The Myriad - Westminster's Interactive Undergraduate Academic Journal Website
Spring 2007

Spring 2007

The Spring 2007 issue of the Myriad is our pilot issue. Feedback is greatly appreciated and will be used to create guidelines for future issues of this journal.


Invisible Laborers
by Tiffany Kinney
Even though industrialization transforms the traditional pastoral, it continues to function as a method of oppression, by obscuring economic relationships, through directed focus and dialectic theory. Conrad’s Heart of Darkness reflects the traditional pastoral, characterized by “some form of retreat and return” (Gifford 1). By focusing on nature through Marlow’s journey, the African natives become part of the periphery, thereby allowing for exploitation. Howard’s End reflects a transition from the “popular and sentimental [pastoral] to one that is imaginative and complex” (Marx 5). Mrs. Dalloway makes the final leap into a “pastoral of the mind,” where characters retreat into their thoughts to escape bustling London (Gifford 10). Morphing into an imaginative pastoral continues to obscure laborers’ relationship with the land by replacing the land.

The Metaphor of the Pastoral in Heart of Darkness and The Return of the Soldier
by Kirsty McLaren 
Since the beginning of the British literary canon, there has been a unique relationship between the country and the city. In his work The Country and the City, Raymond Williams directs pastoral theory towards English literary composition in order to clarify trends in pastoral writing. Using an escalator as a metaphor for the historical perspective of rural values, Williams finds that the historical period influences the rural aspect in British attitudes and literature: “Old England, settlement, the rural virtues—all these, in fact, mean different things at different times, and quite different values are being brought to question” (Williams 12). The different trends in the pastoral movement can be followed into modern literature as shown through the analysis of Terry Gifford. Gifford presents the multitude of pastoral meaning, arguing that there are three different kinds of pastoral: 1) the retreat and the return; 2) a direct contrast between the country and the city; 3) the pastoral as “pejorative” (Gifford 2). While he does not recognize a fourth form of the pastoral, Gifford acknowledges post-pastoral criticism and raises the question of whether the pastoral can exist in the twentieth century.

Moral Responsibility in a Deterministic Universe
by Ray Bradford
Philosopher Daniel Dennett provides a sufficient definition of determinism on page one of his book Elbow Room when he states, “All physical events are caused and determined by the sum total of all previous events.” When people conceive of the choices they must navigate in everyday life, they appear to implicitly assume such an outlook on the universe--after all, choosing between alternatives only proves meaningful if one deterministically expects certain choices to result in certain consequences. Yet the application of determinism to human behavior itself elicits overwhelming hostility. A primary criticism tends to center on the issue of moral responsibility. Critics often argue with a mixture of disbelief and indignation that the concession of a deterministic universe (from which human behavior is not exempt) would entail the breakdown of morality and personal responsibility. They contend that if humans lack the capacity to act otherwise given a set of initial conditions in the universe, morality loses its basis of rationality and its raison d’être. They not only find such a world preposterous, but they imagine society would spontaneously disintegrate into anarchy as individuals justify their unbridled selfishness with “I could not have done otherwise.”


Searching for Sanctity: The literary reaction to Russian society in the Nineteenth Century
By Spencer C. Woolley
For centuries, to be a Russian meant embracing divinity, worshipping an awe-inspiring, omnipotent, mostly benevolent God. Since Vladimir I accepted Orthodoxy as the religion of the Kievan state in 988, the idea of Christian spirituality infused the Russian character. Mystical yet simple, Russian Orthodoxy endured the Mongols, outlasted tsars and promised miserable peasants deep meaning to their immediate suffering and imminent salvation after death. Robert K. Massie says in Peter the Great,

Procreation, Hedonism, Artistry and Erotica in James Joyce’s Ulysses
by Joshua Ivie
Stylistically gargantuan, James Joyce’s Ulysses takes what the author established in his earlier preceding works (namely Dubliners and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man) and not only builds The Modernist Literary Gauntlet, but runs it, too. The megalithic novel Joyce authored invokes a seemingly endless catalogue of themes and styles which Joyce uses to characterize his protagonists and establish some semblance of a baseline for their streaming conscious thoughts. Joyce was able to draw his readers into the thoughts of his characters—whether they want to be drawn into them or not—and does so by showing the reader that his protagonists are not too far afield from the reader his or herself. In the novel Ulysses, James Joyce uses a frank and often erotic portrayal of sex as a universal metaphor for the human condition. This paper will examine the differences between the portrayals of procreative sex versus sex purely for pleasure. After having established how sex is portrayed thematically, this paper will discuss how these portrayals place sex in the functional context of art versus erotica.