Two Academic Papers 

The building that you see below is the place where I should be spending the majority of the next several weeks. I have two very important papers to write, but I am having some difficulty deciding what they should be about. Briefly, the first one should be about the nature of the "Victorian City," more specifically 19th century London. The second paper needs to be connected to the idea of "Sacred Violence." I do not have any strong leads on either paper, and I fear that this might have something to do with not knowing as much Literary Theory as I think I should.


For the first paper, the Victorian City, I am completely at sea metaphorically speaking. I figure that I might try to do something about the nature of physical space and how class differences worked in those spaces. I guess what I mean to say really is this: if you were rich in the 19th century you had more space, more mobility, but if you were poor, you were more confined. Unfortunately, I don't know if this is something that I ground in some kind of theory. Right now, this thought is an observation and does not rise to the status of a fully realized, academic thesis yet. An added restriction for this paper is that it must include some kind of connection to Dickens Bleak House, but what that connection is I haven't the foggiest idea yet.

The second paper I may have better luck with. I am going to return to some earlier work that I have done on Tim O'Brien's book, The Things They Carried. All of the stories in this collection are about a group of American soldiers during (and after) the Vietnam War. I have managed to write two other papers about two different stories in this collection before. I think I can write another paper about a third. By using "How to Tell a True War Story," and some research I did on psychological Trauma, I may be able to analyze how this seemingly secular war story has an element of sacred Trauma within it. However, I will be leaning heavily on the scapegoat elements within it and that may be stretching the story further than it will bend. But there are other stories in the collection that I could try work with as well.

I think my main project will be to swallow my pride, gather my courage, and talk to my professors about my paper plans. Even though they may not be happy with my admitting that I am not further along in the process as I should be, it looks like I am going to need some assistance to get something turned in to them by the end of the term. With the end of the term in mind, I am really going to be focusing on catching up on my reading assignments during the next four days. My only choice is to work steadily through this mess rather than doing what I normally do: which, specifically, is finding novel ways to avoid it.

24 February 2005
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