Spring 2017 English Master's Essay Presentations

Graduate Students present their capstone projects.

Graduating students will provide an overview of their Master's Essay for friends, family, faculty, and current students.

Date & Time:

Wednesday, May 17, 2017
5:00 PM - 8:00 PM



Free and open to the UST community


McNeely Hall, Room 100

Graduating students in the Master of Arts in English program will provide a brief overview of their master's essay and talk about their experience with the research and writing process. The public is invited to join family and friends, current students, and faculty for this evening reception event. R.S.V.P.'s and questions about this event can be sent to Soren Hoeger-Lerdal, graduate program coordinator, at gradenglish@stthomas.edu.

Students scheduled to present include:

Lodanne Assad
"An Ethnographic Experience of the Iranian Revolution"

This ethnographic project uses family interviews to create a visual text about the Iranian Revolution of 1979, and explores the question of whether or not one can authentically portray aspects of another culture. It acknowledges that ethnographic truths are inherently, in the words of James Clifford, “partial truths,” and suggests that ethnography is an “art” in its thoughtful way of shaping fragmented information into a cohesive narrative. This project will explore what it means to learn about the Iranian Revolution from family members who lived through it, and how to find an appropriate balance between objective and subjective forms of representation.

Jeremiah Davis
"Transformation Location: How Guthlac of Mercia Became a Desert Father"

Saint Guthlac, having lived a typical life of a Mercian nobleman, found God and became a monk.  Needing more, Guthlac followed in the footsteps of men such as Saint Anthony and Saint Arsenius and moved to an isolated location in his country.   Unlike those men however, Guthlac did not have access to a vast desert in which to test his own devotion to God through feats of self-mortification and denial of luxuries.  Instead, he moved to the desolate fens of England, a swampy wasteland, where he battled his own desires and the demons of Hell.

Angela Drennen
"The Reality of Being a Magical Girl: Madoka Magica's Empowerment through Subversion"

Most magical girl anime—shows like Cardcaptor Sakura and Sailor Moon—provide young girls with powerful female role models, but they lack significance that goes beyond entertainment. However, Madoka Magica is a magical girl series that empowers viewers through its subversion of the genre, revealing that underneath the cute image are girls who struggle. Madoka Magica demonstrates that magic does not make one invincible—that it is okay to make mistakes and experience feelings like loneliness. Thus, the show provides viewers with magical girls who are not heroes to fantasize as but real people viewers can see themselves in, allowing them to reflect and find strength in their own lives.   

Kristine Putz
"A Teacher's Guide to Selecting and Teaching a Text in Translation"

Texts in translation are often a part of the teacher of literature’s curriculum.  However, few teachers acknowledge the complications of reading a text in a language different from the text’s original.  This essay provides an account of the intricacies of a text in translation that impact both a teacher’s instruction of it and its analysis by students.  The essay is divided into two main sections: Selection and Teaching of Translated Texts: Linguistic Considerations and Selection and Teaching of Translated Texts: The Publisher’s Role In the Translation Process. Subcategories within each of these two sections will provide specific examples of smaller facets of these categories.  To do so, three translations of Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis are explored against the original German.  In this way, the teacher of literature can see first hand how the complexities of translation apply to a text that is commonly taught and will be provided with specific pedagogical opportunities regarding that text.

Mercedes Sheldon
"'An Adventuress I would Be': Delineating Modern Womanhood through Miss Cayley's Adventures in the Strand Magazine"

Scholarship on fin de siècle author Grant Allen (1848–99) by and large overlooks the progressive nature of Allen’s serialized fiction in the popular periodical press of the late nineteenth century. In particular, contemporary criticism of Miss Cayley’s Adventures (Strand Magazine, March 1898 – February 1899) often analyzes it solely through the lens of detective fiction, thus disregarding the protagonist’s self-identification as an adventuress and how Allen reframes that label within the socio-cultural context of the late Victorian era. Allen’s very place within the popular press often obscures scholars’ view of his progressive writing of Lois Cayley. My master’s essay situates Miss Cayley’s Adventures within the Strand and examines how the illustrated text delineates modern womanhood for the magazine’s middlebrow audience.

John VanOverbeke
"Thoreau, Blood Meridian, and the Myth of the Gunslinger"

The gunslinger archetype has appeared in countless western stories and seems almost synonymous with the genre itself. Yet this fixture of the western genre has escaped critical attention and has been conflated with the related, yet separate characters of the cowboy and the outlaw. This archetype finds its metaphorical and mythological roots in the writings of Henry David Thoreau and undergoes an evolution from its first major appearance in Riders of the Purple Sage, through Shane, to Once Upon a Time in the West, finally culminating in the character of the Judge, from Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian. This evolution highlights the tension of wilderness and civilization embodied in the gunslinger and illustrates the pervasive use of violence which defines the gunslinger’s narrative role.

Chelcy Walker
"L. T. Meade, the Femme Fatale, and the Fin de Siècle Literary Marketplace"

At the fin de siècle, L. T. Meade distanced herself from her professional identity as a girls’ fiction writer and began competing directly with top commercial crime fiction writers like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Grant Allen. But she offered a new corner on this market: serials with femme fatales who tantalized the Victorian imagination by personifying both beauty and treachery. Over time, Meade negotiated literary trends by fine-tuning her writing technique to meet a growing appetite for these femme fatale villains in crime fiction. I use both distant readings of Meade’s work within this competitive femme fatale market as well as a close reading comparison of two of her texts, The Brotherhood of the Seven Kings (1898) and The Sorceress of the Strand (1902–3), to argue that she introduced new visual and sensational strategies to appeal to the middlebrow readers of the Strand Magazine.

Linda Wetherall
"A Critical Edition of Amy Levy's 'Sokratics in the Strand'"

Abstract: Hailed as a “girl genius” by Oscar Wilde, Amy Levy (1861–1889) received critical acclaim at the young age for her forthright poetry, and she was the first Jewish woman to attend Cambridge. Despite her early success, as a Jew and “New Woman”, Levy faced many barriers that prevented her from being accepted by the greater Victorian society. Levy explored the grim reality of being an outsider in Victorian England in her short story “Sokratics in the Strand” published in 1884. I devoted my Masters Essay to call the attention of modern audiences to one of her often-neglected works; and to explore in my critical introduction how Levy’s lifetime status as an outsider resulted in the creation of one of her most emotionally wrought pieces of literature. 

All programs offered by the University of St. Thomas shall be readily accessible to individuals with disabilities. For details, call (651) 962-6315.