Fatal Attraction: The Violent Closing of a Closet Door in A Separate Peace (A Personal Reflection)

Anyone who has ever set foot in a men’s locker room knows that within those walls, safely out of the public eye, the line between hetero- and homosexuality is dramatically blurred, if not completely erased. In that context, and very few others, the idea of heteronormity yields to reality—the process of settling individual identity often … Continue reading Fatal Attraction: The Violent Closing of a Closet Door in A Separate Peace (A Personal Reflection)

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Ghost Stories: Reclaiming the Past Through Its ‘Telling’ as Reflected in Toni Morrison’s Beloved

Trauma, especially as it relates to the violent loss of a child, can have a transformative effect on its victims. The resulting transformation can negatively affect not only the sufferers, but also their family, friends, and community. In Toni Morrison’s, Beloved, Sethe is plagued by the memory of past trauma at the hands of slave … Continue reading Ghost Stories: Reclaiming the Past Through Its ‘Telling’ as Reflected in Toni Morrison’s Beloved

Narrative Narcissism: Holden Caulfield and the Art of Self-Preservation

J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye is one of the most enduring works in all of American Literature and, arguably, one of the most influential. Holden Caulfield, the protagonist and narrator, chronicles his efforts, not so much to understand himself or other people, but to ridicule their “phoniness” and insulate himself from becoming one … Continue reading Narrative Narcissism: Holden Caulfield and the Art of Self-Preservation

Satan’s Path to Forgiveness in Milton’s Paradise Lost

Misguided in his belief about God and himself and blinded by his need for revenge for perceived wrongs, Satan proclaims that it is “[b]etter to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven” (Book I, 263) and proceeds to continue his battle with God. Though given the opportunity to return to Heaven through the simple act … Continue reading Satan’s Path to Forgiveness in Milton’s Paradise Lost

A Selfless Act of Love: The Critical Nature of Asceticism in “Sir Orfeo”

In his prideful attempt to control the outcome of events that are beyond his control, Orfeo loses the thing which means most to him in the world—his true love. His unwillingness to heed Heurodis’ warnings about the danger and futility of trying to save her from the fairy king leads to his ultimate downfall. Orfeo’s … Continue reading A Selfless Act of Love: The Critical Nature of Asceticism in “Sir Orfeo”

Obedience Unto Absurdity: Griselda’s Failure as a Wife in “The Clerk’s Tale”

The ingredients for a healthy marriage have been at issue as long as the idea of marriage has existed. In “The Clerk’s Tale,” Geoffrey Chaucer challenges readers’ perceptions of the marriage ideal, especially in the context of courtly love. While Griselda is of lower social station than Walter, how far does her obligation to obedience … Continue reading Obedience Unto Absurdity: Griselda’s Failure as a Wife in “The Clerk’s Tale”

There Is None So [Happy]: The Importance of Honesty in Chaucer’s “The Merchant’s Tale”

While there is no question that love and physical compatibility are of paramount importance for a healthy marriage, they are not exclusive requirements. In “The Merchant’s Tale”, Geoffrey Chaucer presents readers with problems that arise when necessary virtues are missing from a marital relationship. Through their distrust and betrayal of one another, Januarie and May … Continue reading There Is None So [Happy]: The Importance of Honesty in Chaucer’s “The Merchant’s Tale”