One of the obstacles I had in working on the bibliographic essay was trying to narrow down my research question so that it dealt with a specific enough subject without being too broad or narrow. In my bib essay I think I tried to focus on too many aspects/questions of bio genetic engineering that my argument kind of got lost in the process. I want to focus on one or two connected themes that run throughout the novels/films I am comparing, because I realized as I was writing my essay that each source I chose to focus on has so many levels to analyze that I wouldn’t be able to fit everything into a 15-page research paper. It’s tough because I really like what the films Gattaca and AI: Artificial Intelligence add to my argument about genetic engineering and what it means to be human, but I have a feeling I will only be able to pick one of these films to focus on. I am going to use one of these films to compare their depictions of original creation to how the Crakers are represented in Oryx and Crake.
It seems like many others in the class, I am finding the sheer amount of information that is available to be sorted through daunting, and this struggle is even more difficult when you are trying to find sources that are not only relevant to your research question but that also bring to light a new perspective or take an opposite stance to what you are arguing. It was hard for me to find sources that focused primarily on the advantages of human genetic engineering, and I feel like I need at least one type of this source in order to balance the views from the dystopian science fiction novels/films I am using. These dystopian realities mainly deal with the ethical/moral consequences that arise when scientific technology has been taken to extremes, and don’t highlight many favorable outcomes (or if they do, these advantages are presented in a way that make them seem like disadvantages, or they quickly evolve into them).
I think my main problem will be narrowing in on the one subject/argument I want to present and then coherently organizing my final paper, because right now I have a rough idea of where I want to go with it (focusing on the concepts of empathy, individualism, and capacity of thought/knowledge as the things that make us human), but I haven’t yet found all of the sources I had hoped I would find, so that makes it hard for me to envision what the final paper will end up like. I know my bib essay was all over the place in terms of my thoughts/organization, but I think that once I gather all of my sources and make up my mind about what aspects I want to address and decide what film I will use to juxtapose the novel Oryx and Crake with, I will feel less overwhelmed. I am actually excited about my topic, it is just about sitting down and doing the research.
I know everyone is stressed out with final papers and exams, and I am definitely feeling the stress too (in addition to this research paper, I have another 15-page research paper due and a 10-page poetry paper due) so I’m finding it hard to give all of my attention to any one class at the moment. Who knew being an English major meant writing so many papers?!