This semester I have to write a research paper.
I hate research papers.
Not because I mind writing - obviously I don't. Not because I mind researching - I actually enjoy it. No, I hate research papers because of the thesis statement. I can write a thesis statement, that's not too terribly hard. It's the fact that I can never just research something - my thesis statement has to be debatable.
I've decided to write my research paper as a study of fairytales, folklore and mythology - and it's impact on modern American culture. As I'm an anthropology major I have a fairly broad spectrum to choose from as far as topics go. Being a fan of Joseph Campbell, cultural impact of myth sounded like it would be fun to read up on. However, I'm not certain this is a debatable topic. *sigh*
Here's my idea - I'd like to look at today's literature (including comic books) and possibly today's films and evaluate how many of these things have been influenced by myth. I'm thinking the debatable part is the idea that myth has an current value to society. In showing how much of our literature and many of our films come from far older stories, or are heavily influenced by them, I'd prove that myth is still important to us today.
This is what I have so far:
Literature and Comic Books (which are really the same thing in this case):
American Gods, Annansi Boys, Stardust and Sandman by Neil Gaimen
Fables by Bill Willingham
Crossing Midnight by Mike Carey
Wicked, Mirror Mirror, etc by Gregory Maguire
Grendel by Thomas Gardner
Grendel and Mage by Matt Wagner
300 by Frank Miller
I was also thinking about 'The King Must Die' by Mary Renault, but I don't think she counts as a contemporary writer. Maybe the Life of Pi? Or even better, Red Earth and Pouring Rain.
If anyone wants to suggest anything feel free!
As for movies, there are tons - the problem will be narrowing down the list =/
I'll also be pulling quite a bit from Joseph Campbell's work, such as the Power of Myth. I think with work such as Fables and Greg Maguire's books, as well as other stories (which I'm not going to use in the paper) such as Grimm's Fairy Tales and X-Men Fairy Tales, we've seen a renewed interest in folklore and myth. Of course I believe Cinderella is still the most prevalent story worldwide! In fact, some of the best comic books today (if you check the list above) seem to come from myth. Even Kingdom Come is heavily influenced my Christian mythology. Of course I still hold with my personal theory that comic books are the mythology of today, but I think that topic may have been harder to pull off for a class where I need many different types of sources for my paper.
Sorry to submit you all to my school work, but this is along the same line as all my posts about comics as literature. I've been making an effort to pull comic books into my school work not only to make my assignments more enjoyable, but also because I want comic books to earn more appreciation in the academic world. I believe this idea is making more and more headway and this is my way of putting my money where my mouth is.