Due to an upcoming a dance concert and several major projects, my research is going to be rather light this week. Instead of doing in –depth research on a new topic, I will be revisiting my past blog posts in order to determine what the most prominent themes are among the things I have been studying. Certain themes that have already stood out to me include the fairy as a symbol of female power and wisdom, the blurring of gender roles, and the relationship between nature and culture as it relates to mondain women. I will be reading through everything I have written thus far to see if I can start picking out “threads” and tying them together. There are certainly connections between fairies, motherhood, the nature/culture question, marriage, and the defiance of gender norms that I could explore in greater detail.
Now that I have produced a substantial body of material to work with, it is time for me to start putting together a research paper, and one of the first things I need to do is develop a thesis. To be honest, I have not yet put a great deal of thought into what my thesis will be. I want to choose something specific enough not to be generic, but broad enough that I will not have to cut out too much of what I have already written. This is one reason that it is so important for me to begin tying together all of the different topics that I have studied thus far; the more connections I can make; the more of my work I can use in my final paper.
When I begin writing my paper, I will finally be writing in French. Although I have been reading in French, I have not written anything substantial in French since last year. I must be prepared to be somewhat less at ease when I write this paper. I am comfortable reading and writing in French, but my written French is not nearly as nuanced or expressive as my written English. My problem does not lie in grammar or vocabulary but rather my ability (or lack thereof) to make my writing sound natural and professional. I am much more used to casual spoken French, and while I can understand academic French with no problem, I am not especially good at reproducing it. I have yet to develop a distinctive voice in my written French, but I hope to improve in that aspect during the writing process. After all, one of the reasons that I chose this project was to gain more experience writing formal French. Despite the challenge that writing in foreign language presents, I am excited to begin the writing process.