English majors enjoy innovative ways to discover and rediscover literature.
They rework and challenge English classics through their personal lens, make insightful connections between books, and explore new ways to tell stories, among many other creative projects.
Shakespeare in a New Light
Juliet: "Wilt thou be gone? It is not yet near day: It was the nightingale, and not the lark."
Romeo: "It was the lark, the herald of the morn, no nightingale: love burnt out"
Those aren't the lines of Shakespeare's well-known tragic romance as The Bard originally penned them. Victoria Gonzalez omitted pieces of their passionate proclamations to create a new scene and perspective from a centuries-old story.
She and her fellow students each took a stab at the project in professor Jonathan Burton's class about Shakespeare. They altered a page from Romeo and Juliet in order to critique the play, change the way people think about it, or draw out ideas that might otherwise go unnoticed in the face of prevailing ideas about the play.
Not only did the project lead to creative work, it was a reminder that even the most widely accepted ideas can be challenged and reclaimed.
Discovering Connections in Irish and Mexican Literature
For decades, great minds have pored over every page of James Joyce's and Carolos Fuentes' work. In the face of this mountain of scholarly analysis, one might think that there couldn’t possibly be new ground to cover.
Brianna Martinez said otherwise. The English major discovered a strong link between Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Fuentes’ The Death of Artemio Cruz. Though the Irish and Mexican novels are separated by almost half a century and 5,200 miles, Brianna uncovered strikingly similar themes in their stories.
Brianna has always loved modernist literature and lights up when talking about Joyce or Fuentes. Finding a new connection between their novels was a joy for her. The research was also supported by the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship, which funds student’s academic research to set them up for a career as a professor, and has already opened doors for Brianna, who spent a summer honing her writing at Columbia University and attended a conference in South Africa.
Digital Liberal Arts
DigLibArts empowers students to make full use of the digital technologies that are transforming research and reshaping the way people learn. For instance, the center recently teamed up with Professor Kate Durbin to incorporate Twine, a program that allows students to create choose-your-own-adventure stories, into her course on horror literature. Students experimented with the storytelling tool to gain a deeper understanding of the literary genre.
Students also assist their peers through the center as “tech liaisons,” mentoring fellow students in all things digital. It’s where Nicole Guzzo, a Whittier Scholars Program major, discovered her passion for the digital world.
“The skills and knowledge I’ve gained have helped me secure a digital marketing internship at ServiceMax – a place where I potentially might start my marketing career after graduation.” – Nicole Guzzo