Topics for Paper II, REL 407/507 Narrative Selves

 Due Tuesday, February 18, in class.

Topics (Select one of the following topics)

1. Drawing on two of the articles from previous weeks, discuss the development of the self through its narrative(s) as found in either A) Coffinman or B) The Flock. For example, you might draw on the notion of "counter-story" versus "master-narrative" from Nelson as well as "turning points" from Bruner's "The Remembered Self," or Campbell's definition of personhood and Foucault's analysis of the subject as author. I suggest you focus on a couple of key ideas from each article ratheer than trying to discuss too many ideas. Also, as part of our discussion, examine potential problems with the application of the analytical ideas you use from the articles.

2.Use the Ten Oxherding Pictures as a framework for the author's autobiographical development in Coffinman. Discuss three or four of the oxherding pictures to identify key points in the author's development since this shorter assignment does not allow for a discussion of all ten pictures or stages. Address the question, what are some of the possible limitations of using the oxherding pictures as a narrative framework for the development of Coffinman?

3. Zhuangzi presents a view of the Dao that is at once perspectival and unified beyond words. The many characters that populate the Zhuangzi may be regarded as diverse perspectives on the Dao, or they might be regarded as different aspects of the mythical Daoist ideal, the True Person of the Dao, or the True Person of No Rank. Compare the relationship between perspectival selves and the True Self in the Zhuangzi, on the one hand, and the multiple personalities and the self moving towards integration in The Flock, on the other. Specifically, discus two similarities and two differences in the relation between multiplicity and unity as found in these two works?

4.Compare and contrast the Augustinian view of self and narrative as presented by Mark Freeman in Rewriting Self with that of Freud as described by Conway in Autobiographical Memory and Freud's Totem and Taboo. Specifically, compare the view of the integrated, unified self of Augustine with the conflicted, self of Freud in which psychic realities are submerged and expressed indirectly through various symbolic expressions. Identify two similarities and two differences.