violent gesticulations; but the noise steadily increased. Why would they not be gone? I paced the floor to and fro with heavy strides, as if excited to fury by the observations of the men –but the noise steadily increased. Oh God! what could I do? I foamed –I raved –I swore! I swung the chair upon which I had been sitting, and grated it upon the boards, but the noise arose over all and continually increased. It grew louder –louder –louder! And still the men chatted pleasantly, and smiled. Was it possible they heard not? Almighty God! –no, no! They heard! –they suspected! –they knew! –they were making a mockery of my horror!-this I thought, and this I think. But anything was better than this agony! Anything was more tolerable than this derision! I could bear those hypocritical smiles no longer! I felt that I must scream or die! and now –again! –hark! louder! louder! louder! louder!

“Villains!” I shrieked, “dissemble no more! I admit the deed! –tear up the planks! here, here! –It is the beating of his hideous heart!”


“TRUE! –nervous –very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses –not destroyed –not dulled them. Above all was the sense of hearing acute. I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell. How, then, am I mad? Hearken! And observe how healthily –how calmly I can tell you the whole story”


“Presently I heard a slight groan, and I knew it was the groan of mortal terror. It was not a groan of pain or of grief –oh, no! –it was the low stifled sound that arises from the bottom of the soul when overcharged with awe. I knew the sound well. Many a night, just at midnight, when all the world slept, it has welled up from my own bosom, deepening, with its dreadful echo, the terrors that distracted me. I say I knew it well. I knew what the old man felt, and pitied him, although I chuckled at heart. I knew that he had been lying awake ever since the first slight noise, when he had turned in the bed. His fears had been ever since growing upon him. He had been trying to fancy them causeless, but could not. He had been saying to himself –“It is nothing but the wind in the chimney –it is only a mouse crossing the floor,” or “It is merely a cricket which has made a single chirp.” Yes, he had been trying to comfort himself with these suppositions: but he had found all in vain. All in vain; because Death, in approaching him had stalked with his black shadow before him, and enveloped the victim. And it was the mournful influence of the unperceived shadow that caused him to feel –although he neither saw nor heard –to feel the presence of my head within the room”

From Brian Wall’s “Narrative Purpose and Legal Logic in ‘The Tell-Tale Heart.’”:

“Dan Shen, for example, suggests that the most likely rationale for connecting “The Tell-Tale Heart” and the cultural context of the insanity defense is a purposeful extension of ethically oriented dramatic irony that “seems to make the protagonist’s unconscious self-condemnation and the narrator’s unconscious self- conviction reinforce each other in order to convey the implicit moral in a highly dramatic and ironic manner.” I agree that Poe’s invocation of the insanity defense is likely intended to evoke dramatic irony and would add that such a use does not preclude his setting up the insanity defense as a target of social commentary. I am not contending here that Poe intended “The Tell-Tale Heart” to either indict or commend the “right or wrong” version of the insanity defense prevalent in English and American criminal law at the time of Poe’s publication; rather, my intent is to demonstrates that Poe crafted a problematic narrative of insanity because the narrator is so intent on avoiding such a finding. Thus circumventing the purpose and intention of the insanity defense.

“While Poe’s narrator may very well be insane—and may very well have committed his crime due to mental illness—his desperation to avoid a finding of insanity is especially noteworthy in the context of nineteenth-century criminal punishment and treatment of the mentally ill. The narrator’s refusal to invoke the insanity defense both grants him ironic power in determining his destination for punishment in opposition to the ordinary course of the justice system, and allows Poe to explore the gap between the culpability-negating legal definition of insanity and actual mental illness. The English legal system had grappled with the question of how to treat the insane in criminal proceedings long before Poe crafted his tale. By the fourteenth century, English courts “recognized that it was morally improper to punish a person whose mentality did not allow him to understand the difference between ‘good and evil.’”

“The identity of “you” is a crucial step in analyzing Poe’s narrative of the tale, and otherwise laudatory explorations of the implications of the insanity defense in the tale may not have considered this element as closely as they could have. Cleman categorizes the “characteristic form” of “The Tell-Tale Heart” as “not confession but self-defense.” He claims that the narrator “addresses a specific but unnamed ‘you’ sometime after his arrest but obviously before his execution (if there is to be one). His aim is to refute ‘you’s’ claim that he is insane, a charge that has apparently been both specific and formal enough for the narrator to feel the necessity of responding in earnest and in detail.” He also claims that the obviously oral nature of the narrative indicates “something like a courtroom outburst or final statement of the accused.” To Cleman, although a successful insanity defense would thwart the “death wish many critics have described as the essence of the narrator’s compulsions to crime and confession,” Poe “inverts or re-deflects the central argument of the insanity defense so that compulsion accounts not for the crime but for the exposure of the crime and its perpetrator,” and “Poe’s deterministic forces lead the guilty to the hangman.”20 In Cleman’s reading, there- fore, insanity is a “charge” against which the narrator must respond, “you” is attempting to prove the narrator guilty of that charge of insanity to his detriment in court, and the narrator’s attempts to refute that charge thus demonstrate his insanity and lead to the fulfillment of the death wish. “

From Dan Shen’s “Edgar Allan Poe’s Aesthetic Theory, the Insanity Debate, and the Ethically Oriented Dynamics of ‘The Tell-Tale Heart.’”:

““The Tell-Tale Heart” was produced in the context of the increasing controversy in the mid nineteenth century over the “insanity defense.”27 Before the end of the eighteenth century, the most common test of exculpatory insanity was the loss of reason and the “knowledge of good and evil.”28 As John Cleman writes, with “the equation between reason and the moral sense, any sign of rationality—such as appearing calm and reasonable in court, premeditating or planning the crime, or seeking to hide or avoid punishment—demonstrated the presence of an indivisible conscience and concomitant moral responsibility” (“Irresistible Impulses,” p. 628).29 To qualify for legal exemption, the defendant had to be, in the words of Judge Tracy in 1774, “a man that is totally deprived of his understanding and memory, and doth not know what he is doing, no more than an infant, than a brute, or a wild beast.”30

At the turn of the century, however, Benjamin Rush, the father of American psychiatry, distinguished the moral faculties from the intellectual faculties (represented by different areas in the brain) and developed a new theory of insanity—“moral derangement”—in which insanity was considered a disease affecting the moral faculties alone, without disordering the intellect. In the 1830s James Cowles Prichard further developed and popularized the discussion, making what he called “moral insanity” the “focus of psychological studies and polemical arguments until replaced by the category of psychopathic personality at the end of the century.”

In “The Tell-Tale Heart” the narrator-protagonist displays typical symptoms of partial insanity or “moral insanity.”37 On the one hand, he retains his rationality in “calmly” telling the story, premeditating the crime, cunningly carrying it out and trying to hide it; but on the other hand, he displays “dreadful” nervousness, the lack of a rational motive for killing (“[The old man] had never wronged me. He had never given me insult” [“Tell-Tale Heart,” p. 555]), the irrational fear of the old man’s eye (which he regards as an “Evil Eye”), and the obsession with a queer idea (“It is impossible to say how first the idea entered my brain; but once conceived, it haunted me day and night” [p. 555]).38

Works Cited

“Insanity Defense.” LII / Legal Information Institute. N.p., 06 Aug. 2007. Web. 20 Feb.2017. “Moral Insanity Definition.” Duhaime’s Law Dictionary N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Feb. 2017.

Poe, Edgar Allan. “The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe.” The Tell-Tale Heart. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Feb. 2017. <http://xroads.virginia.edu/~hyper/poe/telltale.html>.

Shen, Dan. “Edgar Allan Poe’s Aesthetic Theory, the Insanity Debate, and the Ethically Oriented Dynamics of ‘The Tell-Tale Heart.’” Nineteenth-Century Literature, vol. 63, no. 3, 2008, pp. 321–345., www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/ncl.2008.63.3.321.


Brian Wall. “Narrative Purpose and Legal Logic in ‘The Tell-Tale Heart.’” The Edgar Allan Poe Review, vol. 14, no. 2, 2013, pp. 129–143., www.jstor.org/stable/10.5325/edgallpoerev.14.2.0129.




March 15th, 2017 at 9:49 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

My draft that I submitted late December was mostly a rough outline or just a mix of various of ideas I had about my topic. The feedback I received helped me narrow my ideas down. Brandon suggested reading Chapter 3 of Hayot’s book and that did help. Writing everyday and continuously writing even at times of blocks helped. Even when it seemed like I was not getting anywhere, I was able to narrow ideas down, instead of keeping these grand ideas at large,

Highlighting passages in Dracula also extremely helped. Knowing exactly what passages I wanted to use, helped keep my ideas focused in rewriting my draft.

Writing also helped me narrow my focus, I believe. Reading my sources before-hand helped knowing what I had. But when I was writing, I was thinking of other ideas that I could include. Resulting in me, doing some additional research and not using some previous sources I had planned on using.

January 31st, 2017 at 10:50 am | Comments & Trackbacks (2) | Permalink

My progress is going slow, but it is going. As I am writing, I am starting to stray form some areas that I had outlined. This is because I keep coming up with new ideas as I am writing my draft. This is making my process and progress longer because I have to do some new research to fit my news ideas. I think it would be best for me to just write  my draft and then read it through and take out areas that do not fit. After the draft is finished I think I’ll be able to connect all my ideas better. I have a good set of sources that I am reading through. After, I think I will have an easier time staying with my ideas rather than straying away.

December 22nd, 2016 at 12:37 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

Demetrakopoulos, Stephanie. “Feminism, Sex Role Exchanges, and Other Subliminal Fantasies in Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula.’” Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies, vol. 2, no. 3, 1977, pp. 104–113. www.jstor.org/stable/3346355.

This is a critique of how Dracula is actually feministic and goes against many norms of the victorian era. Everything that is happening in this book is to work against Victorian values. It explains an aspect of the novel in relation to role play reversal, showing men in a more passive role sexually compared to women. This can be used to show another way of sexual repression in the Victorian era, where not just women but men were also repressed sexually. It focuses a lot on the roles of both men and women in society in the victorian era and compares it to the characters and the actions of the characters. For an example, when Dracula’s three mistresses try to seduce Jonathan Harker. It shows a man wanting to be in a more passive role in this sexual encounter.

Freud, Sigmund. ”From The Interpretation of Dreams.” The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism, edited by Vincent B. Leitch, Cain, Finke, Johnson, McGowan, W.W. Norton &- Company, 2010, p.p. 814-819.

This will be a good source because I will be able to read Dracula through a Freudian perspective. My goal of the essay is to explore the dream states and the reasons for those particular states reflecting the Victorian era. Freud explains that dreams comes from the unconscious and many times things that are repressed are revealed within dreams. He explains the concept of  “Dream Work” which is the whole dream cycle and the two major factors involved,dream thoughts and dream contents.

Jódar, Andrés Romero. “Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’. A Study on the Human Mind and Paranoid Behaviour / Drácula De Bram Stoker Un Estudio Sobre La Mente Humana y El Comportamiento Paranoide.” Atlantis, vol. 31, no. 2, 2009, pp. 23–39.

This article gives good background information on what was occurring in the victorian era at the time, in terms of spirituality science and Bram Stoker. Gives a good biography and background on Stoker. Explains the development of psychology at the time. It would be interesting to compare a little of the psychology of the time Dracula was written and how similar connections are. Especially with psychoanalysis. Since, one of the research questions I am trying to answer is how do the dreams in Dracula reflect on Victorian Society at the time.

King, Philip, Bulkeley, Kelly, and Welt, Bernard. Dreaming in the Classroom. Albany, US: SUNY Press, 2011. ProQuest ebrary. Web. 3 December 2016.

This book I will use more as a guide in understanding dreams in literature and other forms of medium. It touches on some theorists and other works of literature in relation to dreams. It will help me understand specific passages better and I can get a good sample of some theorists take on dreams, for an example, Jung. Its a good choice, because it would give me a good layout on how to interpret the dream states in Dracula. I would be able to back my points up from a different work as well. It will give me more perspectives to look at.

States, B. O. “Dreams: The Royal Road to Metaphor.” SubStance, vol. 30 no. 1, 2001, pp. 104-118. Project MUSE, doi:10.1353/sub.2001.0016.

In this article, States basically compares dreams to a metaphor. This article will be useful in looking at many scenes in Dracula as a metaphor for the era. A lot of the scenes in Dracula portray the values of the Victorian era through the characters. The various dream states are what display the repressed aspects of Victorian society. Using this article, I will be able to show how the dreams play as metaphor for the repression, especially in the context of sexual repression.


December 6th, 2016 at 7:05 am | Comments & Trackbacks (2) | Permalink

My primary source will be Bram Stoker’s Dracula. The research questions that I have right now are to explore the various dream states that occur in the novel, the role of visions in it, the concept of consciousness and the connection between mind and body.

The possible secondary sources I have are:

Freud, Sigmund. “The Interpretation of Dreams.”Jódar, Andrés Romero. “Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’. A Study on the Human Mind and Paranoid Behaviour / Drácula De Bram Stoker Un Estudio Sobre La Mente Humana y El Comportamiento Paranoide.” States,Bert O. “Bizarreness in Dreams and Other Fictions.”States, Bert O. “Dreams: The Royal Road to Metaphor”States, Bert O. “Dreams, Art and Virtual Worldmaking”Demetrakopoulos, Stephanie. “Feminism, Sex Role Exchanges, and Other Subliminal Fantasies in Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula.’”Signorotti, Elizabeth. “Repossessing the Body: Transgressive Desire in ‘Carmilla’ and ‘Dracula.’”

These are some articles that explore the topic of dreams in general and within Dracula. I thought it would be interesting to look at Dracula in a possible psychoanalytic perspective and that is why I have included Freud. Especially since it was written in the Victorian Era when many actions were repressed, specifically sexual and Dracula explores that.

My motives for writing about dreams is to help show how much the unconscious plays an everyday part in our actions without us realizing it.The importance of understanding ourselves deeper then just the conscious level that will also help us understand the difference between possible needs and wants. The topic tends to be fascinating to all types of people and not just psychologists and it would be interesting to see all the different views and possible explanations for this type of phenomena.

November 23rd, 2016 at 8:43 am | Comments & Trackbacks (2) | Permalink

For this blog post, I chose W.A. DavenPort’s “The Hero and His Adventure.” In this Davenport wants to point out how Sir Gaiwan and The Green Knight strays away from the medieval norm at the time. He points out, “Although, Gaiwan fulfills a hero’s role, the hero himself is continually being diminished. He is shown repeatedly as subordinate, and therefore being obliged to be deferential, and as passive” (Howes 133). So, as Gaiwan is actively the hero of the story, it is not the typical chivalrous route made up of bravery. It takes a detour from that. He is not pursuing courtly love with the lady rather Lady Bertilak seduces him.

The day her husband goes hunting, she decides to seduce Gaiwan. She is the one tying him to the bed and dominating him. In a more typical role, the man would be playing this part. Words such as: “bind,” “surrender,” and “prisoner” (Howes 33) are used in relation to Sir Gaiwan.


The reason for going this route is to possibly challenge the norms at the time. As Davenport points out that the poet uses “secular material. (Hows 131)” To possibly keep the audience entertained but challenging the norms in a light hearted way.

November 22nd, 2016 at 9:46 am | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

To begin with Savarese explains “Mind Reading” as : “what a theory of mind test actually gauges is the ability to read a highly particular kind of mind, a mind that has put itself at the center of the universe—above all other organisms and entities” (Savarese and Zunshine on “Mind Reading). It is interesting to read how Savarese points out, that as a society, “neurotypical deficits” are not talked about relative to theory of mind because they are considered different than someone who has autism. Both are looked at differently.

Ríos complicates, Savarese and Zunshine’s topic of “Mind Reading,” by showing the amount of sensitivity the speaker of ” The Back of My Own Head in a Crowd” puts in. The amount of descriptions that the narrator includes allows the reader to actually get inside the head and understand the speaker’s mind. “This feels not simply like I’m seeing myself, but that I’m seeing as well all the times I’ve seen myself- which then makes me think that I’m adding up, and that I feel like something in my hands (61). ” Here, the speaker kind of does a mind test of their own, its very reflective.

Since the speaker is so descriptive about her feelings, it allows the reader to really be able to read the mind of the speaker and feel what they have to say. Being reflective also seems to be necessary to be able to engage in this type of mind reading. It seems to allow the mind to be the “center of the universe” because the in depth details of feelings and the senses allow the main aspect to be only the mind.

November 8th, 2016 at 12:02 am | Comments & Trackbacks (4) | Permalink

I would like to compare the two reviews, “When Popular Novels Perpetuate Negative Stereotypes: Mark Haddon, Asperger’s and Irresponsible Fiction” by Greg Olear and “A Journey to shock and enlighten” by William Schofield.

The first article by Olear suggests that Haddon doesn’t know much about Asperger’s syndrome, which he proves with by a quote from Haddon himself. He explains that the character of Christopher,  He goes on to talk about how ultimately, Haddon did write about a autistic character and created a negative stereotype.

In “A Journey to shock and enlighten,” Schofield himself having the Asperger syndrome does not feel the same way about the article. Instead of saying he is creating a negative stereotype, Schofield says he identifies with Christopher in many ways. The only difference is the he is older than Chris. Whereas Olear suggested that Haddon hadn’t done any research on the syndrome, Schofield liked how he “absorbed” and learned new things about the routines and the life style rather than just read a research and read a textbook on it.

November 1st, 2016 at 8:06 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (1) | Permalink