Mariah’s introduction post

Hello! I’m Mariah, but my friend’s call me Canada (Bonus points to you if you understand the Hetalia reference there!) I’m a junior at SIUE (Majoring in Psychology and minoring in Creative Writing) I love reading! My favorite genre is fantasy/ magic realism, but I’m a sucker for a good crime mystery.

My summer schedule is pretty packed with both my classes and work, but I plan on making this class my top priority. Although my schedule is packed with work, I plan on going to many local concerts with friends! In addition to work and local concerts, I have a trip to the Wisconsin Dells planned for Mid July (Mount Olympus in WI Dells is a cool place to go if you like Greek Mythology)

I often choose reading over other activities (which benefits me and causes me to procrastinate with other tasks at the same time) My favorite kind of books are the books that I can get sucked into for hours upon end. I also enjoy reading books from other cultures! Although majoring in Psychology, I often find myself gravitating towards careers in the English field such as being a professor or travel writer.

I chose to take online classes so that I can be close to my parents who live near Chicago Illinois, yet continue my advancement towards my studies. I have always liked the aspect of online literature courses, although I have never taken an online class before. I believe that an online format would benefit this class greatly, because everyone can put in their opinions and findings without having to worry about someone talking over them, or worrying about discussing everything they want to within a certain class time.

I have a couple of specific hopes for this class. One of the main ones would be having delightful conversations on literature topic. To be more specific on this hope, I look forward to discussing with other people that may have a different view than me on certain topics. (Don’t get me started on how I feel about Dumbledore in Harry Potter, that will result in a length discussion that some don’t agree with) Another main expectation I have is for everyone to respond on time. Although I remember my past English courses with great love, one of my frustrations was that sometimes people weren’t prepared for group discussions. Overall, I hope for delightful conversations, timely work, and an overall expansion of my love and knowledge of literature.


Hello everyone!

My name is Fabiola (pronounces Fa-bee-oh-la) and this past semester was my first semester here at SIUE. I already have an Associate’s but am aiming for an English major with a French minor.

While I’m originally from Michigan I’ve spent quite many years of my life living in O’Fallon so SIUE was a great option for me. This summer I’m taking two literature classes (technically 3 if you can the constant French studying) and since everything is online, I shall spend quite a bit of time stuck to my laptop. I plan on spending this summer with my friends and family and on really cracking down on the exercise I never get around to doing. Hopefully by the end of summer I shall have passed my classes with flying colors and have obtained a flat tummy!! Ah, a girl can dream…

Anyways, this will be my second literature class ever, and since it focuses on one of my absolute favorite genres, I am excited to see how it will progress. While I have taken online courses before, none have been as short and fast-paced, so it will be a fun challenge!

I expect to have fun with this class because I have an inkling that we are all huge bookworms and that makes me feel right at home. I’ve moved quite often and early on I made an unbreakable bond with a friend that I could tote around with me anywhere: books. To have at your fingertips so many different worlds to dive in and explore continues to blow my mind and constantly frustrates my parents who practically push me out the door to socialize more.

When it comes to genres, I adore fiction, especially YA fantasy and science fiction. Off the top of my head I can name Tamora Pierce and Kristin Cashore as one of my fave authors.

I expect this course to open my eyes to the wonders of YA Literature and to be the platform for many enthusiastic discussions. I hope to come out with a better understanding of the gears that constitute this lovely category. For such a condensed course it is fundamental to be active and willing to participate daily.

I look forward to the course and to hear all your ideas!


Hello all,

My name is Patrick McEvilly. I teach English and Social Studies at Freeburg High School. I’ve been teaching for about 12 years. I also coach basketball and have a young son. So when I’m not reading I’m usually occupied with one of those two — or maybe it’s the other way around.

(Amsterdam. When I used to travel.)

My plans for the summer start with a lot of poolside reading, whether it is content or posts for this class or some good escapist fiction, I’ll be reading a lot. I’ve been into spy novels a lot recently. I think its because I miss all the travel I did before I was a parent. I also have to brush up on Reconstruction and WWI for a teaching assignment next year, so I will have to work some of that in as well.

I’m eager to read the YA content for this class and engage with each of you on the topics that we’ll explore. My students really love a range of authors, and I’m eager to read some new ones for this class.

This is my first totally online course — at least that I can remember. It’s also my first lit course since undergrad. I hope I’m ready for it and that the internet has not passed me by. 😉


Hello All,

My name is Lindsey Rakers. I am from Breese, IL which is a small rural town. I am majoring in Elementary Education and also getting a Middle School endorsement in Language Arts. I loved all my English teachers because they opened up new worlds for me with the different stories we read and I hope I can do that for my future students. I love to eat ice cream, travel, be outside, and spend time with friends.

I went to Jamaica this past March for an Alternative Spring Break.

My plans for the summer include taking two summer classes, going to DeKalb, IL for an internship, and spending time with family and friends.

My history with reading has changed while growing up. Before I found books I found interesting, I often struggled with reading and quickly lost interest. Once I reached sixth grade, I started to find novels I loved and quickly got more into reading. However, after starting college, I began losing time to read for pleasure and haven’t read in a while. The last novel I read was The Hate U Give and I really enjoyed it. Two of my favorite novels are Looking for Alaska, Turtles All the Way Down, and Please Ignore Vera Dietz. John Green is one of my favorite authors.

This is my second literature course in college. In high school, I took 3 literature classes. I really enjoyed these classes and reading new stories. This is the first online course I have taken. I prefer the traditional classroom setting but I am excited to experience this course online and learn in the online setting. I expect this course to be challenging with my schedule and since it is condensed into four weeks. I think it will also be challenging because I have never used WordPress before. However, I also expect this course to be interesting and interactive.

I think an idea student for this course is respectful of other’s opinion, complete readings and assignments in a timely manner, and contribute to discussions.

Carrie’s Intro

A little about me:

My name is Carrie Smith. I run a local nonprofit for students 5th-12th called Edwardsville Robotics. I am a trainer for the 5th-8th grade coaches and the head coach for the 9th-12th high school aged team. My background is in museums and nonprofits and I have my MPA from here at SIUE.

My plans for the summer:

Busy doesn’t begin to describe it. My summer always rotates around being the mom taxi. I have multiple weeks of drop off / picks ups for my teenage son for multiple scout events. Besides YA Lit I am also taking an online grant writing course that runs the same time throughout June. The grant writing course will give me a chance to work on some STEM grant projects I have been researching. The family will be sneaking in a Destin trip sometime in July and then back to scout events and then helping the high school band at the end of the summer. I’m also on the board of my local library and I’ll be working on strategic planning throughout the summer.

What I like to read:

I love to read just about anything. I love discussing books with others and feel people connect through shared reading. This summer my son will have a lot of travel time in between places so he will be listening to the audio of my favorite series The Codex Alera by Jim Butcher. I’ve already enjoyed reading the same books as my kids so we can talk about them together. I like fantasy, paranormal, and classic mythology the most. I am just as likely to read a YA series as an adult novel. I find it fascinating an author’s take on the juvenile mind.

Past Literature courses experiences:

My past literature courses consist of mostly theory, classical lit, and post 1700 lit. I have a minor in Classic Lit in my undergrad work and always told myself I would finish my MA in Lit for myself after my MPA was complete.

Past online experience:

I have quite a bit of online learning experience. I have also taught an all Blackboard based political science course online for a community college. I have a certification in Teaching with Technology and definitely feel that online teaching has its place. Depending on the course and/ or the setup of the course some formats work great online, while others are better in person. Online courses can be stressful for some, but once you get into a routine and set a schedule for posting its pretty easy. My biggest suggestion is for you to do all your work in a Word doc and copy/paste into the online platform for your own piece of mind.

Ideal Student for this course:

An ideal student for this course should be able to fulfill all of their tasks provided they read the material in a timely manner and actively contribute to the conversation. I will admit Blackboard is a much easier platform for me to use. I have some experience with WordPress, but this might be a little bit of a challenge for me to take a course primarily through it as a posting site.

Intro Post

Hey everybody! My name is Christopher Wright, but I just go by Chris. I am a Mass Communications major and a Literature and Creative Writing double minor, and I am going into my third and Senior year at SIUE. Before SIUE though, I went to a community college close to my hometown for a year, then transferred in the fall after.  My summer isn’t all too exciting save for a collaboration I have planned with a friend of mine. He and I plan on shooting advertisements for his brand, and, in return, I get credit and the privilege to use the ads we shoot for my portfolio. A win-win for the both of us.

I used to read so much more when I was younger but haven’t really been able to in my free time as of late, though I have recently (re)started reading Gibson’s Neuromancer. When it comes to Young Adult fiction though, my all time favorites are The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Eleanor & Park.

I have really enjoyed the English classes I’ve taken. Some have had me read pieces that I’ve read multiple times before, but have offered a deeper understanding of a work that previous teachers hadn’t really explored.

This will be my fourth-ish online class, ish because I took a hybrid course in which most of it was online with only one day per week in the classroom. I can say I have had a pretty good experience with them, even though they definitely take more discipline and effort than a traditional classroom setting, and I’d imagine especially so for an online literature class.

For this class I do expect to come out with a deeper understanding for what the Young Adult genre is as a whole, as for one day I may try to dip my toes into it with my own writing. To learn the history of the genre and what it has essentially evolved into over time is something that would be incredibly helpful and interesting to learn. As for the “ideal student”, that would be someone who not only shows an enthusiasm for learning the topic, but also expands that enthusiasm toward the engagement required for the course so much so that it proves their willingness to learn and their comprehension of what‘s being taught.

So that’s that! Looking forward to the course and seeing everyone’s thoughts over the next few weeks!

Jennifer’s Introductory Post

Hi, all! My name is Jennifer, and I’m from Decatur, Illinois, which is about two hours northeast from SIUE. I’m a secondary English education major seeking endorsements in the social sciences.

This summer, I am taking two summer classes: this one and one about the geography of Asia, which will begin in July as soon as this class ends. I have been working with the university paper, The Alestle, since February and will spend much of my summer editing and writing stories from home. Otherwise, you would likely find me reading, sleeping in, or binge watching TV shows. I will read just about anything, but I especially enjoy reading classics and historical fiction. One of my favorite authors is Philippa Gregory, who writes historical fiction novels set in England during the Tudor dynasty. 

My family and I are hoping to take a trip to Cincinnati at some point this summer and to visit Kings Island amusement park. I also hope to spend a lot of time relaxing at the lake this summer with my extended family. 


My past experience with literature classes at SIUE has generally been very positive. English has always been one of my favorite subjects, as well as being one of my best. My only complaint about my previous English classes is that the discussions were lacking at times and were not as lively as I’d like them to be  I hope this won’t be the case in this class and that everyone participates and brings up good points about the readings. 

I believe the ideal student for an online class, and this class in particular, is one who reads carefully, paying attention both to the minor details and bigger themes of a piece. Participation is also key. As students, we should spend a considerable amount of time writing our posts and sharing our thoughts as readers. Equally important is responding to others’ posts and responding in ways that add to the conversation, rather than simply to meet the requirement to post eight comments each week. All posts and comments should be respectful, especially when sharing views that differ from those of other students. 


I am looking forward to this class because I enjoy reading and being able to discuss books with others. I hope to grow as a student and reader through the guided reading posts and through our blog discussions. 

Hope you all have a good summer, and I’m looking forward to getting to know everyone better throughout this course!

Trevor Oliver – Introduction

Hello, everyone!

My name is Trevor Oliver, and I’m a secondary English education major from Collinsville, Illinois.

My plans for this summer include working, reading, doing some more work, and then doing some more reading (I’m currently reading World War Z, and lemme tell ya, it’s great). And, for the rest of the summer, I really want to do some hiking, go to Six Flags, and have some great time drinking coffee with friends while walking around. It’s pretty boring sometimes, especially around these parts, but just walking around with coffee and good friends is seriously one of my favorite things — hitting downtown Edwardsville, going to Sacred, and catching some Pokemon is the best.

I like to read pretty much anything, although I’m in a huge horror kick currently. It’s pretty much impossible for me to pick a favorite genre, because honestly, as long as something has a great world, I’m interested. I love reading about characters and such, but the thing that always hooks me is an interesting world.

If I’m not doing that, I’m generally hanging out with some pals, watching movies, or online playing some video game. I also love walking around and exploring with friends (cliche, I know), and of course catching some Pokemon in Pokemon Go while I’m at it.

In past literature courses, I generally have a great time reading and discussing with others. I think discussing with others is generally the most important and interesting part of a literature course, because so many wonderfully bright people come up with ideas that have never even crossed my mind. An ideal student in this course would also generally be someone who, for the most part, likes to talk about what interested them the most. When someone is passionate and clearly has something they want to say, I think it is amazing to learn and discuss with. I find it fascinating and fun!

For online courses, I’ve generally had a great time. I’ve never had anything too outlandish, and every professor has been super clear with what is expected and when it is due, thankfully. I’ve had friends who have had professors who would rarely answer emails and were completely vague, and that stuff makes me too damn anxious. I need order in my life, man! I’m totally expecting this course to be fun because we’re getting to read some really interesting books and write about them together, and what isn’t to love about this? As an online course, I think this will be super interesting, because we can all write back and forth rather quickly! I’m really hyped.

Hannah’s Introduction Post

Hello everyone! My name is Hannah Townzen. I grew up here in Edwardsville and decided to pursue my college career here at SIUE as well. I am a junior pursuing a bachelors in Psychology and a double minor in Criminal Justice and English. I am a proud member of greek life here on campus and am VERY involved on campus, as it brings so much joy into my life. As far as work goes, I serve tables at Texas Roadhouse and am a Student Teaching Assistant at the SIUE Early Childhood Center! I am also very blessed to have such amazing friends and loved ones in my life. When I am not working, you can usually find me with them or spending time with my boyfriend of nearly five years, Taylor.

Taylor and I this past spring break in San Diego, California
Me, smiling through the pain of having to go to work when all I want to do is take a nap

So as you can assume, I’m a pretty boring person because all I do is work. I have no exciting plans for this summer, but I’m hoping to fit in some trips to the Zoo or to Six Flags every now and again.

Image result for gif work work work

As far as reading goes, I don’t have as much time to read for pleasure anymore but when I can, I always find myself re-reading my favorite book: Wishing for Someday Soon, by Tiffany King. I have also really enjoyed the Hunger Games series, and have nearly completed Battle Royale. I have always found pleasure in my English courses because they motivate me to read new selections that usually I would never choose for myself. I have taken English 200 and 209 and enjoyed both very much.


Image result for time gif

I have taken in the course of my college career three online classes. Let me tell you, if you want to succeed and have a good grade, you need to check blackboard or in our case the WordPress website every day and keep up with all due dates! I have taken two anthropology courses and one meteorology course online, and all three have required my attention daily.

In this class, I would really love to push myself to read as much as possible this summer, because I know that extrinsic motivation helps me to learn a lot better. I have looked at our class schedule and I am very excited, because I have never read any of the selections, but have heard of many of them. I think that by taking this summer class, I will broaden my knowledge of YA literature as well as enjoy the time I will schedule to sit down, relax, and read.

Image result for gif reading
Spongebob, reading up on how to catch more Jellyfish.

I look forward to getting to know all of you through this course. As you can tell, I am here for a good time and really love expressing myself through humor. Thank you for attending my Ted Talk, lets have a great summer semester!!

-Hannah Townzen

Week 1–Alice in Wonderland, Initial Post

Getting Started with Initial Posts

This is my first example of a post to help guide your reading and thinking about the text. What I’ve discussed here is meant to get you off to a good start. If you find other topics of interest as you read, please feel free to comment on them either in response to this post or as a part of the primary blog discussion developed by your classmates.

In your weekly comments, I will specifically take note of your ability to engage with the content and questions I have proposed here. It is important that you visit all of the links below in order to fully understand and participate in our discussion.

Also, please take note of the format of this post. I’ve embedded links in the text, I’ve added descriptive captions to photos, I’ve explained why I’ve included the links that I have, and I’ve provided a works cited for all external materials discussed in the post. This same level of care is expected of you.

Also, please note that many of the links I’ve presented below are what I would characterize as reference materials. They come from reputable sources (e.g. BBC, The Victorian Web, The University of Virginia), but they aren’t necessarily peer-reviewed articles. These kinds of reputable reference sources are ideal for you two blog posts, but you’ll want something more thorough and vetted for your final project. See Purdue OWL for help citing your sources.

The Importance of Alice for Defining YA Lit

Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is one of the first exemplars of young adult literature. It opens our consideration of young adult literature as a genre because it is a hallmark of:

  • The use of fantasy in the genre
  • The characteristics of the “coming of age” story
  • nonsense as a method of exposing the irrationality of the rules and formalities of the adult world
  • The importance of gender identity in YA lit
  • The blending of themes perceived to be appropriate for women and children
  • Disguised sexuality
  • The unique perspective of adults imagining or conceptualizing the needs and identities of their Young Adult audiences.

Nostalgia and Victorian Depictions of Childhood

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) was a mathematician and a photographer as well as an author. Dodgson primarily photographed children whom he dressed in a variety of costumes, including street waif and Orientalist fantasy. Wealthy Victorians considered it a great honor to have their children chosen as models for Dodgson’s photographs. View some of these images, as well as Dodgson’s photos of the real Alice: Alice Liddell. From a modern perspective these images appear as both controversial and exploitative, but they may help us gain a more complicated perspective of the poem with which the novel opens detailing the book’s composition as a result of Dodgson’s outings with Alice and her sisters. If you look at the photos and find yourself at a loss for what to think of Dodgson’s relationship to young girls, this article from The Guardian might help temper your viewpoint some. This article from the Victorian Web about perceptions of childhood might also put Dodgson’s predilections in context for you.

The opening poem sets the stage for Carroll’s nostalgic depictions of childhood as a state. Why is this opening poem so essential to the text itself? Take the time to close read this epigraph. How does Carroll characterize childhood? How might Hemmings’ article help us to critique this understanding of childhood? In what was is this an adult’s perspective of childhood?

As these characterizations of the real Alice blend into the novel’s depictions of Alice “the dream child,” what do we see as the remarkable features of her character? What makes her “Alice?”


Gender is of continual importance in literary works because it is a core aspect of the formation of a person’s identity. Gender often takes on an even more critical role in young adult literature because characters in the genre are only just beginning to understand themselves and their place in the world. Going forward, it may help to understand that gender refers to a set of expectations that define people’s appearance and behavior in relationship to their sex. So, putting a baby girl in a pink outfit to announce her femininity is an example of gender at work. Telling a little boy who has fallen off his bicycle that real men don’t cry is another example of gender at work. While some people may feel at home in the gender ascribed to their sex, others do not.

Each culture and period has its own set of gender norms upon which people are judged and categorized. This article from the BBC will help you understand conceptions of womanhood during the Victorian period. How does Alice conform to or defy the expectations of proper womanhood during the period? Where in the text do we see her struggling with these definitions and trying to understand what they mean to her own identity?

Alice is also struggling with “growth.” How do her changes in size affect how she sees the world around her and her place in it? Does her perspective change throughout the novel? Do we see development in her character? What moments seem to be climactic for this development? Why?


Carroll wrote the novel during a moment of extensive expansion of the British empire, for a historical overview of empire, see this article from The Victorian WebWomen and children were often understood as ideal representations of the comforts and morality of the “home” that provided a safe location from which to imagine a masculine expansion of the empire. This short article from The Victorian Web, might help you conceptualize how women and children stood in relationship to the nation. Alice’s age, appearance, and class were all important in her development from child into middle class Victorian woman. Pick out examples that demonstrate the training Alice has already received in manners and mores. How has she understood this training? How has she adapted it? By the novel’s end, what sense do we have of her ability to resist these social ideologies? Tim Burton’s adaptation of the novel expands upon hints of Alice’s rebellious nature. How accurate is his revision of an older Alice?


Carroll wrote and published Alice during the “Golden Age of Illustration.” At the back of our book, you will notice Alice Underground, Carroll’s original manuscript with his own drawings of Alice. How do these compare to John Tenniel’s now iconic illustrations? Tenniel and Carroll worked closely together to illustrate and envision the images in relationship to the text. Find examples wherein the illustrations actively add to or contribute to the text. How do they do so? What would we lose without them?

Since’s its initial publication, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has undergone a long history of adaptation. The text was particularly inspiring to some of the earliest filmmakers.

This is the first filmed version of Alice’s Adventures  in Wonderland

The book has also been widely illustrated since Tenniel’s initial 1865 illustrations. Do a quick Google Image search of the novel’s illustrations and you will find several. Pay particular attention to those by Arthur Rackham and Jesse Wilcox Smith.

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland - Alice (fron...

Arthur Rackham’s Frontispiece depicting Alice, available for reuse on Wikimedia Commons.

Salvador Dalí’s 1962 illustrations are among the most remarkable demonstrations of the book’s adaptability.

Also see Barry Moser’s detailed woodcuts of Alice.

See Yayoi Kusama’s most recent modernist adaptations of the book in this book trailer.

Works Cited

Abrams, Lynn. “Ideals of Womanhood in Victorian Britain.” BBC History Talks. 9 Aug. 2001. Web. 29 May 2015. <;.

Banerjee, Jacqueline. “Ideas of Childhood in Victorian Children’s Fiction: The Child as Innocent.” The Victorian Web. 13 Aug. 2007. Web. 29 May 2015. <;.

“Barry Moser.” R. Michelson Galleries. n.d. Web. 29 May 2015. <;.

Cody, David. “The British Empire.” Nov. 2000. Web. 29 May 2015. <;.

Cody, David. “The British Empire.” The Victorian Web. Nov. 2000. Web. 29 May 2015. <;.

“Just Good Friends?” The Guardian. 29 Oct. 2001. Web. 29 May 2015. <;.

Lee, Elizabeth. “Mothers and Madonnas.” The Victorian Web. 1996. Web. 29 May 2015. <;.

Popova, Maria. “Salvador Dalí Illustrates Alice in Wonderland.” Brain Pickings. n.d. Web. 29 May 2015. <;.

Sapir, J. David. “Rev. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, aka Lewis Carroll.” Fixing Shadows: Still Photography. University of Virginia. n.d. Web. 29 May 2015. <;.