In a Tortoiseshell: In her final paper for a class called Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities: Ancient Plots, Modern Twists, Paige Allen examines two texts, a novel and a short story, to explore the intersection between consumption, humanity, and monstrosity in the context of restrictive eating. As she orients her reader to the central ideas of her argument in this introduction, she explains the ways consumption habits have a long cultural history of being linked to “human nature.” The claim of this essay, that the texts in question present instances of something Paige calls “resistant monstrosity,” is a strong example of the lexicon term thesis. Continue reading
In a Tortoiseshell: In this close-reading paper written for the Humanities Sequence, Sandra Chen begins with a detailed analysis of a poem’s text to make larger arguments about its meaning.
In a Tortoiseshell: In her final paper for a class called “’Too Cute!’: Race, Style, and Asiamania,” Megan Pan analyzes a dating simulator video game, Doki Doki Literature Club! The game, accessible by smartphone app, takes a strange and unexpected turn as it is played. The essay uses this twist as its motivation to examine its theoretical and cultural implications. Its claim, that “by very nature of its cute demeanor,” the game “manages to subvert the expectations of its supposed genre and ultimately reveal its true colors as a brilliantly executed metafictional psychological horror” in a strong example of the lexicon term thesis. Continue reading
In a Tortoiseshell: In his junior paper, Owen Ayers examines the genre of Franz Kafka’s short story “Vor dem Gesetz” (“Before the Law”). Is it a parable, a riddle, or a joke? These genres, as defined by scholars, become Owen’s key terms as well as the basis of his structure. He explains how the story fits somewhat into all three of these genres, thus complicating their scholarly definitions. Continue reading
In a Tortoiseshell: In her essay about the relationships of the protagonists in Umberto Saba’s “Ernesto” and the 2017 film Call Me By Your Name, Bes Arnaout navigates the difficulty of arguing for the existence of a relationship paradigm that the theory has not considered. In doing so, Bes creatively extends her motive, that the critics have gotten the relationship wrong, to ground readers as they move through the paper. She is therefore able to motivate close-readings at critical moments to extend her thesis, which would otherwise become amorphous. In doing so, Bes opens up a new avenue for writers who want to argue something but lack the language to categorize it in existing theoretical terms.
In a Tortoiseshell:This excerpt from Andrew Mullen’s essay “The ‘Immense Edifice”: Memory, Rapture, and the Intertemporal Self in Swann’s Way” concerns the analysis of Marcel Proust’s “Swann’s Way” through the lens of Claudia Brodsky’s essay on narration and memory. Andrew’s essay is a prime example of the lens essay–an essay that is structured around the analysis of a source text using a theoretical framework provided by another. Continue reading