Friday, February 15, 2008

1001 books you must read before you die

My mom recently bought me a book listing "1001 books you must read before you die." I flipped through the pages, marking off each title I had already read and the circumstances under which I had read it (Summer 2006 France, Fall 2007 Faulkner Class, etc). Surprisingly, I had only read 41 books on the list, so that leaves me with 960 books left to read. Assuming I'm going to live into my 80s, that means I'll have to read around 16 books a year to finish the list "before I die." Thankfully, I received several books that are on the list for Christmas, now I just need to find some time to actually read for pleasure.

I'm currently working on a second draft of a paper I'm writing on Martin Scorsese. I sent my abstract to an Undergraduate Research Conference and I was so excited that it was accepted, but now that means I actually have to finish the damn thing (a daunting task). Have you ever started writing something but you get stuck because you have so much to say and you don't know where to start? Yeah, that's what I'm currently experiencing. Thankfully, I wrote a first draft before Christmas, so I have a good nine pages of content so far. I just need to remember to stay focused, it's easy to get off track when you're writing about something for which you feel passionately. This is my abstract:

Martin Scorsese's collective works have impacted the cinematic world on an international level, and yet there have been few substantial discussions of Scorsese as an auteur. Spanning over three decades of his film career, the gangster trilogy of Mean Streets, Goodfellas, and The Departed focuses on brotherhood and the Roman Catholic concepts of guilt and redemption. These films are not only an expression of his signature cinematic style, but also provide a clear progression of his skills as both screenwriter and director. Contemporary film critics like Lawrence Friedman and Lesley Stern agree that Scorsese's passion for history and authenticity has led him to adopt a realistic, documentary style. Scorsese's approach to gangster life makes it accessible to the viewer, especially through his redemptive characters. In each corresponding film, these characters serve as mediators, referees in the inherent violence of gangster life. For each of these redeeming characters, there is a mirrored dark partner. Carl Jung's notion of the shadow will be used to show how these personae function in the framework of Scorsese's mob culture. This paper will also be interested in the concept of male-bonding and fraternal relationships in the way that Scorsese erases domestic life and replaces it with fraternal life. Sigmund Freud's theories on anxiety as well as his thoughts on obsessive actions and religious practices will be important to the analysis of Scorsese's films. Additionally, there will be a discussion of group psychology--or “mob” mentality--and its role in creating these characters and Scorsese's glimpse of the underside of America.

Lately I've been reading a lot of Freud for the psychoanalytic section of my paper. I secretly want someone to approach me in the library, "Oh, hi Nicolle, what are you reading?" so I can nonchalantly raise my eyes from my thick Freud Reader, "This? Oh, it's just Freud. You know." But of course no one asks.

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