March 03, 2005

I have a question about my thesis

Jerz: Am Lit II (EL 267): Paper 1 Worksheet: Pre-writing for Paper 1 (2%)

I have been having a hard time thinking of a thesis. I thought of something but I am not sure if this is appropriate for this assignment. My idea was for Machinal, about the young woman's vanity being more important to her than anythign else. (her obsession with hair, hands, etc.) Can anyone help me? Is this good, bad, stupid, not really what we are supposed to do?

Posted by MaryAnderson at March 3, 2005 01:41 PM | TrackBack

That's a good observation. I can tell right away that would be a superb topic for a close reading. The thing to do would be see whether you can find academic sources that will help you. There are only a handful of articles on Machinal, so you'd probably need to cast a wider net.

I wonder if there are academic articles on vanity, or perhaps on how vanity is a stereotypical feminine quality. Certainly feminist authors will write about women's relationship with their bodies. Note that at the very end, the Young Woman gets offended when they have to cut off some of her hair, and she adjusts her hair under the cap just before she's electrocuted.

Was Sophie Treadwell making the Young Woman into an unfair feminine sterotype? Did the real Ruth Snyder (on whose trial and execution the play was based) really express this kind of vanity, or was that something Treadwell added? What effect does this vanity serve in the play?

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at March 6, 2005 02:08 AM
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