Congratulations to our MA in Humanities graduates! This semester three students have completed their Master’s essays!

Bruce G. Hearey- Delayed Recognition:  The American Original, Charles Ives”

Summary: This essay was an examination of the life and dual career  of Charles Ives, 1874-1954,  a remarkably successful businessman in the insurance business , who in his spare time composed serious music that many believe is the best music ever written by an American composer.   Ives was an original not only in his innovative approach to  selling insurance in the early 20th Century , but also in his radical approach to composing music . His music incorporated unique and creative approaches,  of rhythm and tonality  and content ,  well ahead of his contemporaries , using vernacular music  of hymns , marches,  and popular American songs, to inform compositions that focused for their content on  places and events from his New England environs . The paper focuses on three pieces in particular and the fact that Ives’s complex music was not performed for decades after he wrote it or fully appreciated in his lifetime ,  and describes his increasing popularity as an artist that came to him in the 1950s and beyond,  well after his death.

Evonne Jackson-“Remembering Puerto Rican Identity:  When I was Puerto Rican, By Esmeralda Santiago and Family Installments: Memories of Growing up Hispanic, by Edward Rivera.”

Summary:

This essay explores how Puerto Ricans retain their identity as they move from an imperialist rule under Spain to becoming a colony of the United States.  I examine identity through the memoirs of two Puerto Ricans, one male and the other female.  Both were born in Puerto Rico and later moved with their families to New York City.    Puerto Rico, as a colony of the United States with open borders, presented the two authors with challenges and opportunities to express what was precious to them both in Puerto Rico and the United States, what it meant to be Puerto Rican. Both memoirs end with the authors as students at Universities looking back at their journey, each one, in my opinion, not ending up the way they thought.  I have provided a general historical backdrop as well as excerpts from the two novels to  highlight how historical events impacted their lives.

Alyse Krevh-“The Color Factor: How Paulo Freire’s Philosophy of Education Highlights that Race Affects Human Growth and Development of United States Citizens”

Summary:

The stages of human growth and development are universal.  However, stage progression or regression differs depending on individual experiences.  This essay explores how the United States education system favors the growth and development of whites.  Paulo Freire’s philosophy of education reinforces the idea that education is the number one way to fight oppression and the United States is enacting policies that take away educational opportunities for non-whites furthering their oppression.

 

Conor King – “Cultural Context: An Argument for New Historicist rather than Postmodern Literary Theory in Analyzing Popular Culture”

Summary:

This thesis examines two significant theories of literary criticism, new historicism and postmodernism, and evaluates them in light of an analysis of contemporary popular culture.  Specifically, it focuses on the Harry Potter series, George R. R. Martin’s A SONG OF FIRE AND ICE, and song lyrics by Bob Dylan and John Lennon.  Our analysis leads us to conclude that, while postmodern theories raise interesting questions and considerations, the new historicist literary theory provides us with better tools to understand popular culture.

 

Posted on December 5, 2017
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