Fall 2016 Master of Arts in English Essay Presentation

Graduate Students present their capstone projects.

Current students, faculty, alumni, family, and the local community are invited to hear graduating M.A. in English students present their master's essay.

Date & Time:

Wednesday, December 14, 2016
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM


O'Shaughnessy-Frey Library, O'Shaughnessy Room 108

Current students, faculty, alumni, family, and the local community are invited to hear graduating M.A. in English students present their master's essay. Light refreshments will be served. Please join us in celebrating our Summer and Fall 2016 graduates.

Amber Fagan
Sensibility as Disease: Reason and Emotion in Godwin's Caleb Williams and Fleetwood

This paper explores Godwin’s changing attitudes toward reason and emotion, as seen through his Political Justice as well as two of his novels. Using a bit of early psychoanalytic theory, I liken excess emotion and sensibility to an infectious disease by examining the language and rhetoric Godwin employs throughout his texts. The connections between mental health and physical health become apparent, as well as Godwin’s initial discomfort with and later resigned acceptance of emotion as necessary for rational capabilities, and above all else, justice.

Lesly Gámez
Challenging Hegemonic Thought through Hybrid Narrative: Laura Esquivel's Malinche and Writing Mestizaje

Laura Esquivel's Malinche is a reimagination of La Malinche, or Malinalli, a slave who became famous as Hernán Cortés' translator during his violent participation in the colonization of Mexico. La Malinche has become an archetypal traitor in popular Mexican culture and Esquivel's novel instead presents her as a complex and flawed woman who is challenged by both the obligations of her oppression as well as her spiritually inspired world-view. In this essay I explore how Esquivel creates a hybrid text using storytelling, historical information, Aztec spirituality, and codices to communicate the layers and complexities of her narrative. I argue that the hybrid form challenges the hegemonic narrative of colonization and is essential to understanding mestizo identity. I further examine how Esquivel's hybrid narrative requires readers reconsider both traditional feminist assumptions and Gloria Anzaldúa's mestiza consciousness/Chicana feminism in consideration of a more womanist and dialectic approach.

Taya Sazama
Bringing Theory and Practice Together: Heroism, Disabliity, and the Women of the Romance Novel Community

In this paper, I argue that women readers and writers of the romance genre engage with the notion of disability in order to rewrite stereotypes associated with the genre, thereby addressing their own status as a large but culturally marginalized community of readers.  My main objective for this project was to allow readers, writers, and the novels of the romance genre to speak for themselves about the topics of heroism, community, and disability while also juxtaposing their insights alongside and against current scholarship about romance novels.  Using novels by Mary Balogh and Manda Collins, I explore the growing popularity of the beta hero who often displays some type of physical or emotional disability and emphasizes the importance of self-acceptance as a foundation for a romantic relationship.  Such heroes work against the traditional stereotypes of the hyper-masculine, controlling hero and the ultra-feminine, dependent heroine while also establishing sexual agency for characters with disabilities.  By merging practice with theory, scholars of romance will deepen their understanding of the romance novel genre, its conception of heroism, and the resulting impact upon women’s reading lives. 

Destinee Stamer
Breaking Ground: Advocating the Sexualized Female in Fanny Hill"

John Cleland’s Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure, more commonly known as Fanny Hill, was a groundbreaking text for its because, although it was intended for male titillation, it expresses female desire as an accidental, but important, byproduct. This essay steers away from the study of Fanny Hill as purely pornographic, and instead highlights feminine sexuality at the core of its narrative, providing readers of its time with the erotic imagery they craved while justifying the ways of women as sexually proficient human beings. Fanny, the protagonist of Cleland's narrative, is studied within the historical framework of sexuality. Placing her womanhood alongside the reality of women at the time, I ultimately regard Fanny as unique in that she is able to express herself sexually in various situations, yet is rewarded with a heterosexual marriage that provides supreme sexual pleasure and, ultimately, a happy ending at the end of the narrative. Although Cleland's writing about a woman's sexual experiences certainly was intended to excite male readers, it is in his representation of female desire through Fanny's experiences that he incorporates a message directed toward women and the achievement of acceptable relationships despite their willingness to express themselves sexually.


Please RSVP to gradenglish@stthomas.edu
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