i'm just a literary tease, my reputation's on its knees.


March 8, 2006

Maybe you noticed this NMJ entry way back in October 2005:

Undergraduates: Apply to Present at a Literature Conference.

I decided to submit a paper I had written for American Lit with Dr. Jerz to the conference. I didn't actually expect that my paper would be accepted or that I'd have the chance to visit Ogden, Utah any time in the near future, but guess what: I got accepted! Yay!

My acceptance letter arrived yesterday and reads:

"Dear Moira,

We are pleased to inform you that your submission, "The Dooms of Love: The Tragedy of Unrealistic Cultural Expectations of Love," has been accepted to the 20th Annual National Undergraduate Literature Conference. Your work is among the finest submitted to us by undergraduate students from every state in the nation, and we enthusiastically congratulate you on your achievement as a writer."

Sweet! How cool is this? ;c)

The conference is being held at Weber State University March 30 - April 1st and includes four keynote speakers: Alice Sebold, author of The Lovely Bones, Glen Gold, Sebold's husband and author of Carter Beats the Devil, Brett Anthony Johnston, a former NULC participant (Yay!) and creative writing teacher at California State University, and Terry Gifford from the University of Leeds.

I looked at the list of colleges and found that no one from Seton Hill has gone before. In fact, only a handful of colleges from Pennsylvania are represented in the mix (Penn State - Abington, York College, & the University of Philly are the ones I saw).

Many thanks to Dr. Jerz for posting about this conference!

I'm so excited. My paper was relatively experimental in that I used Raymond Bergner's “Love and Barriers to Love,” an academic article about psychological effects of love, to analyze two short stories we had read in class: Lorrie Moore’s “You’re Ugly, Too” and Pam Houston’s “The Best Girlfriend You Never Had.”

I will have ten - fifteen minutes to present my paper as well as opportunities to hear fellow students from across the nation present their works. From the looks of things, this is going to be a ROCKIN' conference! Here are a few of the other papers being presented that weekend:

Goblin Market: Victorian Fairy Tale or Adult Erotica
Dust and Dollars: The Grapes of Wrath and Social Darwinism
Asking for It: The Wife of Bath and Reformative Rape
The Joke's on Us: Laughing at the Dark Side of the American Dream
Richard of Gloucester and Wal Mart: The Ruination of Two Societies

I can't wait!

If you are curious, here's the intro to my paper:

Increasingly in modern literature, female characters are portrayed as neurotic and otherwise defective individuals if they are not involved in the expected heterosexual relationship, especially when the woman is older. Are self-aware, older single women unable to form loving relationships? The problem seems to lie in the contradictions surrounding each woman – a woman learns from childhood onwards that marriage is the ultimate goal, even in a culture where career-minded women are more socially acceptable, women are expected to eventually settle down. With the emphasis on youth and impossible standards of beauty, most women don’t stand a chance.

In “Love and Barriers to Love,” Raymond Bergner illustrates the barriers to love that a person might experience in his or her lifetime – these barriers are ones culled from the psychoanalyst’s 31 years of experience in the field as well as observations from other clinicians. Although these barriers are meant to serve as a broad diagnostic tool for psychoanalysts, this paper will use these guidelines as a means of examining two short stories, Lorrie Moore’s “You’re Ugly, Too” and Pam Houston’s “The Best Girlfriend You Never Had,” to explore the question of whether increased self-awareness leads to a lowered capacity to love in the traditional sense by examining the two main characters: Zoë Hendericks and Lucy O’Rourke following a psychological perspective of love. Using both the character’s personal reflection and, when possible, the reactions of others to the character, in order to determine each character’s implied capacity for love, this paper will compare and contrast the two main characters in order to reveal that Lucy O’Rourke is better suited for love than Zoë Hendericks, using the text and outside sources to illustrate why.

Admittedly, this was a kind of bizarre slant to take for a literature paper, and as I started the paper, I wasn't even sure if it would work. But it did! Woohoo, Utah, here I come!

Moira at 11:19 AM :: Comments (4) :: « :: »

Congratulations, Moira! The "confirmed old bachelor" is tolerated and welcomed in society, and his unmarried state is assumed to be a choice. But the "spinster" is marginalized and pitied. Of course, when a professional woman has enough financial resources that she's not an object of pity, she doesn't fit any of the standard social molds.

Of course, literature about stable, normal people is rarely intersting, so characters like Bridget Jones and the ones you mention in your papers are more likely to gain interest from the reading public.

As a critic, however, you are using these stories to illuminate a social trend, and that in my mind distinguished your paper. It's very easy for undergraduates to lose sight of the literary work and instead focus on the social trend. But you kept those authors firmly in mind as you wrote. Good job!

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at March 8, 2006 12:40 PM


I think a chocolate fondue party is in order for this. Congratulations on your achievement!!!!

I am looking forward to reading the rest of the paper....



Posted by: KatieAikins at March 20, 2006 8:03 PM

As a former participant at NULC, I congratulate you. Though a relatively informal type conference, NULC prepared me more than anything else for my graduate conferences. I think you will enjoy your chance to present. Congrats on your acceptance. I moderate yearly, so perhaps I will see you present. Best of luck.

Posted by: Stacy Griffin at March 27, 2006 12:15 PM


Posted by: topsmileq at October 5, 2007 1:11 PM
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