[When we last left this exciting series, I had just explained how I had been attempting to drag old literature into modern times for the first two years of my university career. Now, let’s see how the past year has influenced me.]

Why I’m Writing a Thesis About Battlestar Galactica:

Part Two

The Spark of the Baskervilles

I was in Dr. Stewart’s 19th Century literature class when I first realized that I had a serious problem on my hands. These classic novels, some more interesting than others, have been taught a certain way for decades. Dr. Stewart knew how he had taught them for his many years, and I appreciated his take on the material. However, for whatever reason, every single novel evoked some sort of pop cultural representation for me. Without fail, each and every text became a parallel into my own time as opposed to simply a text reflecting its own period. The text had taken on new meaning, and I felt like I had gained a new understanding of it.

This was no more evident than within the work of Arthur Conan Doyle and his creation, Sherlock Holmes. In what Dr. Stewart called “Dragging [him] into the 20th century,” I insisted on writing a paper which discussed the Hound of the Baskervilles in the context of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. This wasn’t the only parallel I found: I also discovered that Scooby Doo is basically a wholesale ripoff of the basic structure of Conan Doyle’s work, and that these mystery themes persisted long beyond the original writings. What was it about Holmes that ignited this spark, this fire that led to these themes becoming so prevalent that a contemporary, highly rated TV show uses them as a basis upon which it operates? What was it about Conan Doyle’s writings that has sparked a procedural forensics construct so prevalent within modern television?

And so, then, my mind turned back to what I had analyzed before: if medieval literature had already yielded two presentations worth of material, was there something more I could analyze? In choosing a Thesis topic, I wanted to be able to grasp onto something that could benefit me down the line. For me, in terms of “future employment”, I don’t really know what I wish to do…but I kind of like blogging. No, not as an actual career, but the analysis portions of it. Viewing TV through a critical lens has been both personally fulfilling and generally kind of fun; combining that with my appreciation for higher learning and scholarly methods seems, in my view, to be a good fit. Of course, then, this would require some form of further education, and therefore this Thesis becomes even more important.

Because, really, a basic English thesis wouldn’t be all that interesting to me. While research and theory and all of this are all extremely interesting, simply applying them to literature seems far too…simplistic. While I know there’s all sorts of room for range and depth, I do not see myself simply heading forward in the area of “English” from this point forward. As a result, I want to craft an undergraduate thesis that reflects that fact. And thus my mind begins turning to the combination of literary and pop cultural analysis. This opens up all sorts of doors…but some of them contain man-eating tigers.

I’ve realized this as I’ve considered this Thesis more closely. My fear, and I think the fear of any professor who would hear the ideas I come up with, is that I shall fall too heavily on the side of pop culture and fail to actually address the literary qualities of the topic at hand. I have done my best to avoid this, but it will remain a primary concern for the remainder of this process.

And, in the process of all of this soul-searching, a topic emerged. It is a topic that was initially met with laughter, followed by a concession, and then followed by (I presume) a period of anxiety over what might come of it. Some have, perhaps, hoped I would change my mind… but I haven’t. And, well I don’t think I’m going to.

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