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다시 수강, 논문, 공부 이야기

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August 8, 2016 | 11:38am
Mood: hungry

A bit about my study habits as of the last few weeks, as well as the upcoming semester. Somewhat because I've been intending on posting about this anyways, but mostly because I should be studying right now... eek.

I just registered for classes. They don't start for another 3 weeks, but geez, the summer has gone by WAY too fast. I've signed up for:
한국현대문학사연구 월 3-6 (History of Modern Korean Literature, Mon. 3-6)
한국1920-1930년대시연구 수 9-12 (Korean 1920-1930 Poetry, Wed. 9-12)
Not sure what History of Mod. Korean Lit will be about, but apparently the Poetry class will also be a Lit History class, only focusing on poetry instead of novels. Useful.

And I haven't officially made my decision yet, since I have another week to decide, but my prerequisite class (which must be an undergraduate class) will probably be:
문학비평의이론과실제 금 12-3 (Theory and Practice of Literary Criticism, Fri. 12-3)
According to the posted syllabus this class will focus on 21st century novels. Not sure where the literary criticism aspects are coming from, but I think it would be fantastic to have the opportunity to read more 21st century literature, since (in all honestly) that's what I find most interesting.

That'll only be 3 classes this semester, with only two of them being graduate level. That means I'll be taking two grad level classes while writing my thesis during my final semester. Which, uh, is not quite what I'd wanted/planned, but it seems to be the best option. Why? Because the third graduate level lit class being offered this semester is Classical Poetry. Again. The same class I dropped two semesters ago because I didn't know hanja/was overwhelmed. I realize I could probably take the class, put in minimal work, and still manage to get an A or higher (not boasting, just stating the truth, thanks to department requirements, shall we say?), but just... no. It's not worth the stress or time. Next semester will be awful, but I am willing to take the hit if it means I can avoid classical literature.

That being said, I don't actually know if I'll be graduating on time at all.

I have two important things to do before I'll get to start writing my thesis. First of all, I need an advisor by the beginning of this upcoming semester. The problem is, the advisor for novels is currently in Delaware, and as of such he isn't employed by the school this semester. So I may not be able to have him signed up to be my advisor at all. Second of all, I need to take - and pass - the comprehensive exam. They might be kind enough to pass me because, uh, pity, but there are no guarantees. I do have two chances to do this test before I won't be able to graduate on time, but I don't know...

If I do manage to survive this semester and everything works out, next semester I'll be taking two grad level classes and working on my thesis.

Now, my plans for my thesis are very, uh, vague? Well, that's a lie. I do have a number of research interests, with some vanishing and others having developed in my time in this program.

My research interests: masculinity, femininity, gender studies, literary criticism, modern novel, modern short story, anything written from the 1970s-present. I also have an interest in reader-response theory and semiotics, with a particular interest in the idea that the reader participates in the story. (This kind of encompasses a few different schools of thought, and doesn't necessarily tie itself to one area or another.)

If I had to describe my ideas for my graduate thesis, well, I have three paths, and they kind of join together in my head. This is actually the first time I'm writing them down and actually seeing what they encompass.
1. I want to examine the male characters in the novel, or several novels, by an author known for her (or his) works of what is known as "women's fiction." Examine how their masculinity is portrayed, what the reader learns about the overall meaning of the novel through these characters, and how the masculinity of these characters complements - or takes away from - the femininity (or, shall we say, "woman-ness") of the female characters.
2. Another interest is examining characters who are not bound by their gender roles. This may be a woman who has masculine qualities, or a man who has feminine traits. What does this mean in the novel? What do we learn about the story/them?
3. My final idea is just choosing a random work and examining the male characters and their masculinity.

The problem with #1 is that I will have to read a shit ton of books to collect enough characters to write about. The problem with #2 is that I am lacking the literary knowledge of characters for whom this is the case. There isn't really a problem with #3, though some works are better for this than others. I guess my goal this semester is to try to narrow down my ideas a bit and hopefully choose a novelist to focus on. This is why having an advisor sooner rather than later would be a good thing. I feel like I'm sort of choosing books to read at random, just hoping that one will fulfill all of the above criteria.

Okay, now on to the reason I started writing this post in the first place: studying.

I started studying about 2 weeks ago, the Monday after my mom left (July 27, I believe). I went to the library and got some Korean novels and some collections of Korean short stories that were translated to English. I've read(/will be finished reading in the next 24 hours or so):
- 공선옥의 명랑한 밤길
- 공지영의 무소의 뿔처럼 혼자서 가라
- Words of Farewell: Stories by Korean Women Writers (Kang Seok-kyung, Kim Chi-won, Oh Junghee)
- Modern Korean Fiction (with short stories by a wide variety of authors, basically providing a wide overview of the flow of modern Korean literature)

I'm going to go back to the library tomorrow to get more of the same (although I may read some lit crit books instead of translated short stories, though I have yet to decide).

The interesting thing is that, inexplicably, my Korean reading level seems to have improved. Reading these books isn't the chore that it once was. Instead, it's actually kind of- dare I say- fun. Just like reading is meant to be. I am still super slow at reading, but my comprehension is actually quite good and since I'm also reading a lot of it out loud, I am finding my reading out loud/pronunciation/flow improving a bit as well. That, I think, is pretty awesome.

That being said, I don't know WHY my Korean has improved. Last semester I hardly read anything in Korean. It may be a result of osmosis. Or maybe- well, these books might not be super difficult. Or perhaps, since they were written in the last 20 years, they may just be easier to understand. That may be a possibility. I dunno.

Since I'm not taking a huge course load next semester, I'm hoping to find a Korean tutor and dish out shit tons of money to study at least 2-3 times a week. I also want to keep trying to read Korean books for fun. We'll see if I actually do any of this, but I really, really need to get a tutor. If I could just improve my speaking skills half of my Korea-related stress would be gone...

Look at all those lj-cuts! Here's hoping I didn't leave out a back-slash somewhere...

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