[▆▆▆▆▆▆▆__________________________] (it’s a progress bar)

Professor Tougaw and my writing group have given me excellent suggestions as to how to progress with my paper, and I’m very thankful. My writing group is reassuring because they made my draft seem like less of a mess than I had thought it was, so I’m really grateful to them.

I agree with a lot of the feedback, and a lot of it mirrored the critiques I had given myself, which makes me feel like I have a fairly good understanding of where I currently am. Occasionally, the commentary conflicted with one another, leaving me slightly uncertain as to the status of certain things, but I guess that just means that it’s left up to my own discretion.

At the moment, I’m very overwhelmed by my paper. I haven’t really been able to look at it because I’m frustrated with it and can’t decide whether I should fix everything that’s wrong with it or if I should finish writing and then go back and mess around with it. I’m also mad that I don’t have a real thesis yet, because people keep asking me what my paper is on and I don’t have a short answer. I think I just need a week or so away from it before I can face it again.

So, as of now, I’ve been reading up on some primary sources for the topics I haven’t written yet. I hope to resume writing it sometime next week. I think I’m going to work on finishing a complete draft before I start fixing it, but I’m not really sure yet. I’m just happy to be done with finals, and I’m happy that we had these drafts due because it forced me to actually start writing the paper, instead of just thinking about it in theory.

So, happy holiday guys, and enjoy your vacation!

Research Updates

What progress have I made with my research paper? That’s a terrifying question to ask a week before it’s due. I don’t know what progress I’ve made. It’s finals week. I don’t even know if I’ve slept recently.

My strategy for this paper has been to take advantage of the fact that it’s only a rough draft due and just rant and hope for the best. My sources are definitely coming together, which is very exciting. My paper seems to actually be progressing well and I’m enjoying writing it. However…

My frustrations are as follows:

  • I constantly switch back and forth between worrying that I’m writing too much to worrying that I’m not going to have enough to talk about.
  • I’m sick of hearing myself talking. I want the paper to stop being so long, so I can stop talking in my paper.
  • I’m still missing a book, which makes me feel like I’m wasting my time because what if the book I’m missing is magical and needs to be weaved into every paragraph I already wrote?
  • I’m not so confident I have enough information on the aesthetics of horror and shockingly, on gothic literature itself? Like it’s really hard to find helpful sources on that (this is why I need that magical missing book).
  • I feel like my paper is structured weirdly.
  • I’m using a book by Stephen King and he talks so much. I’m almost as sick of hearing his voice, as I am mine.

I don’t think I write with a conscious awareness of Gaipa, Walk, Hayot’s strategies. I think my best and most helpful strategies right now are: try to write a little bit every night (even if it’s just a small paragraph), organize my thoughts, and try and make the paper easy to read (not dull). However, I’ve definitely been doing a lot of Gaipa’s piggybacking. I’m finding that helpful.

Nonetheless, I’m excited to see where this paper takes me and if I’ll emerge alive (I’m kidding. It’s really not that bad. I’m getting there).

Annotated Bibliography

Adler, E S, and R Clark. “Adolescence: A Literary Passage.” Adolescence 26.104 (1991): 757-768. MEDLINE Complete. Web.

Adler and Clark’s essay is more scientific rather literary. I will be using their analysis of the break down of the stages of adolescence. Additionally, their research help explain the effects of YA literature (specifically if it should be used as therapy, which tangentially can be applied to my essay). Through character development, they write how these coming of age novels allow young adults to express sympathy towards the children in the texts they read, which is an important development. I will leapfrog this essay by agreeing with the general points, but then pointing out flaws in their lack of desire to use the texts in therapeutic and scientific ways.

GOODYEAR, DANA. “Kid Goth.” New Yorker 85.46 (2010): 48. MasterFILE Complete. Web.

Goodyear’s paper is probably one of the strangest papers I have read for this research paper. The source is mainly a discussion of Gaiman’s odd life choices (written by a seemingly emo fangirl, who is in fact a middle aged lady). There is a brief section on Coraline that will be helpful to my paper. It’s an analytic summary and it concludes that after Coraline’s battles “there was nothing left about school that could scare her anymore” (2). This really ties in with what I’m trying to prove with my paper: after the child emerges from the portal s/he is more mature and able because her/his experiences have conditioned her/him. It would be cool to speak about the thin boundary that lies between writers and readers in the fantasy genre, but I’m not so sure that will tie in with my paper. I think I’ll be ass kissing for the most part, because most of what she says about Coraline is pretty standard and hard to disagree with.

Hintz, Carrie and Eric L Tribunella. Reading Children’s Literature. 1st ed., Boston, Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2013,.

Carrie Hintz and Eric L. Trubunella’s textbook is a lot less helpful than I had hoped. They provide a fantastic overview of children’s’ literature. Their work is stuffed with great definitions for important topics that I will be working with (genre, psychoanalytic approach to YA literature, the function of the home as a dangerous place, etc.). However, each topic only gets a brief paragraph, which doesn’t really give me so much to work with. Their text is a great starting point for basically every topic in my essay, but leaves a lot to be researched. I hope to piggyback their work by using their brief discussion as a foundation for my further discussions.

Kidd, Kenneth B. Freud In Oz. 1st ed., Minneapolis, University Of Minnesota Press, 2011,.

Professor suggested I look into Bruno Bettelheim’s The Use of Enchantment, but I haven’t gotten a chance to take the book out of the library yet. However, I found this book that quotes Bettelheim a lot and his approach to fairytales and it sounds like this book might be helpful in my research. It’s hard to really tell which side Bettelheim is on (which I acknowledge sounds weird, but the book keeps showing him representing fairytales both positively and negatively), so I hope to check out the book and take a look for myself. In theory, I would either be piggybacking or picking a fight, depending on his view.

MacAndrew, Elizabeth. The Gothic Tradition In Fiction. 1st ed., New York, Columbia University Press, 1979.

MacAndrew’s book will probably be the most helpful and thorough source I have found so far. Her book outlines the genre of horror, speaks about the history, discusses the artificiality of the worlds created (which ties in with my other sources on the uncanny), and the purity of the young heroes. These are all really important topics that will come up in my paper. She touches on the aesthetics of horror, which is great because I’m having trouble finding a good source on that and speaks about the darkness in the text (villains, destruction, etc.) I’m really excited to read her text more closely and apply the tropes she presents to my primary texts. I think I’ll be piggybacking her work by agreeing with it but then furthering it by applying it to my primary texts.

Mendlesohn, Farah. Rhetorics Of Fantasy. 1st ed., Middletown, Conn., Wesleyan University Press, 2008,.

Mendlesohn’s book is really exciting and really gives a thorough outline of portals. She discusses the themes of transition and exploration in conjunction with the portals and furthers by raising the importance of narration in the texts. She also speaks about important tropes like the (magical) guides molding the characters and the fact that it takes time to cross the portals. This will be extremely helpful because my paper will be discussing the function of portals. Therefore, I will be very much ass kissing. I suppose, in a way, I’ll also be piggybacking because I’ll be applying her thoughts to my own texts but pretty much Mendleshon has a monopoly on writing about portals in YA literature (based on my research) so whatever she says goes.

Michelle Pagni Stewart,. “Joseph Bruchac’s “Dark” Novels: Confronting The Terror Of Adolescence“. Studies In The Novel, vol 42, no. 1, 2010, pp. 84-98. Johns Hopkins University Press

In Stewart’s work she focuses on texts by Joseph Baruchac, but I’ll be ignoring that and focusing on her research around those books. The section on the uncanny will be most helpful for my paper. In this section she discusses horror-fiction and its strange appeal. Further, she discusses and compares the horror to the “horrors” young adults face with their changing bodies, hormones, and social groups. I will piggyback her essay by applying my own primary texts to her research in place of Baruchac’s works.

Rudd, David. “An Eye For An I: Neil Gaiman’s Coraline And Questions Of Identity.” Children’s Literature In Education 39.3 (2008): 159-168. Education Source. Web.

Rudd’s paper is very focused of Saussure and Lacan. I don’t think I want to use much of their theories because I think I have enough complexities going on in my paper. Rudd’s work does give a fantastic insight into the Freudian analysis of the uncanny, which is extremely important for my paper. I’m still debating how much Freud I want to apply to my paper, because I’m not such a fan of Freud’s psychoanalysis, but as expected if I chose to, Rudd provides a fair amount of Freudian-castration to Coraline. This work is also important because it gave me insight into the mother/daughter (father/son) relationships that I will need to analyze in my paper. I will definitely be piggybacking this work by applying my other two primary sources to Rudd’s analysis. If I chose to work with Freud I’ll probably be picking a fight.

I also think I might look into Victor Turner and Arnold van Gennep and their work on rites of passages. I vaguely remember it from an Anthropology class I took, but I’m not sure how helpful their work will actually be in application.


My ballroom diagram starts off with Professor Hintz, Elizabeth MacAndrew, and Farah Mendleshon at the bottom. Their works in YA literature, gothic fiction, and fantasy (respectively) set the foundation for my paper. They all pretty much have strong knowledge on their one field, except for Hintz, who thinks she knows everything. Stemming from their insights are my primary sources: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Coraline, and The Phantom Tollbooth. Coraline yields two specific works, David Rudd, who spends a great deal of his essay explaining Coraline via Freud, which is helpful because I care about the uncanny in my paper and Dana Goodyear, a strange lady who explains the functions of portals specifically in Coraline, but I will apply this to all my texts. Then we have Emily Adler and David Clark who build on Hintz by using science and explaining the psychological function of YA literature. Lastly, Michelle Pagni Stewart builds on both Hintz and MacAndrew by speaking about the plights of adolescence and the horror genre. The motivating moves I will be using are: 2- The knowledge on the topic has been heretofore limited, because there is very little work that discusses YA literature in conjunction with horror with a focus on the coming of age portal as a rite of passage convention, so I’ll be adding to that and 3-There’s a mystery or a puzzle that needs answering, because I hope to be exploring the aesthetics and the psychology of why people enjoy horror.