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Old 04-15-2012, 12:12 PM   #1
sunny_c
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Default A little thesis help.

Dear all

Iím a student of English Language & Culture and am currently trying to write my thesis. Emphasis on trying because Iím stuck and my mind isnít working anymore; Iím having some trouble with my subject and thesis statement. My subject is superheroes/heroes because I like them and because of all the movies weíre flooded with. I thought doing my thesis on a subject I liked would be easier but thatís not so.

1e proposal: Heroes are admired for their selflessness but are their actions not motivated out of self preservation, fear or revenge? How can it be called heroic when almost everything they do comes out of their own need, when it serves their own purpose?

Batman is roaming Gotham because of his parentsí death and by preventing crime he is taking revenge in a way. Itís his form of therapy. Harry Potter fought Voldemort not for others but because it was kill or be killed.

My proposal was accepted but my supervisor didnít like this idea and told me to come up with something else.

2e proposal: There are several views on how one becomes a superhero/hero, two of them are: Joseph Campbellís monomyth and the American monomyth. By looking at these two theories I wanted to determine to which category Harry Potter belongs to, if he does belong to a category or is a universal hero.

Again, my supervisor didnít like it and gave me a reluctant ok.

The thing is that I just canít think of something interesting, there are no burning questions that need answers.

Right now I like the idea of Superheroes and Super villains mirroring each other. For instance Batman canít kill the Joker because in some ways they are alike. Also, if there are no more villains there would be no reason for Batman and Bruce would just have to be Bruce. No more masked therapy for him.

However, Iím not sure about this. Part of the reason why Iím anxious is because my supervisor is kind of an expert on Superheroes having written papers and such on this topic. I know Iím not inventing the wheel but still, I want to write something people want to read, something that is interesting and gets a good grade.
This is why I am asking for your help. Iím open to all suggestions, insights, ideas and constructive criticism.

Thanks in advance.

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Old 04-15-2012, 01:19 PM   #2
Bill
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Default Re: A little thesis help.

Why not do a paper on how the motivations and methods of superheroes and villains has evolved through the years since the Golden Age to the Copper Age? Or the depiction of the comic world and its parallel to real world socio/political culture? Or perhaps one on how the CCA has affected comics before and after. Or pick a hero and do a paper on their evolution since their origin to the present time and how popular culture has impacted the development and evolution of that particular character.

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Old 04-15-2012, 01:19 PM   #3
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Default Re: A little thesis help.

Since you're writing about a popular subject you want to do something that hasn't been done before. That's a little hard considering that superheroes are popular, but there is always something you could do that your instructor hasn't heard yet. Here are a few topics you can use.

You can show how superhero archetypes have been the same throughout many years. With Superman you can show the similarities he has with older mythologies such as the Egyptian god Horus. With Batman you can show how he is like Zorro so that you have a more modern comparison. There is much research that you can do in this area, and it's a lot of fun when you see how true the comparisons are.

This one could be touchy, but you could compare superheroes to politics. Which superheroes are liberal? Which ones conservative? What would Batman think of the Patriot Act? What does Bruce Banner working on a gamma bomb say about his political beliefs? With this one you would really have to know your ****. You can't put any personal bias into it because it would either give you a high five if your instructor shares your same ideals, or if would fail you for getting political in an essay.

An easy one that has been done could be what the popularity of certain heroes says about us. What you can do different is to use different heroes instead of the same old Batman, Superman, Spider-man, X-Men, etc. Use heroes that are popular, but not as mainstream as those. Use Spawn, The Walking Dead, manga like Dragonball Z, etc. With something like The Walking Dead you can say that some people love the idea of a zombie apocalypse because it removes all the obstacles they feel they have in society. With Spawn you can touch on how people reject the idea of fate. There is a lot you can do with this, but you have to avoid using the easy heroes.

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Old 04-15-2012, 04:06 PM   #4
sunny_c
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Default Re: A little thesis help.

These are great suggestions, thanks. When reading the replies the thought of Superheroes and consumerism popped up. You have all the merchandise surrounding heroes, comics and movies but thete is also consumerism in the movies such as the Batmobile or all the stuff Tony Stark has. Those gadgets also enhances consumerism by the audience. We all want those toys, those advanced mobiles, computers etc.
Does this make sense or am I reaching?

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Old 04-15-2012, 11:48 PM   #5
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Default Re: A little thesis help.

Thing is I don't see superheroes like Batman, Spider-Man, or Superman fighting crime by taking revenge against the loss of a relative doing so because it's a selfish need. The man that kills all of them is defeated in some way through the end of their original story arc, yet after this story they continue on to fight crime despite their own personal suffering is over. It's done so in order to prevent others from suffering and not having to go through the same suffering they did and to teach similar lessons they learned to others that are suffering with some of the same problems.

Look at heroes like the Hulk, Ironman, Captain America, the Fantastic Four that do not have a revenge situation to go after, but fight for either survival or because they are truly altruistic to mankind. Night Owl and Dr. Manhattan from Watchmen are also like this too.

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