Thursday, April 10, 2014

Project Proposal -- Productivity Analysis of Major Characters

Taking my own knowledge from Industrial Engineering and One-Dimensional Man, I will analyze the productivity of characters in multiple books we’ve read this semester. To evaluate these characters, I will compare their actions to the definition of productivity given to Industrial Engineers, and the definition Marcuse assigns to it.

Marcuse defines productivity as everything that is done is done in order to reach an end. The end must be defined at the beginning, and all actions must be done to create the end. In addition, some things, like art, are ends in themselves. This idea is somewhat different from productivity as Industrial Engineers know it. I will compare the two, and then continue on to analyze the stories described below by the definition’s similarities, and the aspects that make them different.

The characters and respective works that I will be analyzing are as follows:
  •   Victor Frankenstein: I will analyze Frankenstein during two stages: his design and first creation stage, and when the monster is alive. Basically, my argument will be that he was productive in the first stage but collapsed when the monster was actually created. He did not follow through on the end that he envisioned, and uses his time very unwisely.
  • Wintermute: I will analyze how Wintermute reaches his goal of transcendence by uniting with Neuromancer. He uses people as tools, and I will determine if this was productive. In addition, I will analyze Wintermute’s ends and see if everything he did was for that purpose.
  •  Will Navidson: In “The Navidson Record”, does Will take a productive path to understanding his home? What ends does he have in mind? Were these ends met? This final question will be answered with my completion of the novel.
  • You (a.k.a the players of Dear Esther): This argument is characteristically different than the other three. The main question I’m asking is, is there productive and a not productive way to play Dear Esther? Using the two definitions, there most definitely is. In this example, I will have to define the correct ends for playing the game, which I think is spurring thought.

One last thing: Why should you care about my argument? Understanding how productive the characters are, create a better understanding of their respective stories. If they aren’t being as productive as possible, the points where they do unproductive things have meaning to the story. They add to the storyline, but not necessarily the main one. I will point out in each respective story how their unproductivity is adding to another part other than the main storyline.

Proposed Bibliography:

Muller, Herbert J. The Children of Frankenstein: A Primer on Modern Technology and Human Values. Ontario: Fitzhenry &Whiteside Limited, 1970. Print.
I will use this source to better understand science and productivity in Frankenstein.

Sakamoto, Shigeyasu. "4. Definition of Productivity/ Requirements for Improving It." Springer Link. Springer-Verlag London Limited 2010, n.d. Web. 10 Apr. 2014.
This source will give me clear definitions of productivity as it relates to Industrial Engineering. I will use this in addition to my knowledge from classes.

Vivas, Eliseo. Contra Marcuse. New Rochelle, NY: Arlington House, 1971. Print.
I will use this source to understand Marcuse better, especially how he thinks of productivity.

And of course…

Danielewski, Mark Z. House of Leaves. New York: Pantheon, 2000. Print.
Gibson, Willam. Neuromancer. New York: Berkely Group, 1984. Print.
Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft, and Lynd Ward. Frankenstein: The Lynd Ward Illustrated Edition. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 2009. Print.

“Dear Esther”. Thechineseroom. 2008

1 comment:

Adam said...

This is way too imaginative and interesting for me to oppose it, and the topic shows that you have an unusual but extremely interesting angle on Marcuse. So I like the idea a lot. My singular concern/objection is that doing four books/works is a lot - if you stay in the 8-10 page range, that's only 2 pages each. Using a smaller sample of works in order to articulate and advance your ideas about productive & art might be better. My recommendation would be too focus on 1-2 rather than 4. If you want to do all four, do it in such a way that you have one central focus, with the other works helping your analysis of that main work. In any case, be very cautious of trying to strike a balance among all four unless you're open to doing a rather long essay.