Thesis in 200 Characters or Less
Ah, the thesis: the greatest of all undertakings a student of English can take. This intensive writing process may involve tears, sleep deprivation, and crippling moments of self-doubt, but those who emerge victorious all share in the great pride and bragging rights that make the entire process worth it. Your thesis will always be with you, that one (or two or three) thoroughly thought out, researched, and explained idea that challenged your mind, pushing you always to unpack further and further, until you felt there couldn’t possibly be anymore to say on the subject, only to find out that there is, of course there is, there always is. This is the life of those who choose the studies of literature as their path. Western’s English Department is rich with both undergraduate and graduate students crafting their theses, as well as accomplished faculty with their own completed theses. Drawing inspiration from an article found on tickld.com in which PhD students in the sciences “dumb down” their theses for the understanding of laypeople, I asked around the English Department to see who would send me a simplified summation of their blood, sweat, and tears. Below are the results from professors, undergraduates, graduates, and an undergraduate alumnus.
Dr. Jacque Wilson-Jordan: Edith Wharton wrote some ghost stories. Reading them teaches us, after all, that people are more scary than ghosts.
Undergraduate Senior Max Keil: They told me I could make any thesis I wanted, so I made an RPG about robots.
Second year Graduate student Kelly Schloss: Romantic and Victorian literature’s Byronic heroine: No, you didn’t misunderstand. Yes, she does exist. Now I will prove it.
Undergraduate Senior Haley Heglesen: Stories in games are cool because you play them, we should keep doing that. Also I wrote something.
Undergraduate Alumnus Justin Kim: America defines itself against evil brown people. To make sure brown people can’t argue otherwise, we exclude, exploit, and exterminate them.
Second year Graduate student Klaira Strickland: Oftentimes when people like Dungeons and Dragons, they play Dungeons and Dragons, why is that?
Undergraduate Senior Dakota Carlson: My undergraduate thesis is about how crazy cool cinematic violence and modern movie bad guys like the Joker really are. I do this because I’m a madman. I am so freakin’ crazy that Sigmund Freud has been counseling me from his grave. Escape!
Second year Graduate student Sheldon Gaskell: Making sense of the post-modern and the absurd in the film Holy Motors and what this says about an actor and filmmaker’s identity in current society.
Dr. Neil Baird: Neil and Bradley conduct a bajillion interviews over half a decade to learn that students experience difficulty writing in the major.