Department of English

English Honors Undergraduates Win the Rapoport-King Thesis Scholarship

Fri, October 17, 2008

Congratulations to Aubrey Lee, BobieJo Ferguson and Amanda Payne, undergraduates in the English Honors program who have won the Rapoport-King Thesis Scholarship!

Included are their thesis titles and short descriptions. Congratulations to all!

Aubrey Lee, "Like Patience on a Monument: Women, Identity, and the Constraint of Image in Selected Shakespeare Plays"

Thesis Advisor: Professor Eric Malin 

In my thesis I will show that it is not only men that sustain the patriarchal system in Shakespeare's plays and that women are neither entirely helpless nor blameless within that system. Although the women rebuild images destroyed by the men, they build them according to the recognized values of the culture. The Renaissance system of courtly love was actually a self-regulating structure that perpetuated the political assumptions and order of the time period rather than a system that was forced on women of the Renaissance. 


BobieJo Ferguson, "Light Drawing, Word Drawing: The Photograph in Jeffrey Eugenides' The Virgin Suicides"

Thesis Advisor: Professor Martin Kevorkian

This project begins by examining the stillness of The Virgin Suicides--a novel created through descriptions of many images and still scenes--through the lens of Roland Barthes' Camera Lucida.  Especially important here are his discussions of memory and the photograph.  From there, I will consider The Virgin Suicides in the context of the long ekphrastic tradition, placing this quite contemporary (1992) novel in its larger context.  These first sections will explore the idea of the novel creating a new sort of space by virtue of this image-comprised form, setting up the third and final section: a comparison with Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita and exploration of how the "aesthetic bliss" of this novel is translated into the aesthetic space of The Virgin Suicides.


Amanda Payne, “Jane Austen and Emily Brontë: Unlikely Literary Sisters"

Thesis Advisor: Professor Janine Barchas

Even though Charlotte Brontë’s severe opinion of Jane Austen confirms her familiarity with the Austen canon, her publicized contempt of Pride and Prejudice has checked most critics from examining her works and those of her sisters for Austen influences. Contrary to the assumed non-influence of Austen on the Brontë sisters, I argue that Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights (1847) may be an adaptation of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park (1814). The structural and stylistic features that Mansfield Park and Wuthering Heights share will thus be the focus of this thesis.


The Rapoport-King Thesis Scholarships honor Audre and Bernard Rapoport and Robert D. King, former Dean of the College of Liberal Arts. Audre and Bernard Rapoport of Waco, Texas have provided an endowment that enables the College of Liberal Arts to provide scholarship and research support for those students who are writing a thesis in one of the Departmental Honors Programs the year they apply.

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