Journal 2020-2021

Verdure and Vermin: The Similarity and Superiority of Emma Woodhouse and Raskolnikov

Verdure and Vermin: The Similarity and Superiority of Emma Woodhouse and Raskolnikov

Photo via Flickr by Marcus Degenstein At first glance, Jane Austen’s Emma and Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment seem as different from one another as two novels can be. Their protagonists inhabit vastly different worlds and reckon with stakes orders of magnitude apart in their gravity; while Crime and Punishment’s Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov trudges through […]

Material Conditions: A Comparative Analysis of Idealism and Materialism

Material Conditions: A Comparative Analysis of Idealism and Materialism

The Communist Manifesto, by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels claims that the material conditions of society are the foundation of our intellectual development. Their theory of dialectical materialism states that the notions we have about society are formed by our underlying social conditions.

“The Dissolving Blues of Metaphor”: Rankine’s Reconstruction of Racism as Metaphor in Citizen: An American Lyric

“The Dissolving Blues of Metaphor”: Rankine’s Reconstruction of Racism as Metaphor in Citizen: An American Lyric

Photo via UBC By Vanessa Lee   In Citizen: An American Lyric, Rankine deconstructs racism and reconstructs it as metaphor (Rankine, 5). Her formally and poetically innovative text utilizes form, figuration, and literariness to emphasize key themes of the erasure, systemic hunting, and imprisonment of African-Americans in the white hegemonic society of America. The structure, […]

Tommo’s Imprisonment to His Own Cultural Values: Recognizing Cultural Bias in Typee

Tommo’s Imprisonment to His Own Cultural Values: Recognizing Cultural Bias in Typee

Tommo, the main character and narrator in Herman Melville’s Typee, experiences many forms of captivity throughout the novel. He is physically confined to the whaling ship, Dolly, and he is held captive by the Typee islanders, but Tommo is a prisoner to something much more significant: his own cultural values.

Cannibal Continuity: Social Cannibalism in Melville and Coates

Cannibal Continuity: Social Cannibalism in Melville and Coates

Herman Melville’s Typee depicts cannibalism at a time when the practice’s nature, and even its existence, is an uncertain question for its contemporary readers. During the colonization of Pacific islands such as the Marquesas, on which Melville spent time after abandoning a whaling vessel and subsequently set Typee, groups indigenous to the islands were often assumed to practice anthropophagy, but evidence for these practices was primarily second-hand and of limited reliability.

Rankine and The Pronoun Dreamworld: The Creation of Compassion

Rankine and The Pronoun Dreamworld: The Creation of Compassion

In her series of lyric essays Citizen: An American Lyric, Claudia Rankine employs the pronoun “you” in both an accusatory and uniting fashion. The feelings of Black people are often neglected and scorned, and Rankine’s direct address to the reader highlights the microaggressions they experience.

Crime and Punishment: Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?

Crime and Punishment: Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?

“God is dead.” So said Friedrich Nietzsche in 1882’s The Gay Science, but for some, God had been dead long before Nietzsche wrote His death into the public consciousness and put in His place stood a new breed of men, the Übermensch. Before Nietzsche, there was Fyodor Dostoevsky who, at the time of writing Crime and Punishment in 1866, set out to deconstruct this type of man who epitomized a distancing from the church, something the reformed clerical reactionary could not let succeed.

Rorschach’s Hypocrisy: The Moral Ambiguity of Watchmen’s Black and White Antihero

Rorschach’s Hypocrisy: The Moral Ambiguity of Watchmen’s Black and White Antihero

From the saturated pages of Watchmen emerges Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ antihero protagonist Rorschach, a stark representation of black and white against the vivid colouring of Watchmen’s setting and other characters. As the only character that does not adorn any bright colours, Rorschach appears to become Watchmen’s moral centre—the black and white amidst the chaotic colouring of his environment.

Herman Melville’s Typee and Margaret Cavendish’s The Blazing-World: A Comparison

Herman Melville’s Typee and Margaret Cavendish’s The Blazing-World: A Comparison

There are many similarities between Herman Melville’s 1846 novel Typee and Margaret Cavendish’s 1666 novel The Blazing-World. Both texts focus on an outsider who is given an intimate view of a society fundamentally different from their own. In Typee, a sailor named Tommo spends four months with the Typee, an Indigenous tribe on the South Pacific island of Nukuheva. Melville, through the character of Tommo, expresses his views on the European occupation and “civilization” of the Marquesas islands.

Outlawed but Not Alone: Friendships Out of Bounds in Grettir’s Saga

Outlawed but Not Alone: Friendships Out of Bounds in Grettir’s Saga

Icelandic Sagas all have in common the ubiquitous presence of friendships – among strangers, families, rulers, and members of a community. Two major currents of thought have aimed to explain the presence and function of these networks in Icelandic Sagas: friendship as a product of socially accepted morality, and friendship that exists to uphold Iceland’s legal and social infrastructure.