A Beginning: Discovering Literary Elements in Castles and Everyday Places

Back in high school, I never considered myself much of a reader or writer. Sure, I loved reading manga and challenging my writing skills in anime RPG forums, but it was all non-academic to me. My teachers always seemed disappointed or disinterested in these hobbies, so I wrote them off as being purely entertainment. It wasn't until years later that I made the connection that my hobbies could be studied and used for growth and academics...

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Family Dynamics in Gravity Falls [OWLS August Blog Tour: Bloodlines]

Everyone has their own experience with and definition of family –some positive, some negative. In the media, however, we often only see certain portrayals such as a positive family with one mom, one dad, and children, or a broken family who all work together to change their ways in the end. In his hit animated series Gravity Falls, Alex Hirsch tackles the complicated issues that shape families and addresses the fact that not all families are ideal, but that doesn't make them bad...

Allusions: A Literary Niche

When we talk, we often make references to popular culture in order to convey information quickly. If a person says “Sam acts like such a Romeo,” they mean that Sam is a romantic person. Calling the internet a Garden of Eden shows that the internet is a plentiful place that fills the needs of its users. We don’t usually stop to explain these references to our listeners; we assume that they have prior knowledge on the subject and thus understand. These references are called allusions, and they appear in many elements of pop culture, including video games...

Mirrors in Wandering Son: Navigating Visual Gender Norms [OWLS July Blog Tour: Mirrors]

Being transgender is tough. Every stage of the long, multi-step transition process contains sharp twists and turns, as well as hoop after hoop that people must jump through just to be themselves. On top of it all, trans individuals have to overcome discrimination and social rejection, which can put them in very real danger of … Continue reading Mirrors in Wandering Son: Navigating Visual Gender Norms [OWLS July Blog Tour: Mirrors]

Theme Delivery Service

Themes give creative works their personality. You can’t play a video game, read a comic, or watch a show without running into some sort of theme. When romance blossoms in a particular shoujo anime, or a character proves that staying true to yourself works better than faking your personality, you’ve got theme. For a deeper understanding of this literary device, let’s take a look at the 1989 film Kiki’s Delivery Service...

Framed Stories: Fiction Inside Fiction with Adventure Time and Ponys

If every author followed the exact same formula for crafting stories, their readers would languish in boredom! Creators constantly combine different storytelling techniques and literary devices in order to make their works shine amid a sea of...

Symbolism Bonus: Rise of the Guardians

While discussing Over the Garden Wall, we took a look at a few specialized symbols from the show. I know that symbolism can take a few tries to understand, so I wrote this as a follow-up to explore a specialized symbol in another work. Let’s take a look at Rise of the Guardians...

Symbolism in Over the Garden Wall

One of the fastest ways to kill someone’s interest in a tough topic like symbolism is to set them up with a novel they end up hating. So instead, let’s explore this element through pop culture in order to get a better understanding of it and how authors use it to ...