It seems like every paper I write for this class is worse than the one before it. That wouldn’t necessarily bother me if I had any idea what we’re doing for the final paper. I mean, I know it’s supposed to have something to do with what we want to do our eventual Master’s Thesis on, but…honestly, I’m not sure he was prepared for students who already know precisely what they want to study.
Thing is, at this point, I know exactly what I want to write my thesis on. I even know half of the title. It’s going to be tracing the changes in the perception of the Trojan War myth as society has changed over the millennia. It’ll be called “The Love Life of Achilles” with a subtitle that will clarify the subject matter. (The subtitle is the half I don’t know yet.) Obviously, it’ll especially focus on the changes during the early portion of history–say up until the fall of Rome–but it’ll also describe how the perception has changed since then, how changing attitudes towards homosexuality either repressed the idea of a romantic/sexual relationship between Achilles and Patroclos or turned it into something vile or to be mocked. And whenever his relationship with Patroclos was robbed of its pederastic side, then one of Achilles’ female lovers rose to prominence, usually Briseis, but sometimes Deidameia.
That may not sound like a particularly deep thesis–and it probably isn’t–but books have been written on similar subjects (I’m currently reading one about Helen, and I’ve gotten another one out of the library about Orpheus) so I shouldn’t have any trouble making it long enough for a thesis. (Not that I actually know how long a Master’s Thesis is, mind you, but I could easily make that topic last several hundred pages. I could probably get a good thirty or forty just out of classical antiquity, to say nothing of the Medieval and Renaissance changes.)
More importantly, it’s a snappy title, so it’ll catch the attention of admissions people for PhD programs, and/or prospective employers if I try to get work at a community college or something. And it covers a wide range of subjects. It’s literary, it’s classical antiquity, and because of the LGBT elements, it has a topicality as well. Plus it’s really interesting, so spending years working on it won’t be a problem.
However, all the planning in the world doesn’t help if I can’t make it through this class to reach the thesis part of the program.
And I’m starting to worry that if my final paper isn’t awesome enough, I’ll flunk this class. The final paper is a third of the grade, with the other two thirds being class participation (I’m probably at least mostly okay on that score, as I’ve never missed a class and I always manage to add something to the discussion, even if that something isn’t terribly intelligent) and the weekly papers. So even if I get full marks on the class participation, if I get lousy marks on the weekly papers, I’ll need to get full points for the final paper even to pass, let alone get a good grade.
It’s really worrisome.