The 2024 issue of the Dawson English Journal is here!  Enjoy essays on poetry, fiction, graphic novels, film, and more. Many thanks to our diligent student editors, student authors, faculty advisers, and you, our readers!

Issue No. 15: Winter 2024

FEATURED

A Psychoanalytic Reading of Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver by Clara Frey

A Psychoanalytic Reading of Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver by Clara Frey

Taxi Driver, written by Paul Schreber and directed by Martin Scorsese, is a neo-noir thriller that hit American box offices on February 2nd, 1976. Released just a year after the United States pulled out of the war in Vietnam, the film reflects the political and societal instability of America in the 1970s and its repercussions on the psyche of one of its veterans. In 1970s America, crime was on the rise, and the trauma of a war that many veterans…

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Afro-Pessimism: The Interplay of Racism and Double Consciousness in Get Out and Between the World and Me by Dorlicas Buyibu Makuikila

Afro-Pessimism: The Interplay of Racism and Double Consciousness in Get Out and Between the World and Me by Dorlicas Buyibu Makuikila

Afro-pessimistic works like Jordan Peele’s 2017 film Get Out and Ta-Nehisi Coates’ 2015 book Between the World and Me allude to a state of double consciousness experienced by Black people in North America. In Get Out, which follows Chris, a Black man escaping from his girlfriend’s parents’ house, where they attempt to subject him to an experiment involving the sale and use of his body by an older white man, the presence of double consciousness overwhelmingly affects Chris’ actions and thoughts. Similarly, in Between the World and Me, a nonfic- tion book that serves as a letter to Coates’ son about the realities of the Black experience in America, double consciousness is explored through the mentioning of real events in which Black people have been subjected to racialized discrimination.

The Proto-Indo-European Origins of Mélusine by Christopher Boa

The Proto-Indo-European Origins of Mélusine by Christopher Boa

Beyond the scope of bedtime stories and fantastical literature, the likes of faeries and other mythical creatures are seldom invoked in contemporary contexts. In spite of this, there exists one such being who links concepts as modern as the Royal Family of Luxembourg, the Starbucks® Logo, and the de jure Canadian Head of State: she is Mélusine, the medieval ancestor to – and fabled guardian of – the Poitevin House of Lusignan. Mélusine’s widespread influence on occidental architecture as well…

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The Clash’s Lyrics: A Bouquet of Critiques of Capitalism, By Tamila Varyvoda

The Clash’s Lyrics: A Bouquet of Critiques of Capitalism, By Tamila Varyvoda

Right off the bat, The Clash critique the political and economic climate in 70s Britain, citing the scarcity of jobs available and the menial and dreary nature of those advertised to young people. Bus driver, ticket inspector, or someone who makes tea at the BBC – the lowest paid position at the broadcasting organisation – do not come across as enviable careers or fulfilling opportunities. Rather, they were desperate attempts by the establishment to lower unemployment figures and keep as many people as they could “out the dock,” meaning out of trouble.

Passion vs. Responsibility in “Wulf and Eadwacer” by Julieta Lozano-Ramsay

Passion vs. Responsibility in “Wulf and Eadwacer” by Julieta Lozano-Ramsay

In the anonymous 10th century poem “Wulf and
Eadwacer,” the poetic speaker depicts the contrast between the passion
of her lover Wulf with the security of her new marriage to Eadwacer, as
well as her lonely responsibilities as a peaceweaver, through the revealing
forms of elegy, innuendo, repetition, diction, and natural imagery.

Analyzing Empathy in Graphic Memoirs: Persepolis and Fun Home by Zachary Inzlicht

Analyzing Empathy in Graphic Memoirs: Persepolis and Fun Home by Zachary Inzlicht

In the graphic memoirs Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi and Fun Home by Alison Bechdel, the unique medium serves as a powerful tool for navigating complex emotions related to the themes of family dynamics and personal identity. To explore these themes, Satrapi and Bechdel employ family portraits, first-person narration, and violent imagery to highlight the empathetic potential inherent in the graphic memoir form.

Art Critique: The Magic of the Mythic Montreal Canadiens by Alex Hadley

Art Critique: The Magic of the Mythic Montreal Canadiens by Alex Hadley

One thing is for sure: if you die a Montrealer without ever having been to a Canadiens game, you will have missed out on the eighth wonder of the world. On a night where the men sporting the “Bleu blanc et rouge” looked faster, more prepared, and more poised than their opposition, they fell to a youthful and opportunistic Toronto Maple Leafs team by a score of 3 to 1 in their fourth game of the 2023-24 NHL preseason. Although the end result was deflating, this critique will examine how the atmosphere and on-ice product compare to a televised viewing of a Leafs game, and it will pinpoint what makes a Habs game anything but disappointing.

The Dichotomy Within: The Conflict between The Civil and The Primitive in The Epic of Gilgamesh By Ahmad Mousattat

The Dichotomy Within: The Conflict between The Civil and The Primitive in The Epic of Gilgamesh By Ahmad Mousattat

The design of Enkidu as a version of Gilgamesh in the state of nature, their observed difference in temperament and intrepidity, and their death and subsequent immortality in the civilisational narrative all point towards a fundamental schism between the subconscious instinct and conscious reason.

Unmasking Bill 21: Discrimination Behind the Veil of Secularism, by Ihsane Sarif

Unmasking Bill 21: Discrimination Behind the Veil of Secularism, by Ihsane Sarif

When Bill 21, also referred to as “the Act Respecting the Laicity of the State” was passed in 2019, it was a shock for the religious population and was criticized for targeting racial and religious minorities. What was supposed to be a law about the secularism of the state became a racial issue.

Analysis of Tolu Oloruntoba’s Poem “Medical Séances,” by Mike Wabo

Analysis of Tolu Oloruntoba’s Poem “Medical Séances,” by Mike Wabo

Altogether, “Medical Séances” rejects the standard journey of the physician to redefine the requirements needed to become a doctor, to ultimately serve the function of the apology, as Oloruntoba establishes that his vocation as a poet makes him a physician through his own definition since he masters the poetic nature of medical language.

How Cultural Barriers are Overcome in Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring by Christopher Boa

How Cultural Barriers are Overcome in Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring by Christopher Boa

At the onset of the 1920s in England, a freshly graduated English Literature major, J. R. R. Tolkien, had just served four years and a day fighting in the deadliest war of his time, a consequence of the volatile borders and geopolitical alliances of early 20th century Europe. There is little doubt that Tolkien’s passion for philology, his fascination with different cultures, and his experiences witnessing the sheer atrocities spawned by diplomatic conflicts had an impact on the narrative of his eventual literary masterpiece The Lord of the Rings. Through his elaborate construction of the geopolitics, legends, and languages of several mythological peoples in The Fellowship of the Ring, the author demonstrates how xenophobia is embedded within one’s learned culture and how the very differences that divide humanity are also the key to mutual understanding.

Review: A Child Who Became Enormous by Isabelle Kemp

Review: A Child Who Became Enormous by Isabelle Kemp

I first met David Bradford by reading his poems in the Griffin Poetry Prize Anthology 2022 where, in my mind, I created an entire personality for him based on the short list of works I read. When I finally met this Dawson alumnus in class, to my surprise, he was a soft-spoken man who managed to steady the mood of the room with his bright presence. Now further intrigued by this poet’s mind, I eagerly set down my cell phone so as not to miss a single word he was to say.