Avant-Garde Final Project: Randomly-Generated Poem

ENG 394 Hub Reflection Paper Paratext

 

“Neoliberal Fugue State” by Grady Pearson, Anonymous YouTube commenters, and the Apple Inc. Legal Team

I.

A shell moves barnacles

Perfect spine of canvass

Extra, and we signal,

display his,

and open.

Continue reading “Avant-Garde Final Project: Randomly-Generated Poem”

“Of Everything He is the Theme”: Archetypal Criticism and the Phases of Myth

Essay completed 25 September 2017

Archetypal criticism identifies the symbolic elements in “pre-literary categories” such as “ritual, myth and folk tale” from humanity’s past that still make up narratives today (Frye 1308-1309). Literary critic Northrop Frye establishes a systematic foundation for archetypal criticism in his 1951 essay “The Archetypes of Literature.” Continue reading ““Of Everything He is the Theme”: Archetypal Criticism and the Phases of Myth”

“The Life I Formerly Led as an Ape”: Imitation and Intermediacy in “A Report to an Academy”

Essay completed 14 April 2017

Franz Kafka’s 1917 short story “A Report to an Academy” is a characteristically bleak assessment of human nature as restricting rather than liberating. The story’s narrator begins his oration by thanking his audience for inviting him to give an account “of the life I formerly led as an ape” (Kafka 250). If Red Peter is no longer an ape, is he a human, or something in-between? Through Red Peter, Kafka questions whether convincing human imitation is equivalent to being one. No matter how closely Red Peter imitates the human, in his narrative he repeatedly calls attention to what still separates him from humanity. As Red Peter describes how he learned to mimic human behavior, Kafka explores how the former ape’s imitative performance and interspecies intermediacy interact to reveal the instability of the human designation. Continue reading ““The Life I Formerly Led as an Ape”: Imitation and Intermediacy in “A Report to an Academy””

Mirror Tests: Anthropocentrism and Cross-Species Understanding in The Lives of Animals

Essay completed 3 March 2017

J.M. Coetzee’s work The Lives of Animals calls language into question by framing a discussion of animal rights through fictional academic lectures, conversations, and debates. In her response to the work, Majorie Garber argues the narrative destabilizes the reader’s ability to choose which authoritative voice to trust through its metafictive structure and ultimate establishing of “partitions of knowledge” between disciplines (73). I concur with Garber and wonder whether Coetzee’s intention for The Lives of Animals is to ask “What is the value of literature?” more than “What is the value of the animal?” (84). Throughout the fictional debates, Coetzee asks us to question what kinds of language can be trusted as an accurate way to represent the essence of animal experience. What kind of language, then, brings us to the best model of understanding the relationship between the human and nonhuman?   Continue reading “Mirror Tests: Anthropocentrism and Cross-Species Understanding in The Lives of Animals”