This year’s senior honors theses can’t be presented live, but the English Department still wants to celebrate seniors who who will graduate with honors this year. Read their project abstracts below!
Lila Danielsen-Wong’s “Chinatown” is a musical theatre piece that follows the lives of the writer's grandparents: Chong Wong, a Chinese immigrant, and Lynn Flummerfelt, a Canadian orphan who enters America on her own to work. It is the story about the promise of the American dream and the fatigue that follows as they learn that the system is not made to benefit them. It examines Seattle’s Chinese community as well as the experience of being a young working-class woman alone in a city. This story follows them throughout the early-mid 20th century, their meeting, and the story that follows. Directed by Prof. John Biguenet.
Dana Gainey’s creative thesis, “I Wasn’t Fucking Finished Yet,” is the fictional account of a woman waking up to realize the on-again, off-again relationship she was in for years with a much older man was traumatic for her. She begins revisiting and commenting on old journal entries to reconstruct and make sense of how exactly this whole thing happened. She grapples with anger, guilt, and doubt as well as the confused voice of a girl from the past who just wasn’t finished being a kid yet. Directed by Prof. John Biguenet.
Emma Gilheany’s "The Best Mr. Darcy: Adaptations and Fan Culture for Modern Day Janeites" makes the case for why Austen is an important figure to study now: Emma brings together academic and popular approaches to Austen to create a model of the intersection of readership and creative online community. "The Best Mr. Darcy" analyzes gender and fan culture on social media, to show how the writing of the past inspires readers and writers of the present. Emma's thesis reflects her innovative subject and exists in two versions: a traditional paper and an online version that embeds the tweets and gifs she analyzed. Directed by Dr. Sarah Allison.
Nino Hernandez’s “Sacrificial Theories,” is a collection of fifty poems separated into five “chapters.” The themes of these poems range over an array of topics such as personal identity, linguistics, and consumerism. The poems engage realms of critical theory, with references to thinkers such as Ferdinand de Saussure, Susan Sontag, Roland Barthes, Jean Baudrillard Jacques Derrida, and Roxane Gay, as well as other authors. Directed by Dr. Christopher Schaberg.
Cierra Johnson’s creative thesis, “The Home Wreckers,” consists of the opening chapters of the third and final book in the trilogy she began in the ninth grade called The Privateers Trilogy. This project is dependent upon the information that is revealed in the first two volumes of this series, although these first chapters presented in this project do much to either remind readers of what had happened in previous volumes or inform readers of the world that they have entered into if they are not familiar with the first two books, which are titled The Privateers and The Line Crossers. This third volume is tentatively titled The Home Wreckers. It follows the main character, Carter, a teenage girl with supernatural abilities living in a town populated by other Supernaturals as well, who is reeling from the disappearance of her boyfriend, Kris. This project’s purpose is to entertain and engage the readers in a riveting story, but the underlying subject could allow the young adult audience it is intended for to reflect on their own lives through Carter’s character. Directed by Prof. John Biguenet.
Nathen Strohmeyer, “As Bronze Are We.” In a world not our own, Ilona, a young girl being trained in the art of bronze-smithing by her father, is whisked away from her quiet rural life by a guilt-ridden mystical flunky named Andel. Sent to retrieve a different child but finding more promise and enthusiasm in Ilona, Andel takes her on a journey across their kingdom to the Tower of Mages, where she must prove her worth before her true identity is revealed. In the process of training Ilona in the Tower's philosophy-powered magic, however, the pair uncover a secret that could change the world of mages forever. Directed by Dr. Lindsay Sproul.
Madison Tuck's "Justice in the World of Jane Austen: Advocating for Lydia Bennet and Maria Bertram," uses Madison's deep research into early nineteenth-century marriage law to transform our understanding of two characters that Austen readers love to hate: Lydia Bennet (in Pride and Prejudice) and Maria Bertram (of Mansfield Park). Tuck's strikingly original argument points out that, despite the tendency of Austen’s novels to "embody the idea that 'what goes around, comes around,'" the punishment of these two characters is disproportionately severe, reflecting the systemic injustice of nineteenth-century marriage law. Directed by Dr. Sarah Allison.
Sophie Trist, “The Ghost Children.” Berlin, Germany, 1941. The protagonist of Trist's young adult historical novel is Eva Schreiber, a totally blind teenager whose illusions about Nazi ideology are shattered when her older brother Dietrich, a Waffen-SS officer, tells her that the Nazis consider disabled people "life unworthy of life." Eva is transferred to the killing center at Sonnenstein but rescued at the eleventh hour by a nurse named Greta Zimmermann, who works with Dietrich to hide a group of disabled teens. In hiding, Eva grows more comfortable with her blindness, falls in love, and plots ways to more actively resist the Nazis. Meanwhile, Dietrich's double life unravels as his SS superior and his best friend become ever more suspicious. “The Ghost Children” is the result of hours of careful research balanced with development of plot and character. Trist’s goal in writing this novel is to humanize this little-known atrocity against people with disabilities. Directed by Dr. Lindsay Sproul.
Jason Tucker's “The Love and Hate of the Christian God Abstract: Exploring the relationship between God and man” works to alleviate the seeming contradiction of two verses from the Bible with one verse saying God hates sinners and one saying that He loves them. Mankind is guilty of sinning against a just God, making himself deserving of God’s hate and wrath. Jesus became a sin offering on the cross to alleviate God’s wrath toward sinners. In this way, God loves mankind in terms of “agape” love, which is self-sacrificial love. A person must reciprocate “agape” love by giving up her sin to experience “phileo” love, relational love, with God. God loves all people in terms of phileo by the individual’s own choosing. Directed by Dr. Kate Adams.