[Part of an ongoing series on Master’s Essay candidates that begins here.]
- Working title/topic of your essay?
“The Nature of Hope in Paradise Lost“
- Texts used?
Primarily Milton’s Paradise Lost, but with a brief detour to Hesiod’s version of Pandora found in his Works and Days.
- Why this topic?
I wanted to understand a text of poetry which was both written in English and a truly monumental piece of western literature. That left me with only a handful of obvious choices. The specific topic came about as I wondered in what ways Eve was like Pandora and how, then, was the concept of hope functioning in a poem devoted to Christian ideals. Was this emotion only being used in its common meaning or was there a place for it among the virtues? These questions led me to follow in what ways hope and its perversions track across the heroes’ experience of suffering and expectation of relief.
- What’s the most interesting/funny/random fact you’ve discovered so far?
Although it’s not something I’ve discovered, it’s curious that with this topic I will have written on each of the theological virtues while at St. John’s. Also, I used to stare at an oversized portrait of Milton each time I walked into my undergraduate university’s library. So now I get to look into his thoughts, not just his eyes.
- What aspect of the Oral Examination are you most excited for?
I’m most excited to try myself against the rigor of a panel made up of tutors, which I know must be formidable.
- What aspect of the Oral Examination are you most dreading?
Exactly the anxiety that comes with attempting something I’ve never yet tried, and it being a challenge of such significance as the essay is meant to be.
- What do you hope to do after graduating St. John’s?
Well, my hope is to better understand hope specifically, but more generally I will gladly return to the not-so-quiet of teaching middle school.