Month: May 2011

The Eucatastrophic Ending

Posted May 17, 2011 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Literature / 0 Comments

Is it just me, or do eucatastrophic*, Hollywood or happy endings always seem like we are wrapping things up in a tiny little bow. I know there is a time and a place for this but I’ve found that life is not neatly wrapped up, so why do it in books or movies. I’m a big fan of noir and books like Wuthering Heights, Anna Karenina & Frankenstein, so maybe my opinion is biased. But I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately (especially in the aspect of movie adaptations changing the ending to make the story come together) and while I think there are many decent books with a happy ending (To Kill a Mockingbird, Shipping News or The Lord of the Rings) they just don’t sit well with me.

So why do I prefer a book with a more realistic ending? Apart from the fact that I like dark/gothic imagery, I think the fact that a book that ends on a less than happy note often has a more lasting effect on the reader, giving the reader something to ponder, talk about and even make them feel more superior than the protagonist.  Sure, happy endings leave their audiences happy; if only for a little while. For a lot of people, happiness is hard to come by and they like to escape at any chance. I think my major issue with happy endings is this simple fact; happy endings tend to be too predictable, and I like to be thrown off guard with an unexpected twist or plot turn.

I know there is a time and a place for a happy, sad or realistic ending. I would like to know what you think in regards to the advantages and disadvantages of happy endings.


*Eucatastrophe is a term coined by J. R. R. Tolkien which refers to the sudden turn of events at the end of a story which result in the protagonist’s well-being.

Autodidact Vs. Higher Education

Posted May 5, 2011 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Education / 0 Comments

While I love considering myself as an autodidact, my thirst for knowledge is growing so strong, that now I am considering going to uni to study a Bachelor of Arts focusing in English Literature – there are probably heaps of subjects I would love to study, but I think this one will suit me best.

For those who are unsure autodidacticism is learning on your own and an autodidact is someone that teaches themselves. I have developed my own education philosophy, in which I try to learn or make sense of something every week and then write about it in a blog post. I have this fear that I might be wrong or missing interesting elements of a topic. The other draw card to studying this via a university is the degree; who knows, it might get me a job, working in a field I’m passionate about.

The drawback of going to study – for me – is the fear that the classroom may kill my passion for learning. Over the past few years, this passion has been growing and growing; what started with Culture, expanded into Art History, Literature, Philosophy and now Educational Theories. I know that all these topics go hand in hand, but if I lose my passion, what will I do then?

I’ve been left with a difficult decision and while I’m worried about it, I think my thirst for knowledge far outweighs my fears. Though I think I will start out small; I will start with something basic (as I will need to study part time) and just take the subject in Critical reading.

I would love to know others’ thoughts in Autodidact verses Higher Education and I would love to know how others journey into higher learning went.