Kelly's Writing

Queens College

Exam Prep

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kelly Santana at 11:09 pm on Friday, March 17, 2017


To start, I thought I’d list what texts I would like to work with. I still have to add one of my own texts but I haven’t decided which yet. But anyway, here they are:

  • The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream
  • The Importance of Being Earnest*
  • Emily Dickinson’s Poems
  • “The Yellow Wallpaper”
  • “The Tell-Tale Heart”
  • “Bartleby the Scrivener”
  • “A Modest Proposal”
  • “Dream of the Rood”

Theory: I’d like to use the article Zahava presented, “Unnatural Narratives, Unnatural Narratology: Beyond Mimetic Models” along with “The Tell-Tale Heart” and “The Yellow Wallpaper” to talk about how the narrator distorts the real world and creates a whole new bizarre world. I was thinking I could also connect the idea about the unnatural and unreliable narrator to “Bartleby the Scrivener.” I could also possibly use Unreadable Minds and the Captive Reader” from my Bartleby presentation and connect it to my other texts in this section but we’ll see.

Historical Context: I’m thinking of discussing how historical context shapes the reality of the characters in The Importance of Being Earnest (* Still reading the book though so I’m not 100 percent sure),  The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (I found a supplementary text that talks about the history of DR that frames Diaz’s story so I might use that), and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I really liked the article Caitlin used for her presentation (“Introduction” to Dreaming in the Middle Ages”). Maybe I could use that article to discuss thoughts on dreams and the debate surrounding them during Shakespeare’s time and how it may have influenced the play… Though that’s separate from the other works I want to use for this section. I’d like to find a way to connect all of these better.

Genre: Ok, so I must admit I’m still quite confused when it comes to this section. I think I know what texts I’d like to possibly use here (The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Dickinson’s poems,”Dream of the Rood,” and “A Modest Proposal”) but I’m still not sure how I can connect all of these. I was thinking of using “Excerpts from Do Metaphors Dream of Literal Sheep?: A Science Fictional Theory of Representation” for Dickinson’s poems (maybe) and “Dream of the Rood”. Since there’s talk of SF, I could also somehow also bring up Oscar Wao and use the article “Comic Book Realism: Form and Genre in Junot Díaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.” I don’t know. I’m still confused (obviously). I have to figure this one out.

Flexibility and Modularity: I feel like I could use certain texts for each of the three sources quite well. Right now what I need to focus on is connecting the texts in each section. I have supplementary texts that only pertain to specifically one work so I have to do some more researching in that respect. I feel most confident in texts like The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and “The Yellow Wallpaper” because I know how I can address these texts in more than one section. I also want to add a text (the additional one we can add) that can help me make connections between other texts or maybe help me in a section that I need most help with (like the genre section). I feel like I have one text and article that I’m sure about for each section, but I don’t know how to integrate my other texts into that particular discussion. That make sense? So yeah, I’ll be looking up more supplementary material to help me out.

Any suggestions are, as usual, greatly appreciated! 🙂

“Bartleby the Scrivener” Presentation

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kelly Santana at 2:15 am on Friday, February 24, 2017

Text: “Bartleby the Scrivener” by Herman Melville (1853)

  • Summary: Short story narrated by a Wall-Street Lawyer who hires a new scrivener who spends the first few days working hard in the office. But soon after, Bartleby suddenly stops doing any work at all, using the words, “I would prefer not to”. After he spends some time trying to understand why Bartleby won’t do anything and realizes he won’t leave, the narrator decides to move offices. Bartleby is later removed from the office and is sent to prison, where he ultimately dies.

Source: Unreadable Minds and the Captive Reader, by H. Porter Abbott (2008) – Theoretical Standpoint 

  • Summary: Humans have a desire to read the minds of others as well as a desire to read works that allow us to read the mind of characters. Abbott focuses on the “unreadable” minds of fictional characters and the responses they have on readers and other characters alike. Abbott discusses how characters like Bartleby are accepted and interpreted as unreadable characters in various ways.

Readable characters in “Bartleby”:

  • Narrator: From the start is self-described as a peaceful, quiet  man: “I am a man who, from his youth upwards, has been filled with a profound conviction that easiest way of life is the best” (lines 3-4).
  • Turkey, Nippers, and Ginger Nut are all given a backstory about who they are what kind of men they are in great detail, according to the narrator (Turkey- line 10; Nippers- line 11; Ginger Nut- line 14).
  • The narrator is “a comfortable sort…His veteran scriveners…are as [vivid] in their look and manner as their names suggest. At the same time, they effectively frame the mystery of Bartleby, a silent, pale, diligent copyist who could easily play the role of a readable character except that, when requested to do any other task than copying, he politely replies, ‘I would prefer not to.’ As such, the tale unfolds like a kind of experiment in which an inaccessible mind is dropped into a conventional nineteenth-century storyworld” (Abbott 450).

Three default responses to unreadable minds:

  • The Opaque Type: Readers/characters attempt to understand the unreadable character by relating them to common stereotypes that they may recognize. Because of this unreadability found in Bartleby, some characters try to place him and figure out why he is so difficult to understand:
    1. Narrator: “What I saw that morning persuaded me that the scrivener was the victim of innate and incurable disorder” (line 90).

“‘I think he is a little deranged,’ said I, sadly” (line 237).

  1. Ginger Nut: “I think, sir, he’s a little luny” (line 47).
  2. Cutlets: “Well now, upon my word, I thought that friend of yourn was a gentleman forger; they are always pale and genteel-like, them forgers” (line 238).
  • “The crisis that Bartleby brings on in the heart and mind of his employer is caused by the way he undermines what Ernst Mayr has called the human tendency to engage in ‘typological’ thinking – our assumption of an inner classifiable essence that generates what we see on the outside” (450)
  • The Catalyst: “The unreadable is read primarily as a catalyst in a drama of non-reading, with the focus on the captive reader as she/he copes with the unreadable. In this instance, Bartleby’s employer is the captive reader, and the unreadable Bartleby the catalyst who brings out the lawyer’s character” (451)
  • The reason Bartleby is created to be unreadable is so that the narrator is able to make realizations about his own life through the events that occur because of Bartleby’s mysterious behavior.
  • Bartleby’s unreadability merely serves as a catalyst for the lawyer’s own development in the story. – But this does not directly address Bartleby as a character and why he is unreadable.
  • The Symbol: Not focusing on the character himself or his function, but instead, focusing on what he symbolizes/stands for.

“The unreadable character is read neither as a character nor a function, but as an idea. It is a shift that allows meaning to rush in, which is what has happened almost invariably in the critical response to Bartleby” (452).

  • The narrator mentions by the end of the story that he has heard that Bartleby had been a clerk in The Dead Letter Office:

“The report was this: that Bartleby had been a subordinate clerk in the Dead Letter Office at Washington…When I think over this rumor, I cannot adequately express the emotions which seize me. Dead letters! Does it not sound like dead men? Conceive a man by nature and misfortune prone to a pallid hopelessness, can any business seem more fitted to heighten it than that of continually handling these dead letters and assorting them for the flames?” (250)

  • This moment can become symbolic:
  • Bartleby chooses to die instead of compromise with the agents of a society that has degraded his profession (452)
  • “Bartleby can be read as a protest against the absurdity of life itself – and that, “we are all writers of dead letters” (452).
  • Bartleby’s unreadability now symbolizes an idea that is greater than the character himself.


Revision List

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kelly Santana at 11:06 pm on Friday, February 17, 2017

After receiving feedback on my draft from Professor Tougaw and Michelle (thanks for all your help!), I realized there are a few things I really need to focus on fixing:

  • Making my own voice in my paper stand out. It’s hidden in the the summary of my sources.
  • Making more of my own claims and follow that up with analysis; that way, my voice can stand out that much more. (And don’t start new idea using the words of a source. Add in sources in analysis. I have a tendency to make a source make a claim for me).
  • I still need work on the structure of my paper. I should address my sources early on in the essay, explaining what’s being said so that there can be more of a conversation between them all. I still feel like there’s a gap that won’t allow the sources to engage with one another.
  • More sources: Why Do We Care about Literary Characters by Blakey Vermeule, Empathy and the Novel by Suzanne Keen, Thinking with Literature by Terence Cave. I think these sources are great because they address literature directly and its effects on readers. It’ll help me explain exactly how literature can impact readers.
  • Be more specific when making new claims and introducing new ideas. Instead of being vague, introduce new points as detailed as possible so as not to confuse the reader.
  • Focus on what my motives are for writing so I don’t get lost and lose my focus. What do I want to address? What do I want the reader to take away from my paper?

I think the first thing I want to focus on is finding myself in my paper and restructuring what I already have that isn’t particularly working well. I want to make sure that I’m making strong claims myself, and that my writing is as clear as possible. Then I want to add my new sources in to make my paper much stronger overall.

Draft Reflection

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kelly Santana at 2:18 am on Friday, December 23, 2016

The draft feedback from my group and Professor Tougaw has been extremely helpful for me. My outline was very straightforward and, in a way, basic. I listed the order in which I want to discuss things (which I need to change) but I didn’t think about creating a “flow” where I can make my secondary sources have a conversation that stem from my primary sources. The first thing I want to do is change the way I’m placing my sources throughout my paper. One thing I realized after sending this first draft was that my primary sources were coming way too late in my paper. I think I have to focus on remembering that my primary sources are going to be what I will be discussing the most. They’re the basis for my discussion! So I have to work on making that my foundation, not my secondary sources. I think what I want to do is dive into my primary sources first, and with their help, I’ll start addressing my arguments and the main ideas I wish to present. I want to meld everything together to create a nice discussion that works well and makes sense together. I want my paper to flow (I love that word :D) well without it becoming disjunctive or confusing.

I also need a few more sources that speak about the literature of what I will be discussing (which is young adult literature). I’m really happy I found a few more secondary sources that really pushed my writing process further, but I know I’m still missing something. I must find that missing source(s) that will complete my paper!

So that’s my main focus right now- more sources and making my primary sources…well, my PRIMARY sources! They are what makes my paper. They are where my conversations/arguments stem from. -This is my current mantra as I write.

Thank you professor and group friends for helping me out so much! You guys are great!


Annotated Bibliography

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kelly Santana at 3:23 am on Tuesday, December 6, 2016

DeMinco, Sandrea. “Young Adult Reactions To Death In Literature And Life.” Adolescence 30.117 (1995): 179-185. PsycINFO. Web.

DeMinco’s article focuses on how young adults grieve and how it is very different from the way adults grieve when someone dies. She writes that death and how young adults deal with it can have a severe impact on their still developing minds and identities, so it is important to understand what are some normal and typical characteristics of coping with death in young adults. DeMinco goes on to discuss the importance of the theme of death in Y/A literature and how it serves as an example for how young adults will normally react to deaths in their personal lives. Deminco uses literature to understand how young adults react to death and the ways in which others (i.e. adults) can help during the grieving process. I will most likely piggyback from this article and agree that death in Y/A literature is helpful to the development of a young adult.

Dickson, Randi. “Horror: To Gratify, Not Edify.” Language Arts, vol. 76, no. 2, 1998, pp. 115–122. JSTOR. Web.

This article focuses on the rising appeal of horror in Young Adult literature. Although the books I’ll be working with don’t necessarily fall under the category of horror, they do deal with something dark (death) which is a topic most people normally try to stay away from. Dickson uses interviews with children of different age groups and other scholars in order to discuss why there is an attraction to reading dark literature. Dickson writes that there is an interest in being provoked and scared by these books in the comfort of one’s own space that would otherwise be repelled. Dickson also writes that adolescents enjoy reading about scary things that elicit fear and curiosity which provides them with a form of both safety and entertainment. Dickson uses the interviews conducted to tell the reader why adolescents so much and why it’s become so popular, but I would leapfrog this article because I would discuss the effects reading horror has on  adolescents. A small portion is used to discuss how adolescents may feel sympathy for characters in dark novels, so I would expand on that and discuss why dark literature can actually be edifying.

Gillespie, Margaret. “Death, Youth And Literature.” Child & Youth Services 7.1-2 (1985): 101-108. PsycINFO. Web.

This article takes on a more psychological approach. The author uses research and interviews to discuss how young adults deal with death and the difficulties of finding a balance between childhood and adulthood when it comes to grief. Gillespie includes interviews with psychologists and sociologists to get a better understanding of the healthy and unhealthy ways a young adult can react to death, which she then relates to with characters who deal with death in Y/A fiction. I don’t have full access to the article yet but based on what I’ve read I think I may either piggyback or leapfrog this article.

Hintz, Carrie and Eric L Tribunella. Reading Children’s Literature. 1st ed., Boston, Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2013.

I will be using this text to help me understand and discuss the development of adolescents. Hintz adds the voices of other scholars such as Freud to discuss the importance of child development and how it can impact adulthood. Hintz writes that children’s books depicts and development and maturation through its characters. I wish to piggyback from this text to discuss the importance of death in Y/A novels and how it can serve as a form of development as Hintz states.

Nilsen, Alleen Pace. “Books for Young Adults: Death and Dying: Facts, Folklore.” The English Journal, vol. 62, no. 8, 1973, pp. 1187–1189. JSTOR. Web.

This article focuses on the impact of media and how it has shined a light on death and has made it much more personal and intimate, which in turn, has created a large interest in death among readers. Young adults especially, probably having very little experience with the topic, are curious to understand the mystery of death and how it impacts the life of those affected by it. Nilsen mentions different works throughout his article to suggest that death in novels has allowed readers to feel sympathy and learn about death in their own personal lives. I plan to use this article to discuss a possible reason behind the rising popularity of death in Y/A literature.


At the bottom of my ballroom, I put the two primary sources I’ll be working with. Right above them, I added Hintz, because I feel I’ll be using her in order to have a better understanding of Children’s literature and it’s uses. I tried to keep Gillespie, Deminco, and Nilsen close together because their ideas seem to be in agreement with one another. I put Dickson on the left because the article doesn’t really discuss the effects of reading a novel about death in Y/A literature, and only really discusses why there’s such an appeal on a more superficial level.

I noticed the only strategy of the 8 that I’ll be using is piggybacking, which I don’t think will be very helpful. My sources really talk about or agree with pretty much the same ideas. I wanted to find articles that focus on the negative aspects of having death as a theme in Y/A literature so I can start some sort of discussion between scholars and their opposing views, but it’s been extremely hard to find. I haven’t found any other articles that offer different ideas with the topic of death in Y/A yet, which I think will help me with my argument and discussion a lot more. Hopefully I can find some more articles that will make my ballroom a lot more diverse.

Research Proposal

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kelly Santana at 9:48 pm on Wednesday, November 23, 2016

For my research project I will be focusing on three books that are works of Young Adult Literature. These books are, The Fault in our Stars by John Green, Me Before You by JoJo Moyes, and Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews. All three of these books have one commonality, and that is that they actively deal with the topic of death. Some research questions they raise are: Why has death becomes such a popular theme/topic in Y/A novels? What may be the importance and influence of discussing death in Y/A novels? What impact may a young character dealing with death in a novel have on the mind and development of a young reader? Why might there be a fascination or interest in death for young adult readers?

The secondary sources I’d possibly like to use for my research project will help me in understanding the genre I will be engaging with, and will also allow me to analyze the books I will be using and how they bring up important questions and ideas about the topic of death in Y/A novels. To gain a better understanding of Young Adult novels for my project, I will use Carrie Hintz’s, Reading Children’s Literature: A Critical Introduction. I want to use an article titled, “Young adult reactions to death in literature and in life” by Sandrea Deminco, in order to discuss how adolescents deal with and understand death differently than adults, and the influence of death in a Y/A novel. I also would like to use a text titled, Death, Gender and Sexuality in Contemporary Adolescent Literature by Kathryn James to explore the understanding of death and its impact on identity and development in adolescence. Another article I will be considering is by Alleen Pace Nilsen, called, “Books for Young Adults: Death and Dying: Facts, Folklore”, that explores the phenomenon of death in Y/A novels. I also want to include sources that focus on the psychological development of a young adult and how an adolescent may understand or perceive death differently.

The discussion of death in Young Adult novels has become extremely popular recently, and I want to understand why that is and what importance the topic death has on the social/psychological development of a young adult. I want to further explore the idea that death in Y/A literature has a positive effect and impact on the developing minds and identities of young adults.

Sir Gawain in the Court vs. in Nature

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kelly Santana at 2:10 am on Tuesday, November 15, 2016

As I’m reading Nature and the Inner Man, I’m remembering all these moments in the play where great attention was paid on the clothes and appearances of certain characters like the Green Knight. The play is descriptive in telling what colors such characters are wearing and what colors they adorn. The hunting scenes were very detailed as well. We’re given a step by step description of how the hunters kill and gut the deer. Before reading Woods’ article, I didn’t understand the possible reasoning behind all this great detail and description.

Woods discusses this idea between being out in nature, which is wild and dangerous, versus the world that is indoors in the court. Gawain becomes a representation of the sheltered life of the court. Woods pays attention to the colors Gawain and the Green Knight wears and what they may symbolize. The Green Knight is decked out in mostly green- a color Gawain doesn’t wear until Part 3 when he puts on the green belt. The wild becomes a dark place once Gawain starts his journey. The spring leaves and forestry have died as winter beings once more. And once he finds the castle where he stays for a few days. Gawain is welcomed warmly and is retreated back into the safety and comfort the indoors offer.

The scenes that depict the deer and fox hunt are explicit and violent, meanwhile, Gawain is laying peacefully and safely in his bed, talking and laughing with the lord’s wife. This difference of what was going on outside versus inside the castle was interesting to note.

But eventually, Gawain must gear up and face the cruel outdoors as he tries to find the Green Knight, and nature will either kill him or accept him. But this time around, he wears the green belt as he treks through nature. Woods writes, “The green belt is Gawain’s final defense against indifferent nature and his own mortality, but he is also bearing nature’s colors” (220). Gawain starts to find a compromise between court and nature.

Woods provided me with further understanding of the details the play provide us with and why they may be there. These long and detailed descriptions of nature, clothing and color allows us to note the differences between the court and nature, and how Gawain is soon able to find a balance between the two.

Bartleby the Scrivner and Murray

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kelly Santana at 2:54 am on Tuesday, November 8, 2016

When reading Melville’s short story, I was really interested in how the characters and the narrator viewed and tried to understand Bartleby’s behavior. And the word “Neuro-typical” rattled around in my head as I read. Throughout the story, the narrator is troubled by his new scrivner, who never does what is asked of him by saying, “I would prefer not to.” Murray writes that Melville’s story may entail “neurobehavioral difference”. The narrator addresses and deciphers the people around him by his “normal” standards. That’s when this idea of neuro-typicality came into mind. The narrator served as the neuro-typical person by which every other character was measured. The narrator is taken back by Bartleby’s odd behavior; “In his confused attempts to explain Bartleby’s behavior, the narrator works through different categories of potential norms in order to establish a meaning for his employee’s actions” (54). The narrator attempts to understand Bartleby by comparing him to his neuro-typical behavior/characteristics. The narrator sets up this standard for figuring out himself and those around him, which to me, seems quite odd. Is this the standard by which people view and assess others? People who are “neuro-typical” assess others who appear behaviorally “deviant” based on how they are and what they define as “normal”? Am I making sense here? I’m confusing myself the more I write. But I just found it interesting how Melville’s character interacts with his employees by measuring them on his “normal” scale.I thought Murray’s points about the story were worth mentioning and discussing.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kelly Santana at 12:39 am on Tuesday, November 1, 2016

I want to start off by saying that I quite enjoyed reading The Curious Case of the Dog in the Night-Time. It’s completely different from what I’ve ever read. It was captivating to be inside the mind of a teen who has a behavioral disorder – whichever it may be – and seeing how he internally addresses and handles all the drama/conflict that’s occurring in his life. I had figured people would oppose and possibly dislike this book because it may be “controversial”, but I just have a hard time seeing how people could be so upset about it. Yes, Christopher has some form of autism, but Haddon never openly names what it is. And, to me, that means he’s choosing to be somewhat elusive, which allows the reader to make their own conclusions about what Christopher has. And although a major part of the book is obviously about Christopher’s condition, it’s also about a young teens personal struggle to come to terms with the life he has and how to deal with the problems that he must face. I don’t know, I just didn’t see the novel as exploitative or anything. It’s just one author’s created character inside an imagined world that’s been published for all of us to enjoy. Those are just some of my thoughts on it.

Now, onto some other reviews.

The first review I want to discuss is written by a father, Greg Olear, whose son has Asperger’s. Olear doesn’t think Haddon paints an accurate portrait of what Asperger’s is with his main character. And he finds it more disgruntling that Haddon admits that he knows very little about Asperger’s and did very little research about it for the book. And because of this, Olear says, “What I find objectionable is that he seems unaware of – or worse, indifferent toward- the fact that he has made both his name and his fortune exploiting the Asperger’s community, my son included.” On some level, I could understand why Olear would be upset with Haddon and his book, but after I read William Schofield’s review, I couldn’t agree with Olear’s review (although I can see where he’s coming from).

William Schofield has Asperger’s so I was very interested to see what he had to say about the book. Schofield says that he relates to, and has similar characteristics as Christopher. One line from his review that I really agreed with was this: “This book is a good murder mystery story but a better description of how the mind of a different person with some kind of special need looks upon how things work and come about.” The aim of this book isn’t for us to pinpoint exactly what disorder Chris has and see how well Haddon did portraying said disorder. Lastly, Schofield writes, “Can you, though, diagnose a fictional character? My answer to this question is that you cannot. I think that Mark Haddon may not have intentionally set out to write about someone with this particular condition as he frequently just describes Christopher as having ‘some sort of disability’, but may have ended up doing it anyway; the similarities are very convincing between Chris and me especially, in my opinion.”

After reading both reviews, I think that you can’t completely toss the book out of hand and believe that it’s inaccurate or false, because we all experiences things in different ways- even with people with Asperger’s. Olear’s son may not be able to relate to Christopher, but William Schofield obviously can, and I think that’s important to note. This is a story about Christopher Boone, not a story about Asperger’s.

“We Love You, Charlie Freeman”

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kelly Santana at 11:25 pm on Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Kaitlyn Greenidge’s “We Love You, Charlie Freeman,” was a very interesting and strange book to read. For much of the beginning of the book (and even half way through it) I had no idea where things were going and what the climax would be like. I still have so many unanswered questions after finishing the book, and I’m not even quite sure what the main theme/genre was. I also had a hard time making connections to past works we’ve read because this story was so different. I want to say it resembles “Invisible Man” because they both have a coming-of-age feeling. And of course, it deals with prejudice and racism. I think both characters face prejudice from whites but also their own race. I also feel like both books have this kind of walking-on-thin-ice, thriller kind of feel, where you never know what to expect in the next chapter. I expected this book to be a cheerful, feel good story, but it was actually the complete opposite. There were always haunting and troubling revelations in each chapter that led you to believe that this characters whole world was close to falling completely apart. Both characters (Charlotte and the Invisible Man) face so many different hurdles that you’re not sure when all this tension and confusion will finally blow up in their faces. Both characters also seem to be trapped by the world around them. Charlotte is either trapped in the world of her mother, the Toneybee Institute, or Adia, until the end when we learn she moves away from it all and creates her own world and life. The invisible man also has this sort of ending, where he manages to find a place where he can be himself and is not pressured by the people and prejudices around him.

I also have to mention that I was really taken aback by the ending because it just didn’t offer the closure I was expecting (and sort of needed). Things are just left in the air. Each person in the Freeman family is troubled and trapped in their own messes. But by the end, there’s really no resolution. Each of the characters are greatly effected and shaped by what occurred in the institute. You can say that Charlotte manages to escape and makes a life for herself, but even then she is brought back to that troubling place each year to visit Charlie.

One last thing that really bugged me was this: What was the point of  the chalk Dr. Paulsen always had with her? It was never explained! That was so frustrating because I really don’t know what to make of it. Any ideas? Let me know!

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