Friday, September 21, 2012

Q&A about topic

Maybe this edited email exchange below will help you find a suitable paper topic. — M

Q: Hello, ... So I currently have two ideas for my reception paper and I want to know if either (or neither) of these would work.
1. I heard that the word "Cuckold" originated from the Actaeon myth because people also say "wearing the horns" and in some countries people even make a horn sign with their fingers when referring to a cuckold. 
2. There is a very popular children's book series called Percy Jackson and the Olympians and it's about children who are demi-gods. With this idea I would want to talk about the way the myths are portrayed in this series (or maybe just the first book) and what effect that has on the children who read it (what they learn or get our of mythology from it).

 A:  Dear ______, Sorry to be slow in response.
The cuckold/Actaeon idea is not as easy as an individual item from a Percy Jackson book, but it's likely more interesting.

If you choose PJ, make sure you choose one character, one defining episode, and document by specific references on the pages of the book(s). It's MUCH easier to work on a book than it is a film, in my opinion. In a book, you can find a page number and consider it carefully. Films are harder to document. Riordin conducted many interviews about his motives in creating the series. You can find him talking about his own motives and so forth. Use such statements and reviewers' analysis to underpin your research. I've read a dozen reviews about the PJ books. A published review, of course, counts as a secondary source. A PJ paper takes some work, but writing one is sort of like painting by numbers. I'd recommend it for a first timer.

Actaeon/cuckold is a big theme.  Too big for a short paper. You'd need to find ONE instance of its use, such as the little laughing boy in Hogarth's 'Marriage a la Mode' (OGCMA0022NOTActaeon_Hogarth) There's plenty of support for research, lots to find, if you do Hogarth's use of Actaeon. Or some other artist's treatment of Actaeon.

If somebody were compelling me to write on the Actaeon myth, I think I'd take on a painting by Jean-Leon Gerôme (OGCMA0024NOTActaeon_Gérôme). Gérôme is a remarkable artist. I'd like to know more about him. Why don't you take this painting on?

BTW: That film we watched (OGCMA0025NOTActaeon_Moira) did not make Actaeon a cuckold, though. It's not always a facet of an Actaeon narrative.

Reminder: A 2-pager gives too little space to treat the Actaeon/cuckold theme per se appropriately.

Hope this helps.

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