Utopia? More like a Dystopia.

When we went as a class on our trip to Book City, I noticed a very interesting genre of writing that I’ve never heard of. As I was skimming through covers of books, I bumped into a book, whose title I’ve incidentally forgotten, that was dystopian fiction. It also made reference to George Orwell and his take on this genre, which was his novel, ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ which was about a totalitarian society. I was intrigued because I was somewhat familiar with the works of Orwell and wanted to know more. I felt interested about dystopian fiction and wondered about what it was and if it was a conventional method of writing. Many of us may have heard about utopian fiction, which is a genre where the author writes about the creation of an ideal society and keeps this utopia as the setting. Utopian writing was very common and more than thousands were written in the English language during the twentieth century. Dystopian fiction is actually the opposite, so it’s where an author uses a degrading and horrible society as its main setting.

I thought about the cultural impact of dystopian fiction and thought about when this genre came about and how. I thought that it might have had to do with the cultural and political situations of the time that influenced many writers to write dystopian fiction. After I became a bit familiar with the genre, it reminded me of ‘The Hunger Games Trilogy’, which deals with the struggles of people who live in an uncivil and inhumane society. The trilogy is actually considered to be a young adult dystopian fiction story so, that means I have read some dystopian fiction but just didn’t realize it.

I thought about the impact of dystopian fiction and how writers manage to show different aspects of a bad society. Like in the book, ‘The Giver’ the storyline develops by first showing a utopian society and how it later progresses into a dystopian fiction. The change in perspective is cleverly written and explored in the work by Lois Lowry. This made me wonder what situations and conditions drive writers to write dystopian fiction. Is it the political and social conflicts they witness? Is it about something they want to raise awareness about it? Are writers trying to hold up a mirror up to current society? What motivates and inspires writers to write dystopian fiction? I even recognized that dystopian fiction is actually very popular right now among young adults (The Hunger Games and The Divergent trilogy), so why is that? I would actually even like to draw out a rough plot line of my very own dystopian novel 🙂

That Sounds Very Atwoodian!

I think that everyone’s heard of or recognizes Margaret Atwood as one Canada’s finest writers. She is considered as one of the most-honoured writers of fiction in recent history. Her fame intrigued me and so I decided to do an investigation about her. I have personally read two works of Atwood which includes Cat’s Eye and The Penelopiad. When I read Cat’s Eye I thought about her very unique style. Atwood has always been keen on very descriptive writing and in the book her use of similes, metaphors and visual imagery all had a similar theme to them. I recognized that Atwood liked to bring certain things in her writing to her forefront when writing about them through her use of repetition and visual imagery. I appreciated the efforts made by Atwood and her creative choices.

I also appreciate and admire Atwood for her constant advocacy for feminism. She had also tried her hand at feministic writing with The Penelopiad, in which she opposed the death of the twelve maids in The Odyssey. Atwood also loves biology and comes from a family where her father was an entomologist. This made me wonder how Atwood combines her scientific views in her literary works. Atwood is also a revolutionary writer in my opinion, because she tries to break moulds and tries to go beyond realism. She achieved this through her work, Oryx and Crake. It makes me wonder how and what it takes to create a new genre of writing? What criterion do you need to have passed? How do you ensure that your readers share the same perspective as you are trying to convey through your writing? I would like to research answers to these questions and find out a little bit more about Atwood’s history and the inspiration behind each of her literary works. How does her poetry writing differ from her novel writing? I would also like to read some more her novels, poetry anthologies and also read some of her critical essays. Then I would like to find out how she has created distinct styles for each of the genres that she writes.

Captioning is Creativtyy!

As an avid movie watcher of different languages, captions are central to my viewing pleasure. I mean if I don’t understand what the heck’s going on then I probably won’t enjoy the movie as much. The people that actually caption and provide subtitles for movies and shows really show tremendous amounts of writing talent. I mean they have to take something that sounds perfectly fine in one language and try to mimic the same effect in a totally different language. Trying to say the exact same thing with the same connotation, emotion and effect in another language is tough and calls for real creative and intelligent choices.

When I watch my movies I never actually appreciate their efforts but they deserve real accolades for their dedication and work. When I watch international films I thought about whether the words I hear on the screen are exact translations of the words I see on the screen. Of course that isn’t true, because not all the same words sound right in English given the context and other things like connotation. It made me wonder how caption writers find the right words to connote the same thing in English and if there is no exact saying for the expression used in the movie, what do they do instead?

What are the difficulties associated with being a subtitle writer? How do they settle on one way of saying something as opposed to another way? Do they write the subtitles with their audience in mind? I want to research some actual subtitle writers, specifically in the South Asian and European cinema industries. I am interested to learn more about their profession, the technicalities involved, how they are expected to write and how they play with the diction and syntax to make sense of the actual scenes.  I would like to do more research on this and then in the end watch a film in Tamil (which I can understand moderately well) and then try my best to translate a scene in English without sacrificing the meaning or emotion, with the right diction and the right syntax (specifically length and the timing).

Lets break Da Rulez!

When I read an excerpt of James Joyce’s Finnigan’s  Wake I couldn’t help but notice the similarities between his writing and writing of a six year old just learning how to write. Most of the words would be completely made up, others would look similar to actual English words but have been altered, some borrowed from Old English and some of the words are just a bunch of words without any spaces between them. It was totally unconventional and I’ll admit it took me some persistence to actually go through the whole page.

It made me wonder whether I was supposed appreciate his originality and creativity or scoff or even do both. Reading Joyce’s work made me really think about the way an author can actually transform a piece of writing and make it truly theirs-even going to the lengths of making up words. So….what does it take for people to accept your writing? I mean it’s easy to write something down, claim to have included a bunch of creative choices and expect to get attention as a renowned writer. So, I would like to know how and what it takes for your work to get attention- even for something as bizarre as Joyce’s writing. How do you accepted by the writing community? Do you get rewarded for breaking conventionality or is it a struggle for people to actually understand your work? What degree do writers actually conform to convention? I mean at the end of the day, they do want to get published.

I would like to actually know how James Joyce’s career got started, how he got published and his first response after publishing his work and his ultimate fame. I want to research and investigate how writers break convention and how some still conform. Then at the end, I actually want to write a piece where I break convention and make my own artistic choice as a writer and see how people react to that.