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Humanities Abstracts



Humanities Example Abstracts




Symbolism in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Symbolism is a subtle way to reveal the underlying theme of a literary work, for it connects an ordinary object in a story to a broader concept outside of the story. The unknown author of the late fourteenth-century romance, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, uses symbolism to connect objects associated with Sir Gawain to his character as a means of revealing the flaws in the reader’s preexisting concept of what defines the perfect knight. As the representation of Gawain’s identity changes focus from the pentangle displayed on Gawain’s shield to Lady Bertilak’s girdle, a shift that marks his choosing of the material, temporal world over the eternal, spiritual realm, the reader discovers that there is a rift between man’s desire to be perfect and man’s actual imperfection. The symbols in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight are unique because, like Sir Gawain, they are dynamic and hold different meanings by the end of the poem than when they are first introduced.


The Significance of Epic Epithets in Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey

One of the most important yet overlooked conventions in epic poetry is the epithet, a word or phrase that the poet ties to important places, things, gods, and heroes. The epithet is one convention employed by the poet Homer in his 8th-century BC epics the Iliad and Odyssey.  Through the use of the epithet, Homer offers important information about characters, places, and things, while enhancing his oral delivery and developing character for the stories themselves.  This strategy is significant to the success of his work, as it allows the audience to connect with key characters and places, ultimately bringing them to critique the cultural ideals they embody.  Homer also uses epithets to demonstrate artistic merit, namely his ability to make a story come alive.  


Learning and Acquisition of L2 (Second Language) at the High School level in Lufkin, TX

Lufkin High School bases its second language classes mainly on book-taught materials, starting with grammatical knowledge then moving to the acquisition of verbal language. In this paper, I will argue that students are more likely to learn the second language if they are immersed in the language before learning the grammatical foundation of the language, and therefore, I will introduce a different approach that is not currently used in Lufkin High School but that has been used in schools around the world. My approach focuses on “total immersion,” where the teacher speaks to students in the second language at all times until students have a basic understanding. Once the fundamental building blocks have been established the teacher will proceed to teaching the grammatical aspects of a language.


Torture: Is it Effective? Should We Care?

In the aftermath of the 11 September 2001 attack on the World Trade Center in New York City, the United States authorized both the direct torture, and through extraordinary rendition, the indirect torture of U.S. held prisoners. The debate on this issue, when it finally came, focused almost exclusively on the effectiveness of torture to gain intelligence. Rather than question whether or not it works, in this paper, I ask, “what are the long-term consequences to our soldiers—to both those who are doing the torturing, and those in the future who must live with its legacy?” Ultimately this paper will explore the following question: “if we are willing to torture, then are we any better than those we condemn and fight?”


Differential Social Power: Positive and Negative Stereotyping--Illegal Immigrants' Overriding Status over African American Job Seekers

The purpose of this paper is not to ask if illegal immigration is hurting African Americans, but to research why illegal immigrant jobseeker status has apparently risen above that of low-skilled African American citizens and is now trickling up the employment chain. With millions of Mexican nationals illegally entering the U.S. looking for work, many employers have given them status over law-abiding African American jobseekers. As seen in Devah Pager’s research on the effects of a criminal record on white and black jobseekers, my research finds that employers base their hiring practices on stereotyping by unreservedly employing illegal immigrants as day laborers about whom they know nothing, while being very skeptical of African American day laborers about whom they also know nothing.  While my study was small, the implications are far-reaching; blacks already having a minority status, and this trend results in harsh consequences such as disproportionate unemployment, poverty, and higher crime which, in turn, leads to higher incarceration.


From Pew to Pulpit:  Religious Women Who Shaped American History

Religious authority eluded masses of women throughout much of American history.  Men were free to dominate their church hierarchies and set rules of conduct for parishioners, while women were admonished not to question religious authority or assert their own voices in a public forum.  Though historically outnumbering men in church congregations, very few American women rose to become church leaders or religious visionaries.  This project examines the lives of four women who became religious pioneers despite numerous obstacles.  It examines the many difficulties they faced and the important contributions they made.  These women not only forged individual paths in religious history, but also influenced American history on a broader spectrum.


Accurate Self Portrayal Within the World of Mass Multiplayer Online Role-playing Games

Massively multiplayer online role-playing games (M.M.O.R.P.G.s) are not only a billion-dollar industry, but they are quickly becoming a prime means of communication and interaction for millions of people. Because many of the relationships formed within the game are done so behind the veil of the fantasy characters and avatars, anonymity may be utilized to preen personal identity or to deceive. This poster presentation explores how accurately people depict themselves in their fantasy characters and shows results from interviews conducted with World of Warcraft players. While almost all players surveyed recorded that they were often given to exaggerations, about one-third were likely to often purposely lie, and all had purposely lied at sometime within the game. These results reveal implications for online interactions when face-to-face interactions are replaced with avatars and instant messaging.



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