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    Connections Newsletter
    Issue 3                                                                                                                                         Spring Semester 2012


    A Note from the Collaborative Director

    Undergraduate Research: Adjusting to Life at a Liberal Arts College

    2012-2013 McNair Scholars

    Fall-Summer Collaborative Grants

    Convention Spotlight



    Sigma Tau Delta
    • Kaela Gedda
    • Jens Paasen
    • Gretchen Panzer
    • Hannah Schmitt
    • Luanne Spence
    • Sarah Titus
    Collaborative Research Stories 
    Important Dates

    May 4, 2012 Student Academic Travel Grant and Attendee Grant applications due

    Convention Spotlight

    Kaela Gedda

    '12, President of Sigma Tau Delta

    St. Norbert’s chapter of Sigma Tau Delta is pleased to share that seven of its members were selected to attend the international convention in New Orleans, LA this March. Representing St. Norbert, six of the students traveled to Louisiana to the International English Honor Society’s convention to present their papers. The papers presented ranged in categories from critical analyses of literary works to creative non-fiction pieces. Each student was assigned a panel to present among students with relating topics. Along with sharing their own papers the students were inspired during the readings and lectures from published authors Naomi Shihab Nye, Anthony Doerr, and Natasha Tretheway. Participating in writing, revising, and presenting scholarly work at a professional level showcases the talents and preparation for future writing that Sigma Tau Delta members have honed while at St. Norbert College. This participation in the annual convention positively reflects the campus in a competitive academic setting. The six papers that were presented at the 2012 convention include:

    sigmapic"Why Not to Shut Books in the Freezer" Sarah Titus ‘12

    "Why Not to Shut Books in the Freezer" is a creative non-fiction essay written in response to a novel entitled The Book of Ruth by Jane Hamilton. The main character's trials become entwined with similar, personal traumas. Ultimately, this is a paper about why books are important in the healing process, especially books that are written about heavy issues that are not often talked about because of their brutality. 


    Gender and Power in Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children: The Implications of “The Widow” Gretchen Panzer ‘12

    In his novel Midnight’s Children, Salman Rushdie uses magical realism to satirize and critique Indira Gandhi (the Prime Minister of India from 1966-77 and 1980-84). In my essay, I argue that while Rushdie’s disapproval of Gandhi’s political actions is perfectly understandable, he attacks her gender rather than simply her politics, making the text problematic from a feminist perspective. Rushdie emphasizes the fact that Gandhi is a widow, drawing on the stigmatization of widows in India; portrays her as a castrating, child-killing witch figure; and blames her for the human rights violations committed by her son, whom he depicts as emasculated and weak. That Rushdie focuses so intently on Gandhi’s gender as he critiques her political actions, I argue, stems from a deep-rooted—though possibly subconscious—bias against women in power.

    “Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper”: Writing to Serve” Kaela Gedda ‘12

    “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman focuses on the experiences of women during the late nineteenth century centering around the rest cure that was widely prescribed by the medical community. While often read as a feminist text, “The Yellow Wallpaper” goes beyond a discussion of female roles during Gilman’s period. My essay explores the way in which “The Yellow Wallpaper” offers a dual service to both the narrator of the text and readers of the short story by utilizing writing—in the form of a personal journal and published work—to provide liberation from the restraints of patriarchy and the medical community. Ultimately, Gilman’s novella shares how powerful and self-serving the ability to be independent is. Writing acts as the tool to help many women, fictional and in reality.


    “Girl Talk: Female Friendships in Hannah Webster Foster’s The Coquette” Hannah Schmitt ‘13

    Hannah Webster Foster's The Coquette, an eighteenth century seduction narrative, can easily be read exclusively for the male/female relationships in the text. In “Girl Talk: Female Friendships in Hannah Webster Foster's The Coquette,” I suggest an alternate reading, one that focuses on the friendships within the text rather than the story of Eliza Wharton, the female protagonist, and Major Sanford, the rake who seduces her. In this paper, I argue that, through The Coquette, Foster critiques her society's traditional understanding of female friendship, exposing the inadequacy of her society’s definitions of femininity. As readers follow Eliza's sexual deviance, pregnancy, and eventual death, they discover that the kind of female friendship endorsed by eighteenth-century America fails to adequately assist women. 


    “Exploring Religious Uncertainty in MacDonald’s “The Golden Key” Luanne Spence ‘13

    George MacDonald, a 19th century Victorian writer, used his many works to explore both religious discrepancy and gender norms. As a devout Christian, he wrote fairy tales for children to exemplify moral lessons he deemed valuable. His piece, “The Golden Key,” tells the story of two young children searching for the land without shadows. Readers can presumably infer that the land without shadows is a metaphorical symbol for religious affirmation and life after death. MacDonald uses two protagonists – an arduous male and a besieged female to illustrate his religious beliefs. As the characters journey throughout the story, MacDonald exposes readers to the many paradoxes between gender norms and religious experience. The male child not only upholds phallic power by reaching his final destination with little trouble, but he becomes both a teacher and a faithful example that others can follow. Although his voyage into faith is faultless, he falls to the wayside as MacDonald puts the female protagonist into the lime light mid story. In an intentional move, MacDonald captures the hardships she experiences and her questioning of faith, while simultaneously portraying her as victorious and just as deserving of salvation as her male counterpart. The story allows readers, both children and adult alike, to connect with the characters and gain a newfound appreciation for questioning the unknown and developing personal religious beliefs. MacDonald uses “The Golden Key” to aid in inspiring the unconventional and urges individuals to uncover their own religious key.


    “If You Want to Belong, You Have to Buy: Disney’s Pocahontas and Consumerism in a Natural Disguise” Jens Paasen ‘13

    In their 1995 film Pocahontas Disney uses nature as a Trojan horse to plant messages of consumerism in the viewers’ minds. In my essay I argue that Disney proceeds in three steps to covertly introduce ideas of consumerism to young viewers. First, the notion of a nature-culture dichotomy is reinforced through the juxtaposition of the Powhatan Indians and the English settlers. Then, the idea of human dominance over nature is suggested through depictions of anthropocentrism using nature as special effect. Eventually a consumerist culture is strengthened through Pocahontas translation of capitalist concepts into child-oriented ideas and through fostering her individualist nature through John Smith. Disney successfully introduces ideas of consumerism to children making them want to buy movie related products in order to follow Pocahontas’s desirable individualist example.  

    Faculty Sponsors:

    Dr. Karlyn Crowley, Dr. Laurie MacDiarmid, Dr. John Pennington




    St. Norbert Collaborative

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    Fax: (920) 403-4086

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