Well the time has come to say goodbye to what has truly been an amazing class. I was not sure what to expect given that we did not study any particular time period or genre of literature, but I suppose that is fitting given that this is the capstone experience for the Literature program. Instead we got to talk about why we exist and then prove we can apply our passion for analysis and communication of ideas to something that personally matters to us. I wish we got to see everyone’s projects on Monday, because the people who did present gave a really good cross-section of what Literature majors can provide to the world. We had projects about heritage, dance, the literary canon, criminal justice, fandom, what it means to write someone else’s intellectual property for fun rather than for profit, art and public expression, the place of graphic novels in the literary community, digitizing literature, and a variety of others. I know I had fun doing my own project and combining two disparate forms, so I hope everyone else enjoyed rising to the challenge as well!
We got to examine two very different works of literature, My Name Is Red and Persepolis. Through them, we got to see post-modernism, cultural clashes, what it means to write non-poltically yet be interpreted as very political, differences in voice and time, how the form of episodes or vignettes can affect a text overall, cultures rooted in tradition having to adapt and the pains of doing so, and what “east vs. west” really means, if it means anything at all. I am glad we got to work a graphic novel into the syllabus as well. I know I probably seem biased given my final project topic, but I truly believe the medium is only going to increase its share of the market as well as increase in quality. The challenges and ideas that can be explored and addressed in the uniquely hybrid form of graphic novels deserve to be written and perhaps more importantly analyzed. We discussed all term what exactly it is that literary people do in today’s world, and I think this is one important direction we can go.
I loved the challenges posed to us throughout the semester, such as engaging with such a disparate collection of ideas and mediums in which to present them. We had to define our own histories with reading, hopefully causing everyone to examine how much we discovered it on our own and how much we were forced into it. We had to master an essential literary genre, the resume, perhaps the single most important test of writing and communication ever devised. I loved that the class had a practical component focused on career and higher education paths, and I feel a lot more confident now about graduating as a Literature major (and Children’s Literature minor, no less!) and doing something with that. It has been a truly remarkable class, and I want to thank everyone for making it so great. Good luck in wherever your paths lead next J