Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Searching for a Good Title

In case you can't tell, I enjoy creative, provocative titles. At the risk of being obscure or pretentious, a good, eye-catching title can really "sell" your story or essay.

I like my titles to either be clever, explanatory, or (ideally) both. Looking at the printouts of our blog posts (which I was sure to gather in because I wanted to read people's comments!), I have settled on

Surmounted, Comprehended, Possessed

I like this title because it is a direct allusion to Stegner's essay "At Home in the Fields of the Lord," and I think it also provides a good outline for my paper. I've been wrestling with the ideas of author as observer or builder, the neurological underpinnings of memory, and the text of Recapitulation itself. These are nice punchy verbs which really encapsulate these ideas of three ways Wallace Stegner, his avatar Bruce Mason, and we, as readers, interact with text.

  1. We surmount it. We get up above it: in my sketch, I drew the reader in the Salt Lake foothills with a telescope. Literature broadens our horizons.
  2. We comprehend it. I have absolutely loved reading essays about how we interact with literature, from Borges to William James to Oscar Wilde (a post on the latter soon, as his ideas are important to this essay, although it's hard to imagine two men more unlike each other than Stegner and Wilde. ;-) ).
  3. We possess it. This is that personal connection Dr. Burton's always hounding us about. The idea that great literature does, indeed, make us better: or at the very minimum, shape who we are.
I will spend roughly two pages on each concept. About a page of textual exposition, and another page proving the point argumentatively. Embedded in all three claims is a Cause/Effect argument. 

I'm more excited to draft this thing, the last paper of my college career. And it all began with a good title!

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