Sewanee DSpace Repository
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ItemJust War in the Harry Potter Series: The Choice of Self-Defense and the Power of Self-Sacrificing Love(University of the South, 2023-08-20)Despite its trappings of both children’s literature and the adolescent Bildungsroman, the Harry Potter series presents a grave conflict with repercussions beyond prompting the title character’s personal growth. Far from contenting herself with mere descriptions of teenage rites of passage, J.K. Rowling raises and explores weighty ethical questions of consequentialism and moral autonomy by assaying the limits of virtuous conduct during wartime. At the same time, Rowling does not abandon the individuals engaged in this conflict for abstract theorizing. Instead, her treatment of characters’ moral development is set fixedly within her broader critique of war and its potential justifications. In this critique, Rowling places herself alongside classical and medieval scholars of just war theory like Augustine and Thomas Aquinas. But rather than conforming to the latter’s strict method of disputed questions, Rowling allows her heroic characters to transgress the conventional boundaries of ethical behavior in warfare. Such transgressions not only illuminate Rowling’s particular interpretation of just war theory, but are also reflected in her characters’ psychological maturation and the traumatic wounds that shape it. Ultimately, while Rowling does condemn the inescapable brutality of war, she argues in favor of the existence of justly started and justly fought wars. ItemVolcanic and Other Stories(University of the South, 2023-04-19)The following collection contains five short stories. When taken as a single project, they combine to represent my whole body of fiction-writing work over the past five years, which is to say, they are everything I’ve produced in my adult life. Some mo- tifs recur across works, and repeated imagery is featured with intention; on the whole, though, the stories are distinct. In writing each, I set out with different goals, different aesthetic priorities and thematic preoccupations. I have been guided by the heart here, perhaps to a fault; but I can honestly say that I have held nothing back, that I have done my best to render visions that matter to me. I hope you will find something to enjoy in each one. ItemRooting into the Earth, Branching into the Sky: Willa Cather’s Vision for Life Among the Trees(University of the South, 2023-04-14)In her introduction to Willa Cather’s Ecological Imagination, a volume of Cather Studies devoted solely to ecocritical essays about Willa Cather’s writing, Susan Rosowski asserts that the fundamental question driving debate in and around today’s environmental movement—“What is the right relation between human beings and nature?”—is a question that interested Cather deeply, a question that Cather’s stories frequently ask and occasionally, if incompletely, answer. This thesis aims to add to the ecocritical conversation surrounding Cather’s work by drawing attention to the important, albeit largely overlooked, ways that Cather’s beliefs about the relation between human beings and nature are encapsulated in the relationships between her human characters and the trees around them. To illustrate the consistently-important, if not entirely consistent, role that trees play in Cather’s writing, this paper offers an illustrative pairing of two of Cather’s best-known novels: My Ántonia (1918) and Death Comes for the Archbishop (1927). This pairing is uniquely instructive because the two novels are at once very similar and very different from one another. Because both novels tell stories about characters who, when forced to adapt to new, unnervingly-bare environments, forge intimate connections with their new homes primarily through their attention to, and care for, trees, we come to understand that Cather sees trees as the primary mediators of humans’ relationships with the places they inhabit. On the other hand, because of the essential differences between the Midwestern plains of My Ántonia and the Southwestern deserts of Death Comes for the Archbishop, and, even more importantly, the essential differences between the personalities of the two novels’ titular characters (Ántonia of My Ántonia and Archbishop Latour of Death Comes for the Archbishop), we come to understand that exactly how trees mediate the relationship between humans and nature can vary. This thesis’s central argument posits that the trees of My Ántonia draw Ántonia’s spirit downwards into the Nebraska earth, rooting her more deeply in the immediate community, while the trees of Death Comes for the Archbishop draw Latour’s spirit upwards, making the Southwest a place where Latour feels a unique, transcendent connection to all of creation. Thus, although trees in both stories play a vital role in helping characters find meaning, and a sense of belonging, in a new place, the meanings that Ántonia and Latour find in their new homes, and the types of belonging they feel, are very different from one another. The paper concludes by examining Cather’s own relationship with the landscapes of Mid- and Southwest America. The thesis ultimately contends that although Cather’s own relationship with the natural world is likely to have been more similar to Latour’s than to Ántonia’s, the illustrative pairing of My Ántonia and Death Comes for the Archbishop reveals that Cather rejected the idea of a single “right” relation between human beings and nature. Instead, Cather’s stories suggest that each individual must discover their own “right” relationship with the natural world around them—a seemingly long and difficult task, but a task that may be made a bit easier if one knows where to begin: beneath a tree. Item"Catch Me Up and Hold Me": The War on Adolescence in All Quiet on the Western Front and The Catcher in the Rye(University of the South, 2023-07-15)This thesis examines and compares similar passages between J.D. Salinger’s seminal novel on Holden Caulfield’s adolescent dissolution into “madness,” The Catcher in the Rye, and Erich Maria Remarque’s astounding World War I novel, All Quiet on the Western Front, which exposes the effects of trench warfare on its adolescent narrator, Paul Bäumer. Both books, likewise, are aligned with passages from William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, revealing a shared lineage. Although there is not any scholarship linking Salinger’s novel to Remarque’s, one of his own letters includes the statement that “I think his war books and postwar rubble books are better than anyone’s. His are the only ones that move me anyway.” Still, much evidence for this thesis rests on Andy Roger’s Dissertation, The Veteran Who Is, The Boy Who Is No More – The Casualty of Identity in War Fiction, which argues that The Catcher in the Rye is Salinger’s transmutation of his war experiences into the adolescent experiences of his protagonist, Holden Caulfield. Further evidence relies upon biographies and scholarship that help link both novels to Hamlet and to Salinger’s war experiences, which influenced the writing of his only novel. The primary result of this study is the speculation of influence of Remarque’s novel upon Salinger’s through a close study of five key themes: the conflict between youth and age; the ways that education makes victims of the young; the inauthenticity of theater and movies; the disparagement of games; and (most extensively) the longing for voice and companionship that is at the heart of both novels, in very different ways. Additional study, via the Appendix, compares a few of Salinger’s early short stories about Holden Caulfield and Babe Gladwaller with passages in All Quiet on the Western Front, suggesting an influence that might have helped him evolve his own ideas within his short stories into his final version of The Catcher in the Rye; however, due to lack of definitive evidence, this thesis limits its argument to speculation. The ultimate claim argues that Salinger’s novel breaks the metaphorical fourth wall and makes the reader a character in the book who will catch up Holden and hold him during a shared experience in telling one another what they are each doing in a sanitorium near Hollywood, though the book, obviously and necessarily, only reveals Holden’s narrative.
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