The Blog About the Prospectus Before the Paper

November 9th, 2011

The title of this blog sums up how I felt sitting down to write my prospectus– confused.

I had been in a bit of a panic in the preceding weeks just thinking about committing to a topic so swiftly. There are so many varyied and intriguing aspects to the all encompassing theme of gossip and secrecy. Initially I thought that turning my blog on “distancing language” in The Journal of The Plague Year would be the most genius topic to choose and would  allow me to really focus on my own theories of secrecy and the need to spatially separate oneself from it. However, I decided to wait a bit longer before really “buckling down” on a topic. That was the best decision I could have made. Thanks to my extensive television viewing (and always having the thought of gossip and secrecy on my mind) I had a prophetic experience while watching an episode of Dexter and spent the rest of my night jotting down ideas, concepts, and questions I had about the relationship between America’s favorite serial killer and his secrets. This start was great but it was missing one key “ingredient”- the literature. I had yet to read a novel that really encompassed the darkness and the fear that secrecy instills in people and literary characters. This was very disconcerting but I was determined to stick with my topic. At the point of writing my prospectus, I had absolutely no idea of what texts, other than Macbeth, would suit my paper. Writing about and handing in a paper filled with very raw and abstract ideas and questions scared the crap out of me. At best I felt the prospectus was scattered and unclear. At worst it was complete garbage.

While waiting to meet with Prof. Walkden, I considered what literary texts I could use to tie into this paper. Thankfully, The Scarlet Letter and Summer had been assigned and literally answered my prayers. The “abstractness” that once induced fear dissipated. The texts that were decided upon helped illuminiate the inital thoughts on my topic and I realized that my paper was not as abstract and unclear as I had previously believed. The prospectus and the meeting with Prof. Walkden is the best preparation I have received before writing a paper. In hindsight this prospectus was probably the best “thing” that could have happened to me.

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