Saturday, April 9, 2011

Final Project Outline

For my final project, I would like to unearth some of the faults and reasons found in todays world and reality that could ultimately lead to the demise of mankind as seen in Parable of the Sower. Throughout every book we have read this semester, each one had its own way of revealing the faults of man; whether it was showing the aftermath of what life would be like in a post-apocalyptic era found in Parable, revealing the stubborn tendencies of humans towards pride and religion found in Moby Dick, or the seemingly never-ending racism that we deal with in every day life found in Invisible Man. Even the works of Marcuse and Kermode we read felt like they were repeatedly critiquing society and expressing their disapprovals. I feel that these authors incorporated these messages of change in order to express their feelings surrounding the idea as well. Since many of these problems still exist today, I feel like this apocalyptic world is still a possible future.

Because I also believe that if we humans do not change some of our ways to help prolong the world and society we live in that it is very possible that we could end up something along the lines found in Parable of the Sower, I plan to completely dissect each novel we have read throughout this class and find instances of where the author is revealing a fault of mankind that could lead to human demise. Using this data, I plan to attribute it to our current reality and reveal how this problem, still evident in today’s society, could lead to our own downfall.

Of course I will not only be analyzing the plot driven books we have read, but also Marcuse and Kermode as I feel they are even more important because they directly address topics or ideas that the author shows discomfort or disapproval. I’d like to fully incorporate these journals into my project by using them to critique both the plot driven novels we read and society as of today. I think that this would be an interesting project as it not only reveals deeper ideas within our reading, but also takes a look at society today and how although these books were written a long time ago, they still deal with many of the problems today therefore perhaps foreshadowing our own possible future downfall.

For my bibliography I’d like to try to use all, if not most, of the books we have read this year (Parable of the Sower, Moby Dick, Invisible Man, One-Dimensional Man, Etc) as well as possible news or literary journals that deal with the topic of the faults of man. With all these current articles about the world ending (2012) and numerous natural disasters, I’m actually a bit weary of what would be good/acceptable choices for my research that would support my ideas the best. I was thinking maybe using news articles that seem to parallel ideas or events in the book but would like to perhaps discuss this further with you as to avoid any confusion.

Some Ideas I had on how I would use each novel:

Parable of the Sower – Since this deals with the actual post-apocalyptic war, I’d like to use this to show not only the causes but the after-effects as well.

Moby Dick – I plan to critique the various contrasting characters found throughout Moby and relate them to certain ‘groups’ of people found in todays society.

Invisible Man – Racism would probably play a large role from this novel, but since we are still reading it, I will keep this one more open for change.

One Dimensional Man/Genesis of Secrecy – Since Marcuse deals directly with his thoughts of how western society should be changed, I can easily incorporate his ideas of freedom to other novels and todays world.


  1. You're trying to do way too much here. It's reasonable to understand each novel as offering some sort of critique of humanity, and it's reasonable to want to focus on that aspect of the novels - but all of them, in fact, offer a range of criticisms and, arguably, alternatives. They're all long and complicated, though. If you write 8 pages split between three novels, you're talking 2-3 pages each. It can't be done - you can't both analyze some important part of all three novels, and do research on the ways in which they might mirror an actual problem in the real world.

    You need to focus - start with a book and a problem, then figure out what you have to say about how that problem is manifested in that book. *Then* you have your starting point.

  2. This is very ambitious, and I like that. However I think you'll have a really hard time if you don't narrow yourself down a little bit.

    What I feel would work is maybe talking about one specific human flaw that you see very often. Say, pride or entitlement or even complacency. Then, look through every book we've read (if you still want to use every book) and find a character that displays that flaw. You can maybe then read that flaw through the lense of Marcuse or Kermode.

    This is just one way of narrowing yourself down without necessarily eliminating the broad scope of your proposal. I just think you'd have a hard time writing in a beneficial, specific, nuanced way when attempting such a grand undertaking topicwise.

    Your ambition is exciting, though!