Career Development Center presentation–Notes

Where do I go to learn about grad school? Is there anywhere that will help me get a job? Is there a center that will help me write my resume? I want to study abroad. Where should I go to learn more? The answer to all these questions is the Career Center in Pratt Hall at IUP. Friday, April 15, 2011, Dr. Powers English 122 class was presented with material pertaining to the Career Center and what they do on a daily basis for the students of IUP.

The Career Center is not only helpful to obtain information about grad school, future jobs, resume writing, and studying abroad. The center will also help students develop their interview skills and help them find a job on campus.

One that was focused upon was finding a job after graduation. Many websites are provided on the Career Center website that assists students in finding a job. The students were told that SIC codes (standard industry classification) codes are important to have. SIC codes are codes for different professions. For example, if a person is looking for publication jobs, they would use a SIC code to look for other publication job opportunities. This code will bring the searcher to a ton of publishing companies searching for applicants.

This information particularly caught my attention. I realized how many opportunities there are for an English major. When I decided to enter college and declare my major as English, I figured there was a difficult search for a job in my future if I didn’t teach. Because of this presentation, I have changed my mind from teaching to what I have always dreamed of—writing and publishing. The SIC code and website databases brought my mind to changing major focus because I realized there are more opportunities than teaching in the English profession.

Information the Career Center provides serves as a savior and handy tool for students at IUP. The center provides information and services (mock interviews) that are handy for all students. Without the Career Center, students would have a much harder time obtaining the information they are searching for. I am glad we had this presentation because I would have never known where to obtain the information it provides otherwise.

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Presentation Commentary: Shayna Lyle–Vampire Literature

Eighteenth century through present day, vampires have had an upfront appearance in literature. From romance and “chick lit,” to gothic horrors, vampires have dominated literature though out the centuries. Shayna Lyle presented various examples of the modern and historic vampire and the literary work they are presented in.

“Bride of the Corinth,” by Goethe, and “Christabel,” by Coleridge are two examples of works of vampires in the eighteenth century. While “Bride of the Corinth” focuses on the cross between romance and gothic vampirism, “Christabel” is focused on the gothic theme that seems to distract reader’s attention from the symbolism and lesbianism the poem entails.  

Camilla, by Le Fanu, Dracula’s Guest, by Bram Stoker, and Dracula, by Bram Stoker, are examples of vampire literature in the nineteenth century. All three novels take vampires from a dark and gothic light and thrust them into a new light where they are presented with the vintage gothic theme, converged with new romantic themes. Vampires were no longer only dark, horrifying demons who steal away souls, but have depth. For example, Dracula doesn’t want to suck the blood of his victims, but needs to in order to survive. He also has empathy for his victims, who all happen to be women. Of course blood is phallic symbol for seamen and he is not sucking the women’s blood, but having sex with them stealing their purity, not their souls. Dracula is known to have been based on Goethe’s “Bride of the Corinth.”

La Guerre des Vampires, by Gustave Le Rouge, I Am Legend, by Matheson, and The Hunger, by Strieber are all examples of vampire literature in the twentieth century. Adapted from previous versions of vampires, vampire literature in the twentieth century kick it up a notch by incorporating other “life” forms, such as zombies, into the gothic theme. For example, I Am Legend is a novel bringing awareness to “worldwide apocalypse,” and disease. All three bring in other forms to bring awareness to issues in reality. All three have goals that the authors want their readers to understand, whether consciously or unconsciously.

Southern Vampire Mysteries, Anita Blake: Vampire-Hunter, Carpathian, and Twilight are all examples of vampire literature from the twenty-first century. The “modern” vampire doesn’t even seem to be adapted from the vintage vampire. The gothic theme of vampire literature seems to have disappeared. Instead of vampires terrifying innocent women, they have a sex-appeal that lures them in. not only are they attractive, the victims know that they are vampires, and continue to peruse a relationship with them. Anti-religious vampires no longer exist in the way they used to, with them cowering in the corner in the sight of a cross. Now, vampires hang huge wooden crosses in their homes. These are only a few examples from the modern vampires found in Twilight, compared to the historic vampire found in any literature before the twentieth century.

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*fixed* Student Presentation Commentary: Alyssa Altman–From Villian to Hero

Vampires used to parish at the sight of a cross or at the presence of the host. Vampires used to be dark, terrifying creatures that would stalk about during the night hunting for their next victim. They were portrayed as heartless, fearless, frightful creatures. Today, vampires hang crosses in their homes, are religious, feed on animal blood instead of human blood, and they are portrayed as drop-dead sexy people who’s skin tends to sparkle.

Alyssa Altman presented these examples of modern and the historical vampire to the class. Her presented information pertained to the history of vampires, why they were so popular, how they were portrayed, and how they have changed throughout time and why. One reason she explained that the idea of vampires have changed is due to the emphasis on the church in modern culture. I interpreted that since the importance of church and religion was on a decline throughout history, it didn’t play as large of a role in society. Back when Dracula was written, the host and crucifix would scare Dracula and all other vampires away because during that time period, the church was important, but on a decline. One of the goals of this novel was to increase popularity of the church by scaring the readers into believing religion is the only way so save their soul from evil, in this case, walking the night feeding on innocent children.

Altman’s presentation brought me to conclude that literature, specifically Dracula, was written with a purpose, and that purpose being to support the church, religion, and to revitalize the importance of both in the lives of the people when Dracula was published.

Altman’s presentation focused on modern teen-series Twilight and classic Dracula. Through her comparisons, she presented detailed examples of vampires throughout history and answered my questions regarding the change in appearance of vampires and the change in perspective of the readers reading about vampires.

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Student Presentation Commentary: Alyssa Altman–From Villain to Hero

Vampires used to parish at the sight of a cross or at the presence of the host. Vampires used to be dark, terrifying creatures that would stalk about during the night hunting for their next victim. They were portrayed as heartless, fearless, frightful creatures. Today, vampires hang crosses in their homes, are religious, feed on animal blood instead of human blood, and they are portrayed as drop-dead sexy people who’s skin tends to sparkle.

Alyssa Altman presented these examples of modern and the historical vampire to the class. Her presented information pertained to the history of vampires, why they were so popular, how they were portrayed, and how they have changed throughout time and why. One reason she explained that the idea of vampires have changed is due to the emphasis on the church in modern culture. Since the importance of church and religion has been on a decline through history, it doesn’t play as large of a role in society. Back when Dracula was written, the host and crucifix would scare Dracula and all other vampires away because during that time period, the church was important, but on a decline. One of the goals of this novel was to increase popularity of the church by scaring the readers into believing religion is the only way so save their soul from evil, in this case, walking the night feeding on innocent children.

Altman’s presentation focused on modern teen-series Twilight and classic Dracula. Through her comparisons, she presented detailed examples of vampires throughout history and answered my questions regarding the change in appearance of vampires and the change in perspective of the readers reading about vampires.

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Dr. Mardson’s Presentation: Law

Law in literature, law as literature—literature is everywhere, yet people still question why law majors sometimes double major with English. John Mardson presented connections between literature and law and explained to the class why it is important for lawyers and law related job holders understand literature and it’s correlation with law.

First, to give his audience an idea of how literature was connected to law, he put on a skit between a lawyer and an offender.  He asked his audience (jury) what their verdict would be. To make a verdict the jury had to take in many considerations. Metaphors, similes, perspective, and setting all come in to play. It interested me how he combined simple literary techniques with law. For example, setting and perspective was no longer things we consider in literature but seem to leap off the page and plopped into a court room. Setting is important to analyze a crime. Perspective is important too, which is why on any case there are multiple witnesses and points of view.

To apply literature and techniques, Mardson presented a poem called “Law Like Love.” This poem presented law in many perspectives. For example, law to gardeners is the sun, law is wisdom of the old, and law to judges is the law. The stanza that caught my attention begins: “Yet law-abiding scholars write; law is neither wrong nor right, law is only crimes punished by places and by times, law is the clothes man wear anytime, anywhere, law is Good-morning and Good-night.” This caught my attention because it says law is up to interpretation. Literature is up to interpretation.

I was one of those people who continuously questioned law and English double majors. Although law doesn’t appeal t me and would not change my major or consider a double major with law, Mardson’s presentation did open my eyes to the connection between literature and law.

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Romance Roots: Drcula review (Parts 1 and 2)

Romance Roots: Dracula (Part 1) review:

“Romance Roots: Dracula (Part 1)” is a blog entry that focuses on an interview between the author of the blog, Jessica, with her husband, Stephan M. Miller, Ph.D, F.R. Hist.S. regarding Dracula and its British Empire background.

            The first question Jessica asks regards imperial characteristics in the novel. Her husband states that the novel can be, and also isn’t at the same time. Growths such as railroad building and improvements of transportation in general should not be looked into. He believes that Stoker, the author of Dracula, merely includes details regarding transportation improvements to “set up” the novel, and does not expand upon it.

            At the time this novel was written, several wars were going on between Britain and Africa and Islam. When Jews and Slovaks are included in Dracula, there are no character descriptions. Miller concluded that Stoker left those out because “the British public held certain beliefs about the followers of Islam, most of which today we would consider prejudicial and inaccurate.”

            The second question Jessica asks regards churches. She wonders why people were not as focused on church. Miller responded by stating that the influence of the Church of England over British society was declining, but was still important to the middle class. I saw references of such when Harker was leaving a hotel before he ventured to Castle Dracula. One woman approached him and begged him not to go, when he refused to stay, she gave him a crucifix to protect him, a symbol of religion.

            Another question regarded Mina. Jessica understood that Seward represented a scientific view, when Val Helsing represented a spiritual openness, Arthur represented the “pure knight of Old England,” and Morris represented the “fresh fighting, innovative spirit from the New World. Jessica wondered, what about Mina? She wondered if she represented the ideal “Victorian woman.” Her husband disagreed because Mina is a strong character. He declared her to be more of a powerful woman, the kind that would later “take to the streets to fight for the vote.” I automatically referred back to feminism and the feminism theory when I read this. Mina is a strong, powerful character. She carries traits much like that of a man in a patriarchal society. Because of these traits, I agree with Miller, there is no way Mina can represent the Victorian women back in the day when they represented the ideal in the patriarchal society. Mina represents the complete opposite.

“Romance Roots: Dracula (Part 2)” review:   

            Part 2 of Jessica’s blog, “Romance Roots: Dracula,” mainly concerns the text and her reactions to it. Firstly, Jessica reacts to the type of writing in Dracula. She notices that the majority of the text is composed of letters and journal entries. What annoys her is how obsessed the characters seem to be with writing, even to the point of writing about writing. Jessica responds to this with “WTF,” which I feel is a little harsh. When I write in my journal, I often find myself writing about why I am writing, so I feel that it is normal. Perhaps Stoker decided to include this in his novel to relate to the readers.

            Secondly, Jessica puts Mina’s position in the “Scooby gang” in context. Basically, Mina is kicked out of the group searching for Dracula because she is a woman. The others in the group, all men and suitors of Lucy, know she is bull-headed, but understand she is a woman who needn’t be in the business of a man, aka hunting and killing. When taken into context, this is a very patriarchal, “ideal woman” view of Mina. When Mina is doing all she can in researching, logging, and hunting for Dracula, the “man” who doomed the spirit of her close friend, Lucy, the suitors of Lucy, all men, try to take it all away by kicking her out of the group.

            In relation, the suitors do not think that Mina could be in the same situation as Lucy, even though she sleep-walks and is continuously exhausted—exactly how Lucy was! The men did not think Mina could be an object of Dracula because she is powerful, and hold the same traits as a man, making her unattractive and not an object of Dracula, who is portrayed as a man.

            Another topic Jessica covered in her blog was “bloodsucking=sex, blood=semen.” This is one example she used from the novel: “When the blood began to spurt out, he took my hands in one off his, holding them tight, and with the other seized my neck and pressed my mouth to the wound, so that I must either suffocate or swallow some of the – Oh my God, my God! What have I done?” When relating this excerpt to the bloodsucking is symbolic for sex, and blood is symbolic for semen ideal, it becomes very sexual and graphic. With this simple relation, it then becomes more obvious that there is a sexual intent behind most of the novel. The gothic vampire setting then becomes more relatable. Dracula can be related to the alpha male, which is prevalent in everyday life—every man thinks they are the alpha, making Dracula relatable. Because of this, I feel that an average reader can read Dracula two ways: 1. Dracula can be read as a scary, horror and gothic novel of a vampire who feeds on the “innocent” on order to survive, or 2. More in depth—relating the vampire to an actual man sexually preying on “innocent women,” along with other double standards and relations.

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Linguistics Presentation

Rhetoric, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, and psycholinguistics are all part of the linguistics track in the English major at IUP. In the presentation, all of these parts of linguistics were discussed in detail. I learned that the point of studying linguistics is to learn, and be interested in what people do with language.

What do people do with language? Poems are one example of how people use language. In the presentation, I enjoyed the use of “To His Coy Mistress” to explain the use of rhetoric in different forms of literature. For example, we discussed the importance of transitions such as “therefore,” and “by.” We first learned what rhetoric was: a more advanced study of language; “part of the Tritium.” This refers to grammar, rhetoric, and logic. We then applied this to the poem, “To His Coy Mistress.”

Out of all of the different parts f linguistics we discussed, I found phonology the most interesting. Based on symbols of the phonemic alphabet, phonology, or the study of how sounds actively function and are patterned in language, appeals to me because of words in general. When I was younger I always wondered what language was, why we understood it, and how they were composed. Why are words what they are? Why do we understand these compact sounds we call words? Why do we understand these complexities of words we call sentences? Or even languages? I was always curios how and why words were formed and why they were the way they were. Phonology is appealing to me and always has been.

Therefore, this part of the presentation was especially interesting to me. Throughout the presentation on linguistics, I learned many parts of the linguistics track and what it involved. Before I understood little regarding linguistics, now, after the presentation, I understand more of what is involved and have found that is appealing.

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