Thursday, May 24, 2007

Thesis Update

So I have a (working) title. I'm pretty happy about that actually. The title is: Made or found, what’s the difference? The Melancholy Act of Creation in Neil Gaiman’s Coraline
There's a recurring motif of creating in Coraline, the creations of the other mother, the story Coraline writes and the picture she attempts to draw at the beginning of the mist (eventually writing the word MIST in wobbly letters in one corner). There's also a strong recurring image of playing, in fact you could argue that the whole novel begins because Coraline wishes she had someone to play with, and because she wants to explore. The title comes from a conversation she has with the (very Cheshire-like) cat:
‘Did she make this place then?’ asked Coraline.
‘Made it, found it––what’s the diffence?’ asked the cat. ‘Either way she’s had it a very long time.’
Coming up with a title and narrowing my focus a little (ahem...okay, a lot) has definitely been the key to finding my structure. My thesis supervisor, Kevin Brophy, said this would happen and he was right. Phew. Also it's making my reading feel productive rather than scary and overwhelming because I have a specific question in my head. The question came about because I asked myself sternly why I was writing a thesis, as a creative writer, what's in it for me. So I'm going to write a bit about melancholy and a bit about the relationship between intertextuality and originality (has it all been done before? Is there value in the uncovering and arranging and rearranging of found objects, detritus, debris? Are writers kind of collectors?) and lots about creativity, plus I'm going to partake in a little self-indulgent pyschoanalysis because I find it kind of fun. I'm just nerdy like that.

I've also decided to do a creative component. But that bit's secret, too nebulous to talk about. If I describe it, it might frizzle up.


  1. I think that sounds fascinating. Good luck! (and don't forget to put your references in something like EndNote as you gather them (the stern experienced librarian speaks... : )))

  2. Anonymous11:57 AM

    Not bad for watching Emma Thompson compulsively :P

    Seriously though, it just keeps getting better. And I love the title(and since I've been reading about good titles for theses, I am now an expert.:D)

  3. Anonymous4:49 PM

    Congrats on feeling like it's more under control! I'm very impressed that you have a title (and that it sounds cool). I'm putting in my intent to submit form and rang the thesis office panicking as I can't commit to a title yet! The office woman patiently explained (I got the feeling this was not an uncommon phone call) you can change it right up to the day you submit :)

    Seconding the Endnote call, I only used it as somewhere to store my references but it not only made creating the bibliography easy but made researching easier as I could find papers through the keywords I'd entered with them. You might have a better memory than me, though, and not need help remembering authors and titles :)

  4. Thanks everyone. I am definitely looking into EndNote (Martin found some freeware, so I'll see what that's like) because I hate lotathe and detest doing bibliographies.

  5. Because Neil Gaiman and Tori Amos are friends, I am now listening to "Under The Pink". I've not heard any Tori Amos for ages. Thanks Penni.

    EndNote: I guess I'm slow. I'm still trying to figure out how to use it.

  6. Anonymous2:11 PM

    Incidentally, did you know Neil Gaiman did the screenplay for Beowulf? It's due out soon.

  7. Hey that sounds great - good luck with it! I love Gaiman.

  8. Cassandra Nelson6:45 PM

    Did you ended up with the title you want? Well, it certainly looks like the title you came up was a good idea. I just bet it was a thesis help that you didn’t change your mind about it because it can certainly catch the attention of people who would see the paper.