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Thread: Dissertation Advice

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    Smile Dissertation Advice

    Hey This is my first post ever and I feel a bit ridiculous considering it is my first post and already I'm asking for something. I just need a little advice on my dissertation. My supervisor has edited my thesis argument to be about The Last Man theme in I am Legend, 1984 and Childhood's End. Unfortunately I am nclear what I am arguing about and how to progress. Is this a strong statement? Or stringing together of fairly similar texts with no distinct line of argument? Or am I being blind sided and missing something really interesting. I am debating changing it to something with The Picture of Dorian Grey but I am running out of time to change it.


    Any help would be appreciated

    x

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    This reader has seen these kinds of posts from high school students, college students (mostly) and even a few wayward graduate students asking about their Masters thesis. But a dissertation? At that level you can't even go to SparkNotes, because you are now the one who writes the SparkNotes.

    Good lord; good luck.









    J

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    All are at the crossroads qimissung's Avatar
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    It sounds interesting. The question is-does it interest you? If so, I would suggest proceeding.
    "The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its' own reason for existing." ~ Albert Einstein
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    Registered User Calidore's Avatar
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    IIRC, none of those three books is especially long. Have you read them? Just doing that might get you started.
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    confidentially pleased cacian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lisa-Marie View Post
    Hey This is my first post ever and I feel a bit ridiculous considering it is my first post and already I'm asking for something. I just need a little advice on my dissertation. My supervisor has edited my thesis argument to be about The Last Man theme in I am Legend, 1984 and Childhood's End. Unfortunately I am nclear what I am arguing about and how to progress. Is this a strong statement? Or stringing together of fairly similar texts with no distinct line of argument? Or am I being blind sided and missing something really interesting. I am debating changing it to something with The Picture of Dorian Grey but I am running out of time to change it.


    Any help would be appreciated

    x
    Hi Lisa I don't get what you are actually asking.
    What is the strong statement? You have not outlined it.
    I would say if you are to do the three books then may be you should try and find a running theme in the three stories that could be the link between the three stories.
    Each storie has a running theme a plot or a character that is similar in all three and also different.
    Then maybe considering how the plot is resolved in all three. are they similar or different.
    And then maybe look at the beginning of each story .Find the link/similarity in all three in terms of tone words ideas.
    Then talk about the ends of each story. Was it what you expected.
    May be say which end did you like best least and not at all and say why.
    You could also say which story you liked best and why.
    Try and flesh out a character that you liked out of the three and say why you like him or her best and not the other two.
    Or maybe you like all three characters from each story because the all link through something they do or are.
    Your conclusion would be to perhaps write a fourth story using these characters.
    Explain how you would go about it.
    I hope this helped.
    To recap find similarities differences beginning ends and characters like and dislikes. You are to bring the three stories together under one similar idea and apart under one different idea. It could love hatred deception politics and so on.
    Characters similarities and differences through their personalities how they come cross what they say etc.
    Conclude on describing a maybe a fourth story as a result of the three stories by using a character each from each book.
    Last edited by cacian; 10-29-2012 at 04:07 AM.
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    Registered User kelby_lake's Avatar
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    There isn't an argument. You're comparing three books with each other. I guess you're trying to argue a link between them but you haven't suggested any.

    A dissertation might be something like "the symbol of the sea in Shakespeare's work" (phrased better of course). It talks about something specific.

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    confidentially pleased cacian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kelby_lake View Post
    There isn't an argument. You're comparing three books with each other. I guess you're trying to argue a link between them but you haven't suggested any.

    A dissertation might be something like "the symbol of the sea in Shakespeare's work" (phrased better of course). It talks about something specific.
    Hi Kelby I am interested in this if I may interrupt.
    The symbol of the sea in Shakespeare's work. Do you mean to say the Tempest?
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    Registered User kelby_lake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cacian View Post
    Hi Kelby I am interested in this if I may interrupt.
    The symbol of the sea in Shakespeare's work. Do you mean to say the Tempest?
    The Tempest of course but we also have quite a few shipwrecks. I think Pericles is the ultimate sea play of Shakespeare's.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lisa-Marie View Post
    My supervisor has edited my thesis argument to be about The Last Man theme in I am Legend, 1984 and Childhood's End. Unfortunately I am unclear what I am arguing about and how to progress. Is this a strong statement?
    In relation to 1984, the only one I've read, the statement seems strong in the sense that Winston Smith represents the last survivor from a bygone era when men were more or less free agents.

    In Oceania under Big Brother, freedom is almost snuffed out apart from Winston and, perhaps, a scattered handful of others. The rest of the 'resistance' have, like Julia, no memory of the time when men were left to think for themselves, and little concept of freedom in the face of highly effective propaganda. At the start of the novel, Winston stands at the brink of dark ages expected to last millennia: a time when men and women will be no more human than that pathetic young couple in the Chestnut Tree Cafe at the end of the novel.

    Is that where our world is headed, and are we too blind to recognise a tiny remnant: a last man? Or is the perceived freedom of that earlier time essentially a mirage?
    "Love does not alter the beloved, it alters itself"

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    Registered User kelby_lake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lisa-Marie View Post
    Hey This is my first post ever and I feel a bit ridiculous considering it is my first post and already I'm asking for something. I just need a little advice on my dissertation. My supervisor has edited my thesis argument to be about The Last Man theme in I am Legend, 1984 and Childhood's End. Unfortunately I am nclear what I am arguing about and how to progress. Is this a strong statement? Or stringing together of fairly similar texts with no distinct line of argument? Or am I being blind sided and missing something really interesting. I am debating changing it to something with The Picture of Dorian Grey but I am running out of time to change it.


    Any help would be appreciated

    x
    What do you think the link between your books is and then people can discuss whether it is a strong statement or not?

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    Thank you guys! I really appreciate the feedback. The running link between all three is meant to be that they stand alone in their world for one reason or another i.e. Winston Smith tries to remember his life before, enjoys sexual intercourse for reasons other than to reproduce (interestingly I read a dissertation about just reproduction and its constraints in 1984, thought it was very intriguing). And in I am Legend how Robert is the last remaining human who has not been infected in the world until a new form of human takes over with an antidote but kills him because he is the last of the past.

    The idea of this is what I find interesting but finding a linear structure and the appropriate research is sparse especially for I am Legend.

    I completely agree and that is where I need help. I have read all three but discussing the last man is what my supervisor suggested and I am a bit insecure about that because as you say its not specific :s
    Last edited by qimissung; 11-01-2012 at 06:07 PM. Reason: merging posts by same poster

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lisa-Marie View Post
    The idea of this is what I find interesting but finding a linear structure and the appropriate research is sparse especially for I am Legend.
    The point of a dissertation or thesis is that you're breaking new ground. Your work is the research readers will perhaps turn to in the future after reading these books. What enlightening observations do you have to share with them after reading all 3 books and analysing their portrayals of 'the last man' and what does that signify?

    You probably need to start with each character's role in the past - how they represented a world that no longer exists. Why does it no longer exist? What role has each character played in the establishment of the new order? Why are they unable to fit into this new role? How can that be expanded to a consideration of Man's position in history and in an evolving world? I guess there's enough there to be going on with.

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    I'm curious about whether there is some kind of terminology barrier at work here. Are we talking about a PhD. dissertation, or some sort of major undergraduate paper? Clarifying the required length and scope of the work involved would help. I'm just curious because normally you would have a good idea of the kind of PhD work you would be doing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack of Hearts View Post
    This reader has seen these kinds of posts from high school students, college students (mostly) and even a few wayward graduate students asking about their Masters thesis. But a dissertation? At that level you can't even go to SparkNotes, because you are now the one who writes the SparkNotes.

    Good lord; good luck.









    J
    Agreed.

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    Registered User kelby_lake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hillwalker View Post
    The point of a dissertation or thesis is that you're breaking new ground. Your work is the research readers will perhaps turn to in the future after reading these books. What enlightening observations do you have to share with them after reading all 3 books and analysing their portrayals of 'the last man' and what does that signify?
    Exactly. There are lots of interesting things to say about literature but most of them have already been said. If you like the idea of "the last man standing", it's not a bad idea but what new things do you have to say about it? Is there a critical tradition for this subject?

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