Research Papers and Ideas….Or Not
Class is in session and has been for three weeks now. I am taking three classes like a normal grad student. I was signed up for four, but dropped one in hopes of getting into an ASL class. I have to fulfill a foreign language requirement, and so far I’m not off to a good start getting into the class I need. Next semester is another shot.
Each class has a final research paper requirement. It’s always hard coming up with final paper ideas. For the most part, professors leave you to your own devices to come up with something to research and write about. Depending on the class and the professor you need to cough up between 10 and 30 pages. That’s the hard part, coming up with something to write about for that many pages and having between 8 and 10 sources minimum. One of my undergrad professors told the class ideally there should be one source per page. That means for a 30 page paper you are reading at least 30 things.
The reading quickly turns into a mountain. And this is on top of regular course work. Needless to say, I need to get started. My project proposals are do in the next few weeks. Seeing them seriously triggered me. There was an incident during my last semester of undergrad that has obviously traumatized me more than I thought it had. I am realizing I should have taken a year off. That’s another story for another time.
Anyway, my project ideas…
This is a general English research class. I took a similar course during my undergrad. I read a blog not long ago on Book Riot, I think, about the relevancy of Shakespeare and if students should still have to study his works. My undergrad English honors paper was on Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice and QAnon, so we’ll just say I don’t agree with the blog post. However, this blog did give me an idea.
There have been more than 300 adaptations of various Shakespeare’s plays across books, movies, and TV shows. The most popular are Romeo and Juliet, Twelfth Night, A Midsummer’s Night Dream, and The Taming of the Shrew.
The Tempest, published in 1611, has been almost untouched. There are only 11 adaptations to date, that I could find. If anyone knows of others, please let me know.
- The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells (1896)
- A Tempest by Aime Ceraire (1969)
- Mama Day by Gloria Naylor (1988)
- Prospero’s Daughter by Elizabeth Nunez (2006)
- The Dream of Perpetual Motion by Dexter Palmer (2011)
- The People in the Trees by Hanya Yanagihara (2014)
- Hag-Seed by Margaret Attwood (2017)
- Miranda and Caliban by Jacqueline Carey (2018)
- The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh (2018)
- Miranda in Milan by Katherine Duckett (2019)
- The Daughter of Dr. Moreau by Silva Moreno-Garcia (2022)
The release dates on these books is interesting. Most of them have been written after 2005, with around half of them in the last 5 years. One of my undergrad professors told us “Literature reflects the culture as it interprets the culture”. That phrase has stayed in my brain since I heard it. My question is “Why the sudden interest in The Tempest”? As I said, it has flown under the RADAR of Shakespeare plays that have been retold and adapted, so why is it starting to resonate now, nearly 400 years later?
This is Folklore, Gender, and Sexuality. My final paper has to have something to do with folklore, gender, and/or sexuality. That is a lot of territory. I am currently leaning toward writing on disability culture.
African American Literature. We are focusing on James Baldwin and Randall Kenan. I have no idea what to write on here. I have thoughts on the short story Going to Meet the Man but I don’t know if I have 30 pages of thoughts that I can back up with research.
At least I have one paper nailed down. Right? This is really the hardest part of things, coming up with ideas. The research and writing is easy. Anyway, this is what I will be working on for until December. Wish me luck.