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Cabrilla R.
Composition and Literature Tutor. Grad Student at Mills College.
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Writing
TutorMe
Question:

In your opinion, what is the best way to begin the process of writing and why?

Cabrilla R.
Answer:

I always begin my processes of writing by creating a tentative outline with page numbers and sub-headings. Usually, I know my topic before I begin writing. However, if I do not have a specific topic, I narrow it down. I consider the specific aspects of the topic that I am interested in. For instance, if I am asked by a professor to write about World War II, I know that I will need to narrow my topic down because of the copious information on WWII available. I am often interested in gender, ethnic studies, sociology, theater and media studies. Therefore, I know that my strengths lie in writing about what interest me. My topic might be: the depiction of queer women of color in theater during the WWII era. I will be able to find very specific, scholarly examples about my topic. After finding my topic, I begin my research in print books written by university presses and scholarly journal articles on sites like Proquest and J-stor. I usually try to find one scholarly source per page of my paper (if I am writing a 10 page paper, I will find 10 scholarly sources that directly relate to my topic). Then, I take the basic information I have found in my research and create a page by page outline of my paper. I take into consideration my introduction, thesis, close reading, analysis and conclusion. This way, the writing process is so much less stressful and intimidating. I often change my outline several times during revision. Even when I change my outline, I can analyze the scope of my "road map" and make sure I have a cohesive paper.

Gender Studies
TutorMe
Question:

How does Modern Family challenge or reaffirm stereotypes about traditional masculinity in gay men? Use specific examples and integrate theory.

Cabrilla R.
Answer:

Phil and Claire perceive Alex’s prom date as Gay after only a few moments of speaking with him. All of their assumptions, of course, are based on either a performance of stereotypical gay male queerness or a lack of performance of rigid and toxic traditional masculinity. When Alex’s unnamed prom date barges through the door, he exclaims, “You look flawless. Did I not say coral was the color for you? Look at your skin¨ (Baby on Board). After this line, the audience is supposed to automatically understand that the prom date is gay. Then, Alex states, in a matter of words that she is his beard and that the date does not know he is gay. Ultimately, outsiders do not determine sexuality. No one knows a person’s sexual orientation better than themselves. Phil, Claire, and Alex out her prom date to the mockumentary cameras. Outing Alex’s prom date seems benign, but it is disgusting. If he is, in fact gay, which one cannot tell by his mannerisms and affinity for coral tones, the only person who should out Alex’s date is himself. Sexuality, no matter how it is expressed, is deeply personal. Judith Butler asks, “Can sexuality even remain sexuality once it submits to a criteria of transparency and disclosure…” (1515). Here, Butler questions the cognitive dissonance of the personal and sensitive nature of one’s sexuality with heteronormative societies desperate need to know who’s gay and who’s not and to mock them for when they do or do not come out. When Alex declares that her date is not closeted, but unaware of his gayness, she does not comment on his sexuality but on his refusal to perform traditional masculinity. Judith Butler references “Gender as the site of… psychic mimes” (Butler 1523). According to Butler, gender is a performance, a copycat to fit into or to obstruct rigid patriarchal roles. Gender is not inherent. Alex’s prom date is protesting the so-called tenants of masculinity through his performance of gender. Alex’s prom date may be “producing gayness,” meaning he performs a stereotype of what heteronormative America perceives gay to look like (Butler 1517). Alex’s prom date’s actions may be a performative commentary on the perception of his sexuality. His actions may also be an expression of his true sexuality. In any case, it is very presumptuous and cruel for Alex to out him on camera for laughs or for Phil and Claire to mock him with their facial expressions. This mirrors the struggles that queer youth endure for a quick, unresolved laugh. The irony is not that Alex is eschewing the Dunphy’s perception of gender, but that Phil and Claire’s small fears about Alex losing her virginity at prom are cast aside because her date is supposed to read as obviously gay. While the normative white family is grappling with a prom date who does not grasp his own perceived sexuality, the stereotypical gay couple is in depicted traveling to meet the birth family of their potential adoptee. Works Cited “Baby on Board.” Modern Family. 20th Century Fox. 2012. Amazon Prime. Butler, Judith. “Imitation and Gender Insubordination.” The Critical Tradition. Ed. David H. Richter. Boston: Bedford/ St. Martin’s, 1998. 1514-1523. Print.

English
TutorMe
Question:

What are three different scholarly perspectives on the application of psychoanalytic theory in Federico Garcia Lorca's play The House of Bernarda Alba?

Cabrilla R.
Answer:

Gomez, Knapp, and Gabriele apply psychoanalytic theories to The House of Bernarda Alba. While Gabriele and Knapp mention Maria Josefa in passing, Gomez considers her an integral character. Gomez applies Nietzsche’s concept of “master” and “slave” moralities to Bernarda and Maria Josefa. He determines that Bernarda is the “slave” and Maria Josefa is the “master.” Maria Josefa exemplifies master character because she determines her own values. He links Maria Josefa with Adela. He believes both are “marginalized due to individuality” (Gomez 235). Gomez’ postulation is important. Although she is physically oppressed by Bernarda, Gomez believes that Maria Josefa is the only mentally free character. Gomez rejects the idea that Maria Josefa is nothing more than an embarrassing “example” of Bernarda’s “autocratic” rule (Gabriele 192). Knapp calls Maria Josefa “senile” and likens her to a jester (390). Both Knapp and Gabriele discuss Bernarda’s inner desire to rule. Knapp uses Freudian analysis, theorizing that Bernarda is a mental “hermaphrodite” (384). Gabriele uses post Freudian analysis to examine why Bernarda lacks “the female’s maternal instinct” (188). However, Gomez highlights Maria Josefa’s importance as a character, noting that her constant cry for “las orillas del mar” or the seashore is a representation of a “clear sexual desire/need” (228). Unlike Knapp and Gabriele, Gomez realizes the power of Maria Josefa’s demands for liberation. Works Cited Gabriele, John P. "Of Mothers And Freedom: Adela's Struggle For Selfhood In La Casa De Bernarda Alba." Symposium 47.3 (1993): 188-199. Academic Search Premier. Web. 4 Oct. 2016. Gómez, Michael A. "La Casa De Bernada Alba: A Nietzschean Reading." Bulletin Of Hispanic Studies (1475-3839) 87.2 (2010): 221-239. Academic Search Premier. Web. 4 Oct. 2016. Knapp, B. L. "Federico García Lorca's The House of Bernarda Alba: A Hermaphroditic Matriarchate." Modern Drama, vol. 27 no. 3, 1984, pp. 382-394. Project MUSE. Web. 4 Oct. 2016.

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