I have two term papers to write. One’s due on Monday, the other’s due on Tuesday. I have them planned out and outlined, but I’m getting stuck every five minutes or so writing the accursed things.
(To make matters worse, I really hate the topic for my English paper, which I have to give a freakin’ presentation on tomorrow. Sigh.)
Help me force myself to write this stuff. My English paper is on cockroaches and other such insects in literature and the reactions they provoke in humans. My freshman orientation paper is on the role “Enemies of the People” play in society.
For the ‘Enemies of the people’ one make up some stuff about the concept of ‘other’ and ‘self’ as pertains to society. Maybe throw in some liberal guilt stuff about how people tend to aggregate with people who resemble themselves and how that’s opposed to the spirit of diversity that made this country great!
I always loved playing to my professors perceived biases.
Ewwwwww. How did you get stuck with that?
Maybe your presentation should be barfing all over the professor.
My guess is you can’t just give some stupid facts about roaches, then what certain cultures think of them…like how a Japanese kitchen’s greatness is measured by the size of the roach, and an American kitchen’s dirtyness is measured by the same thing. Sorry, that’s all I got…how long does the paper need to be? I have to do a 5 pager on “Subliminal Human Mannerisms”, but that’s overly easy. Your topic just sucks…please don’t tell me you picked that.
Or for the “Enemies of the People” paper, point out how it causes advances in society because people don’t want to be behind their enemies…and any advantage they can get will be exploited, which is how many great, and many not so great things came about. And then throw in some bullcrap on how it give people a sense of importance in life and it makes them feel better about themselves because as far as they know and were taught, they are doing the good thing and the “enemies” are doing the bad things. Oooh, I like it…It makes people feel accepted, so therefore they are more productive and thus more profitable…wow…what an easy paper.
For the bug one, I’d source “Silence of the Lambs,” where Lecter pretty much tells you what the moths in the throats mean.
If you don’t get your ass in gear, [really mean voice]I’M GONNA KICK YER SORRY STICKIN’ BUTT SO HARD YOUR GRANDKIDS’LL BE BORN DIZZY! YOU FILTHY ROTTEN SACK OF PUTRID PHLEGM, MY GRANDMOMMA CAN WRITE BETTER THAN YOU, AND SHE’S 92! DID YOUR MOMMA HAVE ANY KIDS THAT LIVED? HUH? WHAT? I CAN’T HEAR YOU! SOUND OFF LIKE YOU GOT A PAIR! DON’T LOOK AT ME! IF YOU DON’T GET THAT PAPER DONE YOU’VE KILLED YOUR WHOLE CLASS! CAN YOU LIVE WITH THAT? I DIDN’T THINK SO. DON’T ANSWER ME! WHAT? I CAN’T HEAR YOU! GET BACK, DO IT AGAIN! THE BEST PART OF YOUR WRITING SKILLS DRIBBLED DOWN YOUR DADDY’S LEG! WHY ARE YOU LOOKING AT ME? DO YOU WANT TO SLEEP WITH MY SISTER? IS THAT IT? YOU WANT TO SCREW MY SISTER! WELL, GOSH-DARN, YOU. WELCOME TO THE FREAKIN FAMILY! I GUESS THIS MAKES US BUDDIES. DO YOU WANT TO BE MY BUDDY? DO YOU? HUH? SCUMBAG? YOU WANNA SIT DOWN AND HAVE A BEER WITH ME? IS THAT IT? YEAH, THAT MUST BE IT! YOU WANNA SIT DOWN AND HAVE A BEER WITH ME! ARE YOU A PERVERT? HUH? DON’T CALL ME SIR, I WORK FOR A LIVING! YOU BETTER GIT YER ASS OUTTA MY BROWSER AND GET POUNDING MY KEYS FOR MY PAPER THAT YOU’RE GONNA GET DONE. DID YOU UNDERSTAND EVEN ONE FREAKIN WORD I’VE SAID? DID YOU? HUH?[/really mean voice]
Hey it worked for me!
Unfortunately, I DID pick that.
This topic DOES suck. I had no ideas, it was the night before I was supposed to pick something, so I figured “Hell, I liked The Metamorphosis and I liked this other story that had some roaches in it, so I’ll write my paper on… uh… both of them.” Goddamn, this is slow going.
I fucking HATE IT when somebody says “Okay, write on whatever you want.”
Like WHAT??? As though I’m supposed to pull two pieces of literature and one piece of art completely out of my ass and have them magically illustrate some wonderful theme? This sucks.
Believe it or not, there’s an article called “From Archie to archie,” that addresses this very topic. (I don’t remember who the authors are, but there should be some literature or criticism database in which you could search by article title.)
A book by Richard Schweid called The Cockroach Papers: a Compendium of History and Lore has some questionable information about cockroach biology but is chock-full of cockroach-related cultural history and quotes from various literary sources.
A search on the Cultural Entomology Digest On-Line will probably churn up more information on roachy writing than you’ll ever get through.
You could look up articles and books by May Berenbaum, an entomologist who’s written a lot of sharp, lightly written, easy-to-read and fun to peruse pieces about insects in popular culture. I don’t know if any of her stuff specifically addresses cockroaches in literature, but I do know she’s covered insects in movies and in popular music (Anyone out there remember the Dr. Demento classic, “The Cockroach that Ate Cincinnati”?)
Last but not least–I second the advice to GET OFF THE BOARDS ALREADY. (Not that I’m taking my own advice, mind you; I’ve got tons of stuff I need to have done by tomorrow, and look at how I’m spending my time.)
Best of luck with your paper and presentation.
I should have known that lots of other people would have posted during the time I was working on my post to this thread.
All of the sources I listed in my last post are for the “cockroaches and other insects” project.
I hope that clears that up.
Incidentally–I just thought of this–have you ever read Nabakov’s essay on the identity of Kafka’s insect in The Metamorphosis? He holds that Gregor Samsa turns into a giant dung beetle and not into a roach. (Incidentally, there’s a great allusion to The Metamorphosis in C.S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters.)
If the “other insects” your prof is interested in (or is willing to accept writing on) include butterflies, you’re home free with a quick study of Nabakov’s writing.
In his compilation “Picnic, Lightning”, Billy Collins has a poem called “Japan.” It’s inspired by a haiku that contains an image of a moth on a massive temple bell.
Ogden Nash had a poem about ants. (I don’t remember the title of the poem or the work in which it appears, but I do remember the lines, “Would you be calm and placid/ If you were filled with formic acid?”)
If you’re allowed to use contemporary popular fiction, you could talk about William Gibson’s (I’m not a particularly big Gibson fan, but, hey, it’s a quick read and would make for a pretty easy analysis) Neuromancer. (Yeah, I know; cyberpunk is past its heyday.) Images of cities and of overarching corporations as beehives are used over and over again. Some insect-like descriptions are made of individual characters, too.
All right. Now it’s back to work for both of us.
“The Metamorphosis” is a high quality story. I’m a little concerned about the father’s KEEN interest in his daughter’s newly developed breasts, but other than that, it is not at all bad.
But you’re stupid for picking that.
Moronmountain, Daowajan didn’t say that she had picked The Metamorphosis for her analysis. I merely told her about a somewhat obscure essay that she might be interested in, if she were to pick that story as her topic.
And why would The Metamorphosis be such a stupid choice? It’s considered a modern literary classic, if nothing else.
Thanks so much for the links… but unfortunately, I’ve nailed down my three works and have to stick with them.
Damn. I should have posted this topic here when I first got it. My subject wouldn’t suck half as badly.
I am about halfway through my crappy first draft! I am a big believer in crappy first drafts. Then I explain some crap tomorrow morning, write my Enemies of the People essay tomorrow afternoon/night, revise the two all weekend, and I just might be fine.
Ok. I goofed. (Do we have a blithering idiot smilie?)
It somehow didn’t stick that Dao had chosen to write about The Metamorphosis. But I still don’t think that choice was dumb.
Argh! Freakin’ simulposts!
Good luck on your paper. I bet you’ll do just fine.
I’m done with my draft!
And it’s crap, but I have enough material to present on tomorrow and fill up 15 minutes. I can use my rough draft as my lecture notes.
Besides, I think I found a direction I can go in with this essay that won’t be too painful.
God, this class. As my dad would say, “It’s been a constant hemorrhoid in my life” during these past few months. I will be so glad when it ends. Our final paper is due a week from Tuesday, and then the sonofbitch is done with.
Go look at porn. Go look at porn until it has stopped being porn and has become ridiculous. Until your brain wants to dribble out of your ears.
Then write. Porn overload always helps me focus.