Topoi Make the World Go ‘Round

Senior English major Riley Covaleski shares her thoughts about one of the first readings for the capstone course, ENGL 495 Senior Seminar. How many of us can relate?

You might also want to follow Riley’s full blog, Research & Realitea, so you can get updates throughout the semester!

Research & Realitea

When I first chose to major in English, I remember being uneasy about writing papers. I had done plenty of work in my high school English classes, but none of that seemed to relate to the work I would do for my college courses. As I came to realize, I was very wrong. According to “Sharing the Tacit Rhetorical Knowledge of the Literary Scholar” by Laura Wilder and Joanna Wolfe, that feeling of incompetence was a result of the instructions I was given when writing my papers in high school and even throughout my college career. While that vague tidbit makes sense—after all, instructions often do make or break the paper in terms of interpretation—what Wilder and Wolfe had to say was quite intriguing.

Apparently, the use of topoi as tools to explore a text versus topoi as walls to restrict creative thought is a debate that has been going…

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