Friday, November 20, 2009

Search: representations of bisexuality in the smell of apples

Lately, I have been doing a lot of research for my final paper in my literature class. Basically, the theme I'm working on is about patriarchy and filial obligation, tracing it through two different plays. And so, I'm required to have eight peer-reviewed scholarly works from journals to include in the paper. I believe this is for the purpose of making academics feel useful: at least someone's reading their academic essay on why mustaches signify success in Death of a Salesman.

Last night I was up very late trying to finish my annotated bibliography: a basic summary for each source I chose. Unfortunately, I didn't get around to starting this thing until mid-day yesterday, and so I found out just how tedious this assignment was. Most of the journals that I chose were fairly lengthy, and not all the things I read were applicable to the paper. So that meant that I was reading journals on a pdf.file for probably seven to eight hours straight. I took occasional two minute breaks to rest my eyes, but more or less I was just staring at a computer screen, growing tired by the hour.

And by the time midnight rolled around, I was getting a bit irritated by the content of what I was reading. Extremely verbose reports on the effect of doll playing on child development. Or, maybe a valid comparison of Faulkner's father/son themes with that of Greek and Biblical tragedies, but written in such a painfully pretentious way. Observe:

Yet if Faulkner's vision of the relationship between fathers and sons is finally comic, it emerges through the dark insights of an irony that reveals and reconciles disparate meanings through a multiplicity of visions and voices, both within individual stories and at their intersections. These voices within Faulkner's novels resound from corners as distant as the unselfconscious past is to the utterly self-conscious present mediated by madness and poetry. Thus, Faulkner's inquiry into human existence is unremittingly critical even as it appears to reflect unapologetically the glory of a past that is already shattered for the reader. Faulkner's portrayal of fathers appeals to the monological conventions of ancient epic, a warrior ideal and the values of classical stoicism (which implicititly admits alienation but tries to transcend it with silence or exclusion of the ambivalence of reality). Yet the conflicted viewpoints of his sons embody that polyphonic, dialogic irony which novelist and critic Milan Kundera insists "denies us our certainties by unmasking the world as an ambiguity."

Apparently, one's peers don't have to be editors in order to review one's works. This is a copy-n-paste job, so the misspelling of "implicititly" was nice as well. And this shit goes on like this for pages and pages.

Maybe it's just me, but the one sentence that ends with the phrase "is to the utterly self-conscious present mediated by madness and poetry" reads like the author has realized mid-sentence that he doesn't actually know what he's talking about, so he starts throwing in word combos that sound good. I imagine economics-speak: "If we could devise a multilateral strategy to stimulate fiscal growth, implementing a rightward shift in the aggregate demand curve to achieve equilibrium, bypassing the misery index, into a multi-ethnic, multicultural, and...polyamorous monetary mechanism,... we would sufficiently and conclusively internationalize regional policies of commerce and multiple markets, effecting culture policy, denaturation, progression of,...progress, of long-lasting peace, ..everlasting gob-stopper,.."

So yeah, it was an arduous task trying to get through some of these journals. And the reason why I had to settle on some of the worst ones was because I was running out of time (not to mention that one's research can be limited by 'peer-reviewed and scholarly only'). But now it's finished and turned in, and there's relief.

And on a somewhat aside, after reading journal after journal, I came across a title of a scholarly journal that made me laugh out loud: "Fissures in Apartheid's 'Eden': Representations of Bisexuality in The Smell of Apples by Mark Behr." At first glance, I didn't notice that "The" was capitalized, so I read it as if "The Smell of Apples" was not a book, but was what made one bisexual. As if the smell of apples could evoke bisexual feelings. Apparently, eating them makes you gay. 

Anyway, this is just another snippet of school life for ya. The term is up soon and I have almost a month off, which means I'll be writing more on this thing.

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