Kelly's Writing

Queens College

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.


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