All posts by Jules

What’s the Method?

This week, taking a break from my literature review I drafted up my methodology section for my proposal. Using the guidelines I put together what I have below, hopefully it is okay. Looking forward to feedback on Tuesday’s night class:

For my thesis project, Dr. Zamora recommended employing the autoethnography methodology, a qualitative research approach favored by scholars interested in vividly describing and evoking the intricate tapestry of lived experiences. Autoethnography aims to weave compelling narratives that illuminate specific phenomena encountered in the research setting. When applied to a memoir study, this methodology facilitates a nuanced understanding of the author’s experiences, emotions, and the cultural influences shaping the narrative. Incorporating insights from literature reviews, encompassing works ranging from Emily Ratajkowski’s writings to Sylvia Plath, my scholarly and writer influences play a pivotal role in shaping my own work. These influences guide me as I curate and compose vignettes that collectively narrate my women’s experiences. In alignment with the autoethnography methodology, my reflections on personal experiences and motivations associated with exploring the theme of womanhood form a crucial foundation for my thesis. By infusing emotions linked to pivotal events and considering their intersection with the narrative and my personal identity, I establish a meaningful connection between this research methodology and my thesis. Autoethnography enables a harmonious integration of my personal experiences with relevant literature and theories. Delving into how scholars, writers, and researchers have approached similar themes related to my topic has proven invaluable. This exploration serves to position my memoir within the broader context of existing academic discourse, fostering a more profound engagement with the subject matter.

Lit Review Done?

I think as of now, I’ve made a lot of progress. I do think my lit review is done (for now) since the semester is coming to a close and I do now have to work on putting my proposal together. For the lit review I followed the same format that I used in Dr. Nelson’s class last semester. I assume that is the same format I will use when it comes to submitting the entire proposal?

I did take a small break on writing the vignettes/essays. I plan on utilizing my winter break time to kind of get back in touch, focus, and write some more again. If I write anything right now, I feel like it will come off forced and therefore it won’t be as organic or as good as I want it to be. I wouldn’t say it’s a writers block, but I do have a block as of right now because of the end of the semester rush, and of course because of work. But I will get back to it, just need to find that right time again. I am constantly utilizing my notes app to write down ideas or writing that comes to my mind late at night or after driving. Can’t wait to get back to that part again.

Not Much Static

I don’t have much to talk about this week, because there isn’t much static now. From last weeks post I’ve been centering around my thesis around those themes. I am working on my literature review now and just siting down, collecting, and writing. I present next Tuesday (11/14). So I will also be working on that over this week and weekend. I am excited to share what I have, read a bit, and just really give a glimpse of what my thesis will be about.

Finding My Arch

Last class was helpful, I didn’t put much though about the grand “arch” of my thesis. Obviously I knew within my essays I was leading up to something but I couldn’t figure out just what exactly that was. Well I did some reflecting. I started to look over the stuff I had already read like Sylvia Path and Sandra Cisneros work. I started to realize a general theme I was gravitating towards (even when it came to my own writing) was love, relationships, and sexuality.

When I looked back on the collection of essays I gradually been producing/building, I realized a lot of the themes within my essay focused around the same themes found in the readings I was partaking in for research. Therefore, I think perhaps maybe I can stick to these three themes as part of my arch or I can maybe narrow it done to just one?

I will say now though, I feel more comfortable starting my Literature Review process because now that I possibly know what my overall themes of area are centered around, it would be much easier to center my literature review that reflects those themes and helps make my essays potentially stronger.

Keeping A Momentum Going?

I’m not going to lie, work has been beating my a**. So lately I haven’t been giving as much time as I like too. But I will say, I write an essay when I can especially when I draw some inspiration or think of a moment/ idea I want to write about.

So far, I read “The House on Mango Street” again. I read it when I was a kid, I remember liking it, but now I read it again as an adult. I tend to use and tie this book in with my literature review. This week I also plan to dive into Sylvia Path’s work (I already own some of her books) and see what I can draw from that as part of my literature review.

Once the books are sorted out and kind of done (doing that first since a book is a lot more to absorb and way more hefty with information compared to an article) I will then go to the articles/ research and see what I will be pulling from there as part for my review. I would say all my progress thus far has seem slow but I do feel like while it may be a steady pace, I have been working and all this work I have done will result into the final bigger picture in the end. Hopefully the next couple of days I can devote a bit more time that way I can get even more work done, and see even much bigger results.

It’s Lit!

I run into a bit of a writers block within my essays. I do believe we are our own worst critics, and right now anything I write is just not good enough. So I’m going to take a pause on drafting right now. Maybe collect my thoughts, journal, and find inspiration. Part of my inspiration I know will come from my literature review. Tuesdays class was extremely helpful. Dr. Zamora giving me a list of writers to check out after reading my last blog post was a stir in the right direction. I’m going to start with reading “The House On Mango Street.” I read that book before but the last time I read it I was too young, and although I remember really liking it, I know that if I read it now as a much more older woman with a different mindset and different experiences; it’s going to hit much different. And probably help me with my thesis.

For now, I want to continue curating a list from Dr. Zamora, my classmates, and my own research as all part of my sources for my review. But I don’t want to go crazy just yet. For now I feel like I have a good list now it’s just diving in and seeing what I can pull and take from each writer. My list right now currently consists of 10-15 writers so once I get a solid take from that I will continue to look for more writers so my list can then get up to 15-20.

Although I know the literature review is probably going to be the second hardest thing I’ll do, I also know that in some degree It’s going to be more fun. This is going to be the inspiration part of it all. I will report next week of some of my takeaways, stay tuned!

Getting Stirred In The Right Direction

Last nights class at the library was helpful. For the most part it was a refresher from what I learned in undergrad. But what was not a refresher was how I should go about my own research and how to conduct my research. Going on the database for gender watch helped immensely. For one, I feel like I got to the main portal of research that I want to find. Once Greg helped me narrow my research and what exactly I need to put in the database, the research didn’t seem as overwhelming as I initially thought it was going to be. That felt like a relief.

Once Greg moved onto the next person to help, I stayed on the database and continued to look throw the different essays. There was about a hundred-something. Some I emailed to myself to maybe look over the weekend and read through in hopes I get inspired. And others I sort of passed through. Despire being so many results that popped up, it was a relief to know that my topic hasn’t really been done to be completely honest. And most of the essays that I did find just sort of came from a feminist perspective and what that meant. But I did not find any personal essays of what it means to be a woman and experiences of being a woman. I just found surface/ in general ideas of the topic. Which is good. But like I said, for the ones I did email to myself I do have to read over those this weekend and see what exactly has been said through personal essays and see what I can do when it comes to my essays. Ideally, my essays have not be done, because they are my personal thoughts and experiences. But regardless, I do still need to see what has been done centered around my idea.

As of now, I have about five essays completed and I am slowly completing more as I go. I am taking my time on the essays as I want them to be well written and as well as well thought out. They are something so personal to me and I want them to be expressed correctly. Each day, I am aiming for at least one essay or half an essay. But we are moving along to a direction. Not completely sure of that direction fully, but I know we are moving.

Previously On…

After our zoom class, I would say almost a lightning bolt struck but not exactly. But after Dr. Zamora’s talk (which was super helpful) it gave me some more insight of the type of direction I should aim towards. Immediately after class I got to writing. I decided first that I want to draft up a couple of different essays on the exploration of womanhood and what it means to me. But also including things I have gone through being a woman. I know all woman have a story (trigger warning ahead), here are some of the essays I want to touch base upon and write before I center around my thesis;

  1. The first time I was touched/ groped
  2. The man who plotted to rape me
  3. The man who stalked me
  4. The man who called me a slut
  5. The time my mother said it was my fault based on my outfit

Those are a couple essays I want to draft up first as I share my experiences in intimate stories. Then I will most likely need another brainstorming session with Dr. Zamora. But for now I do have a good start of where I want to get this thesis going. I am looking forward to the workshop next Tuesday as I can get guided a bit more and know where exactly where to start my research.

For the meantime, here is a sample essay I wrote to kick off the creative process and get in a zone:

The First Man To Disappoint Me 

If any man in my past thought they did damage to me, they have not. My father was the first man to disappoint me. 

I remember being a kid, sitting on the floor of the living room next to my mom who was sitting on the couch. I can remember her praying out loud “please don’t let him come home drunk. Please God protect him on his way home.” I silently put my head down as I pray in my head alongside my mother. Silently in my head I asked God, “Please God, don’t let him come home drunk today, please don’t let them fight today.” When I was a kid God didn’t seem to be too real because I thought when you pray he was supposed to make your prayers come true. But prayers are not wishes. 

My parents fought badly when I was growing up. From microwaves being thrown out the window, to my dad leaving to look for a new place only to come back at night. I took on a role for my mother. To be her support system, and when she couldn’t be a mother, I tried my best to be one. 

Growing up all I ever heard was “wow, you’re so mature for your age” or “you have such an old soul.” But these kinds of comments are normal for women, it’s almost an expectation to be more mature compared to boys. But the thing is, I wasn’t a woman. I was only a child. The “compliments” are not really compliments at the end of the day when all you want to do is be a kid. Not one that is dragged between every fight your parents have or every mental breakdown your mother has where all she can talk about is committing suicide. Trying to take on every role but the only real role I had was just to be a kid. But I failed at that one. 

I say my father was the first man to disappoint me because it was hard to find that thin line. All I could see was the damage he was causing my mom, I resented him for it. While I never showed it and outsiders thought I was a daddy’s girl, I had a few moments where I strongly hated him and wished he never existed.

Previously On…

After our zoom class, I would say almost a lightning bolt struck but not exactly. But after Dr. Zamora’s talk (which was super helpful) it gave me some more insight of the type of direction I should aim towards. Immediately after class I got to writing. I decided first that I want to draft up a couple of different essays on the exploration of womanhood and what it means to me. But also including things I have gone through being a woman. I know all woman have a story (trigger warning ahead), here are some of the essays I want to touch base upon and write before I center around my thesis;

  1. The first time I was touched/ groped
  2. The man who plotted to rape me
  3. The man who stalked me
  4. The man who called me a slut
  5. The time my mother said it was my fault based on my outfit

Those are a couple essays I want to draft up first as I share my experiences in intimate stories. Then I will most likely need another brainstorming session with Dr. Zamora. But for now I do have a good start of where I want to get this thesis going. I am looking forward to the workshop next Tuesday as I can get guided a bit more and know where exactly where to start my research.

All Roads Lead To Thesis

It is clear, I’m in a creative funk (well maybe just an overall funk). This whole summer prior to the beginning of the semester all I could think about was this damn thesis. It was something I even told my mom about countless times because I wasn’t sure if she was getting how big of a deal it was to me and how anxious I was about it. I think she somewhat gets it now. Point is, I don’t even know where to start. So what I do when I am unsure about anything, I went straight to google. I googled “MA Thesis Ideas for English Majors.” I didn’t do this with intention to take ideas but in hopes to get inspired. This is what I found;

  • Religion and Politics throughout the Ages of Literature
  • Gender role Differences
  • How Accurate Is History in Historical Novels
  • The Function of Animals in Children’s Literature
  • What Are the Origins of a Chosen Novel
  • Twentieth Century and Middle Ages Morality Play
  • Modernism vs. Realism: the Differences
  • First World War Poetry Analysis
  • The Most Important Piece of Work Written by William Shakespeare
  • What Are Female Masculinities in Old English Literature
  • Was Literature Influenced During the Renaissance Era?
  • How Quantum Physics Is Applied in Literature
  • Nineteenth-Century Poetic Imagination with Astronomy

Not quite helpful, but one did stick out to me; gender role differences. From there my mind started to go down a loophole of ideas, well maybe just one idea. For my thesis I want it to center around the idea of womanhood/ femininity. Yes, I am aware there are tons of research on it, but I want to center somewhere around that idea and along the idea of “buying our womanhood back.” The idea is still a work in progress and it might be changed but I like the idea of writing about women and what it means to be a woman from what we wear, to what we do, to even who we date. But like I said, I would have to further look more into this because I know countless things have been done about this already. But I would like to center my thesis around the idea of women.

So far this is what I got. I am going to continue to brainstorm and see just what exactly excites me and moves me. In the meantime I am going to work on pushing through this funk and read more and take care of myself more to be able to generate more ideas.