Caroline Wallace ‘23
Last Wednesday, the English Department hosted a winter celebration for the English Honors Program. Seniors who are part of this program were selected by members of the English Department based on their academic performance in the classroom as well as their grades. Seniors that are part of this program will be dedicating their year to conducting research and completing a thesis. The event that took place last Wednesday was an opportunity for the students in the program to share with the English department, as well as any guests that they invited, what they have been working on thus far in the year. By the end of this semester the students will have completed the first chapter of their thesis; however, there should be around three to four chapters within the thesis by the end of the academic year.
Students have the opportunity to pick between doing a critical thesis or a creative thesis. Critical theses analyze literature and scholarly sources in order to defend a claim that they are making. Creative theses allow students to display their talents in creative writing to develop either a novel, short stories, or poems. This year, there are two creative theses and six critical theses. Brendan Ryan ‘23 is doing a creative thesis called “A Portrait of a Dying Man,” which is a novella through which he makes use of his writing talents to make observations about the ways in which death affects people. Isabella Sampino ‘23 also has a creative thesis entitled “Two Blankets: Poems from the Hospital.” In her thesis, Sampino shares poems that she has written based on her experiences of working in a hospital and shares the perspective of patients as well as medical professionals.
For critical theses, John Sager ‘23 is working on “Mr. Darcy’s Masculinity in Pride and Prejudice and its Afterlives” in which he analyzes the ways in which Mr. Darcy is depicted both in the novel itself as well as film adaptations and what one can learn about masculinity through the ways in which Darcy is characterized. Grace Bromage ‘23 is doing a thesis entitled “Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale as an Ongoing Cultural Intervention.” In this, she analyzes the ways in which women’s loss of reproductive rights are depicted and how this correlates with the modern-day overturn of Roe v. Wade. Sloane Larsen ‘23 is working on adjusting the education curriculum through her work: “Through Her Eyes: Learning About Race in the Classroom Through the Lens of Girlhood.” Larsen is analyzing the fact that Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird is more widely-read than Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye. Larsen argues that the books should be read together so that students may gain a deeper understanding of Critical Race Theory. Christian Barkman ‘23 is discussing Milton in “Angelic Substance in Paradise Lost” through which he discusses angelology and whether or not angels are corporeal beings based on Milton’s work. Amanda Vierra ‘23 is discussing domesticity in “Angel of Many Houses: Redefining the Role of Women in Victorian Literature” in which she argues that women can find empowerment in domesticity during the Victorian era just like Queen Victoria did. I am part of the program as well and am working on my thesis “Female Friendships in Ireland and the Effects of Disruptive Males” in which I discuss the ways in which female friendships are negatively affected in Irish literature because of the various laws in place in Ireland that limited a woman’s autonomy.
All of these descriptions are quite short and do not do the work of my brilliant peers justice; however, there will be opportunities to see the final product of these theses in the Spring!