Monday, November 16, 2009

The Magic of Dreams

As the exams draw nearer, we begin to understand rather than simply knowing. I wonder why we can only develop this ability now and not weeks earlier. 14 weeks in a semester seems a little too short. But I guess it's the same in other universities, isnt it?

My first and most favourite paper is in 3 days - Introduction to Magical Realism. Posts labelled "Magical Realism" are the ones I wrote to help me recall each texts. They arent the typical conventional post about myself - though it's not surprising if you find me in every piece of writing. In the coming three days, I will be writing posts on "Magical Realism" as part of my preparation for my paper. One might say it's unwise to share one's thoughts for the exam online but what are the odds of all 200 students in class finding me? And if some do end up here, please do share some of your thoughts too in the comments below. Anws, I believe in sharing what I know as only through sharing will you learn. Unwise? Maybe, but that's just me.

I've also been trying to figure out how the comparative essay question will be like. This is a newly added component to the exam so sample questions from past year papers are unavailable. However, one can always make educated guesses, can't they?

Comparative Essays Definition

"Great minds think alike" – this expression underpins the rationale of a comparative essay. In a comparative essay, you are expected to discuss the similarities between or among two or more works. For example, in literature, writers typically address universal themes of the human condition; in the social sciences, academics often find common ground for analysis; ..... In a comparative essay, your professor expects that you will grasp the key concepts in your field of study by examining the works of more than one writer or scholar in an academic discipline.

So here, I shall identify several common ground among the three texts that I'm focussing on: Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis(TM), Laura Esquivel's Like Water for Chocolate(LWFC) and a small dose of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Of Love and Other Demons (OLAOD). Firstly, the concept of hybridity - the most obvious of the lot. Secondly, the battle between strong female vs the weak male characters: Grete vs Gregor and his father (TM), Sierva Maria and Martina Laborde vs Ygnacio, Abrenuncio, Father Cayetano Delaura, Father Aquino and the Bishop(OLAOD) and Mama Elena, Tita and Gertrudis vs Pedro and Dr Brown (LWFC). And lastly, the subtle and abstract use of abjects and space in the texts. I prefer to leave the concept of the grotesque unique to TM and the concept of feminism unique to LWFC.

I've briefly written on the grotesque and abjects in "The Magic of Abjects". Hence insyaallah, during the course of the next few days, I plan to write on the following:

  1. Is LWFC genuinely 'revolutionary' and feminist or does it support traditional values and gender roles
  2. The significance of hybridity and syncretism
  3. The significance of abjects and space
  4. The significance of food and cooking in LWFC
  5. Reasons why female characters are being portrayed in a much stronger light than males

It's a relatively huge task Ive set myself out to do despite being in a battle with monsters with names like Probability and Statistics and Soil Mechanics. But you see, I'm a dreamer - so anything and everything is possible. This is what I meant by "The Magic of Dreams" for it's dreams such as these that give you something to hold on to and work towards. I'm just glad that my dream has helped me to finally turn the mess in my head into something tangible and coherent - and I hope it has helped some of you with the mess in your head too!

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