The Printing Press

Features | Survey Says |  Announcements

  The Printing Press is the English Department Newsletter. Its purpose it to inform major and minors about programs and activities within the department. The Press will inform readers of activities and opportunities outside of Monmouth College. For any questions or submissions, contact, or

In This Issue

Why Every English Major has NO Excuse Not to Study Abroad...Anywhere

 by Sarah Zaubi

I basically came to college to study abroad (that’s only a slight exaggeration).  I remember actually refusing schools solely because they didn’t offer tuition exchange, and by the time I was done with my school search, I had probably opened no less than 20 interviews with the line, “so tell me about your study abroad program.”

Despite this level of almost obsessive commitment, I realize that coming in as a freshmen, I actually had very little understanding of where exactly I could go.  I could list at least four separate programs that offered tuition exchange and college credit, yet if you had asked me exactly where I wanted to go, I probably would have just said, “Um…anywhere?” Of course, in my mind as an English major, I suddenly had this idea that the only place I could study abroad was England. Because that’s what English majors do, right? They go to the tipping point of the English language and just bathe in all that English. Shakespeare? Check. Really old books? Check check check. Add to this the assumption of many of my peers and family that as an English major I had no choice but to go to a “first world” English speaking country, and it seemed that I had little choice in the matter.

But here’s the thing (and I am in no way trying to diminish the value of a U.K. program), I think that as English majors it’s easy to forget that other cultures have literature, which seems rather silly.  You don’t need to go to Britain, or even an English-speaking country, to be blown away by the written word.  Or, like me, you may go to a country like India that, with years of colonial rule in its past and a political system written in English, actually contains a wealth of Diaspora and native English texts. You don’t have to have English in your English major; you can deviate.  Many of the works I read in India in addition to the native English works were translations from one of the many languages that make up Indian literature, and guess what, that’s still literature!  Unfortunately, as English majors, we often spend the majority of our education pursuing the works of the classic “dead white guys,” as they are often fondly referred to.  While that is slowly changing with the occasional addition of women and so called “minority” writers to the canon, we still spend very little time looking at translated works from African, Asian, South American and other non-English speaking countries. It as if the very effort of translating them diminishes their value, and they don’t gain any value at all until they are translated into English. Because of this, I think, it’s easy to be dismissive of the literature of other countries, which is why I cannot encourage students enough, especially English majors, to experience the wealth of stories and biographies being generated by those outside of our English speaking bubble.  As the world becomes more and more globalized, we are finding ourselves woefully unable to identify with other cultures, which is a shame since as students we are given the opportunity to peer almost directly into the inner workings of another culture through their literature.  There is so much to gain from the information and philosophies presented in the works of non-English texts that it seems unreasonable to privilege one over the other.

Once again, I’m not saying that programs in English speaking countries are bad or non-valuable.  I am merely trying to reiterate the value of sending those who study literature to non-English speaking countries in the wake of globalization and the growing influence of countries like India and China. As English majors we are in a unique position.  We are trained over the course of four years to read deeply into a text beyond the words themselves and think critically of what we are consuming.  If a culture or country expresses itself most deeply and most honestly through its art, and I’m arguing that it does, than we as students who study literature critically are arguably in the best position to connect with and understand cultures on a different level. What better way to do that then to not just read the works, but actually live and study in the country that produces the works, and fully immerse yourself in the host country? For example, Not only was I reading Khushwant Singh’s Train to Pakistan in India, I was listening to my elderly neighbor in Pune recall the trauma of his Hindu family’s flight from Pakistan to India in the wake of the partition, and maybe in some way beginning to understand how those wounds can still be festering.  Oh, and that other book written by a “dead white guy” Passage to India? I can tell you it makes a whole lot more sense when you yourself are Adela Quested futilely and comically searching for the “real India.”

So go, just for goodness sakes GO. Go to India, go to Tanzania, go to China or Norway or Greece or Brazil. Heck, if you can swing it, go to the Middle East. I can guarantee we will all benefit from more students in our generation trying to understand Middle Eastern culture. Or, if England or Scotland is more your thing, then go. Go bathe in all that English, and be a better person because of it.  The United States isn’t getting any bigger, and pretty soon we’ll have fewer and fewer excuses to privilege our literature over others.

A Book-to-Film Review: The Hunger Games


by Stevie Croisant and Katie Struck

You might have noticed that the campus has been buzzing about the release of yet another young adult book-to-film adaptation with Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games. And while it is no doubt that the film was successful in the box office (grossing $152.2 million on its opening weekend and celebrating the third best opening weekend of all time behind only Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 and The Dark Knight, according to as English majors, we often have very different criteria for the level of success of a film adaptation of a beloved book. Stevie Croisant and Katie Struck are going to share their thoughts on the changes made to the story and how they feel about the film as a whole.  Be warned, there are spoilers for the book and the film.

What did you think of the casting of the film? Do you feel the actors accurately portrayed the characters?

When watching previews for
The Hunger Games, I was worried that Jennifer Lawrence who played the protagonist, Katniss Everdeen, wouldn’t be a good fit. I had always pictured Katniss as a thinner character since she lived in such a lower class of Panem. I assumed she would look more malnourished than she did in the movie. However, Lawrence did a fantastic job as Katniss and was able to act out Katniss’s rough exterior while also cluing the audience into her wounded interior. You can see the conflicts Katniss has with Haymitch’s plan to make Katniss fall in love with Peeta.

Josh Hutcherson who played Peeta also did a fantastic job, and he also looked just as I pictured him when reading the books. He was perfect at looking timid and lost in the woods. His dependence on Katniss is perfected through his portrayal of Peeta.

Effie, played by Elizabeth Banks, was another great casting choice. She not only played up Effie’s snobbiness but had the right look when put into her district’s bright purple clothes, gleaming eye makeup and obnoxious fashion accessories.

The casting of the movie was really well done. Jennifer Lawrence, who played Mystique in the newest X Men movie, played Katniss Everdeen. Lawrence’s portrayal made me care about Katniss and admire her just as I did in the book. I cried when she volunteered for Prim. I cheered when she shot the arrow at the apple in the pig’s mouth and scared the crap out of the game masters. I bawled when Katniss sang to Rue. Lawrence had me rooting for her 100% of the time.

Other than Katniss, Peeta was the most important character to me since he is one of those characters that I would date if it was at all possible. Josh Hutcherson played Peeta. I’d never seen him in any movie, but I was really impressed by how well he played the sweet, artistic, baker boy that stole my heart. He was very convincing as being hopelessly devoted to Katniss, and he was as charismatic and likable in the movie as he was in the book.

One character that I really enjoyed from the movie but did not really shine for me in the books was Wes Bentley as Seneca Crane. First, I thought it was just his artistically angular beard, but then, he also seemed like a sympathetic, corrupted, and ambitious character. Instead of seeming like a one dimensional blip of a character as he seemed in the book, he was fleshed out through scenes with him being interviewed by Caesar Flickerman, talking to President Snow, and controlling the games. This made me feel frustrated when Crane did not understand how much he underestimated both Katniss’s rebellion and President’s Snow’s rage, and it made the final choice of Seneca Crane between poisonous berries and starvation all the more jarring.

The only character that I was not impressed with was Donald Sutherland as President Snow. In the book, President Snow strikes fear into my heart and fills my nostrils with blood and roses. He still has the association of roses in the movie, but the grandfatherly appearance of Sutherland seems to take away from the intimidation factor with Snow. Also, he seems more quiet and subtle in his power where he seemed more blatant in his power and corruption in the book. 

How did you feel about the sets that the filmmakers created, particularly District 12, the Capitol and the Arena?

The set for District 12 could not have been any better. It brings every aspect from the books alive as each person and house is the epitome of poverty. Even the nice dress Katniss wears to the reaping is something seen in old black and white photos of people living during the depression. The set comes even more to life when giant aircraft from the Hunger Games directors enter the district. The fancy, technological machines are so contrasting to the setting around them.

Another well done set was the arena. While watching the movie, I recognized the landscape as that from the southern Appalachian region of the Unites States, which is a genius place to have such an arena due to the rugged and rocky landscape and vibrant green foliage.

I felt like the sets that the filmmakers created stayed true to the book. The shacks and the images of starvation and poverty in the district were very affecting. I didn’t picture the Hub as grisly and decrepit as it is in the movie. It seemed like a gray and dismal outdoor market where the old woman gives Katniss the Mockingjay pin in the movie. It made me sad that people would live there and made me believe that without Gale and Katniss hunting then everyone may starve.

In contrast, the Capitol is bright and rich and shining. There were gadgets everywhere and the walls shine with frequent polishing. It’s the picture of over indulgence, and it fits with the images of the capitol from the book. The costumes and make up in the capitol made it really memorable. Everyone seemed pinched and painted and bright and colorful, which made the first trip into the capitol for District twelve’s tributes and me more fantastic.

Finally, the arena was great but the cornucopia did not look at all like I pictured it. The arena was filled with trees and had a pond and sets of caves just like I thought it would. It reminded me of Katniss’s forest. The one disappointing part of the arena set was the cornucopia. When I read the book, I pictured a huge, golden version of the Thanksgiving centerpiece. However, the movie cornucopia looked like a modern metal house of mirrors.

Was there anything that was changed or left out that really bothered you or you felt diminished your experience with the movie?

I saw this movie with my boyfriend who decided not to read the books before watching the film. He did not quite understand why I had been talking about Gale so much when, according to him, Gale wasn’t even an important character. I think the relationship between Katniss and Gale could have been built up better. Granted, the movie is already two and half hours long, but the scene they share together does not quite portray how important Gale is to Katniss. Hopefully in the next movie, the directors will build that relationship better since for one, Gale will have a bigger role in the next movie, and Gale is also much more important to Katniss and her family than the first film depicted.

The two changes made in the movie that bothered me were where the pin came from and how the mutts looked. In the book, Katniss’ pin is from her friend Madge, the mayor’s daughter. In the movie, Madge never appears and the pin comes from a woman at the Hub in town. I liked how the friendship between Katniss and Madge developed in the book because it showed that Katinss was more human and caring and normal by having a few best friends that she could rely on, so without Madge in the movie, it took away a part of Katniss. Also, the mutts in the book had the eyes of the dead tributes and were used to freak out the tributes that still lived. Picturing this while reading the book made this scene not only creepy but also depressing. In the movie, the mutts were powerful and intimidating; they made me jump out of my seat from fear when they first ran after Peeta and Katniss, but without the eyes of the former tributes, it was not as affecting of a scene because the power of the capitol to use dead tributes to their advantage was missing.

Were there any changes that were made that you felt helped or enhanced the film?

To be completely honest, I read the
Hunger Games trilogy when I was still in high school and haven’t had the time to pick them back up again. My memory of the exact details of the books has faded, so when watching the movie, I really did not notice any major switches from the book to the film version. Before watching the movie, I did look up several reviews, and one site in particular, said that in the film, Katniss’s dress would not be the firey dress that was loved in the book. I was so worried the film would not have that dress, but was relieved to see it in the movie. It was much different than I had pictured it in my head while reading, but I’m glad the review I read was completely false.

Although I really missed Madge’s presence in the movie and the fact that Madge gave Katniss the mockingjay pin, I did like how the mockingjay became a gift between sisters. When Katniss gave Prim the pin to keep her safe and Prim’s name was pulled anyway, I saw how shocked Katniss and Prim looked. Then, when Katniss volunteered as tribute in Prim’s place, I teared up as Prim gave Katniss the pin to keep her safe in the games. It made me wonder as I never had whether the pin as a symbol of rebellion kept Katniss safe and whether it would have kept Prim safe if Prim had kept it. Adding this level of connection between the sisters worked well.

What was your favorite part of the film?

My favorite part from the film was the reaping. I feel embarrassed admitting this, but I felt like crying when Prim was called up. There was so much energy in that scene, and even though the idea behind a hunger game is sick and demented, it wasn’t until that moment, when a young girl was called up the stage to fight in a game she would most likely die in, did the sickness behind the games really sink in. When Katniss volunteered as tribute, of course it was one of the most courageous things someone could do, but that moment felt real. That scene was most definitely my favorite.

My favorite scenes are the most touching scenes of the movie, the cave scenes and Rue’s death. I liked seeing how Peeta and Katniss took care of each other and how Katniss fell in love with Peeta. The other scene that really affected my emotions was Rue’s death. As Rue and Katniss bonded in the arena starting with Rue pointing out the tracker jacker nest to Katniss, I grew to care about Rue more and more and saw how Katniss took care of her like she took care of Prim. This is why when Rue dies from a stab wound, I really liked seeing the scene that really made emotional in reading the book as Katniss sang to Rue, surrounded her with flowers, and saluted district 11. I was a little worried that the actress might not be able to sing the lullaby to Rue so that even birds fell silent, but her singing was soft and emotionally rich. It was an appropriate send off to a great character.

What was your least favorite part of the film?

My least favorite part of the film was the ending of the game. I know in the book, the ending did not seem as awkward. In the movie, when the characters are stopped from committing their Romeo and Juliet-like demise, the games just suddenly end. There was an awkward pause to the movie where Peeta and Katniss just looked up at the sky confused, void of any other emotions. There wasn’t any instant joy or sorrow, just a blank expression from both of them.

As a member of Team Peeta, I should say any part where Gale showed up was my least favorite part, but my least favorite scenes were the train scenes. They felt awkward with how little Katniss said and how desperately Peeta tried to get her to talk to him. Haymitch did save those scenes somewhat with his sarcasm and harshness. Plus, I cracked up when Haymitch stopped Peeta with his feet.

How many stars out of five would you give The Hunger Games?

Despite the few errors in the film,
The Hunger Games is one of the best book to movie adaptations I have seen in a while. The casting was brilliant and the scenes were very well done. I’m already anxious to see the second film and I’m angry I lent out my Hunger Games books, because I won’t get to reread them in a while. The Hunger Games deserves 4.5 stars. I hope the second one is just as good.

I would give it a well deserved five out of five stars for sticking to the original story and bringing it to life.

2012-2013 English Courses

Fall 2012

English 180: Introduction to Literature: Young Adult Literature for the 21st Century
A general literature course for non-majors that does not count for the English major or minor. It is, however, cross-listed with the women's studies minor. This course will study contemporary young adult literature. We’ll talk about the use of literary devices such as characterization, plot, and figurative language and look for common strategies as well as differences among texts. We will also focus on the role of the protagonist as a stand-in for young adult readers and consider issues of gender, race, culture, sexual orientation, and class. I’m still working on a final list of texts (because there are so may I love), but highly likely candidates include Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games, Malinda Lo’s Huntress, Sherman Alexie’s, The True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Kelly Link’s Pretty Monsters, Derrick Barnes’s We Could Be Brothers, Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief, Nnedi Okorafor’s Akata Witch, John Green’s The Fault in our Stars, Pam Muñoz Ryan’s Esperañza Rising, and Sheri Reynold’s The Sweet In-Between. One Credit. (Solberg)

English 200: Introduction to English Studies
A gateway to the English major, this course is designed to introduce majors to the broad range of scholarship and practice within the discipline of English. Included will be emphasis on close reading and research skills, as well as overviews of the history of the discipline, creative writing, literary criticism and theory, and vocational paths. One Credit. (Hale)

English 210: Creative Writing
Practice in the writing and critical analysis of imaginative literary forms, especially poetry and fiction. One Credit. (Bruce)

English 220: British Survey I
A historical survey emphasizing literary and cultural developments in English literature from the Medieval through the Neoclassical periods. One Credit. (Belschner)

English 224: American Survey I
One of two introductory surveys in American literature emphasizing literary movements, and cultural and historical developments in the literature of the United States. Readings will include: native American creation myths; explorer narratives; poetry, fiction and non-fiction from such writers as Bradstreet, Cotton Mather, Edwards, Franklin, Cooper, Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne, Poe, Whitman, Melville and Dickinson. One Credit. (Bruce)

English 339: Chaucer
Why Why study old stuff that sounds funny?  In particular, why study the writings of the son of a vintner, a career diplomat, who died 612 years ago?  Three reasons.   First, because Geoffrey Chaucer is generally acknowledged to be the first real English literary figure – and acknowledgement which made him read and beloved of readers and writers since the moment of his publication (including Dr. Johnson and Dryden, amongst others).  Second, because the effort put into his language will be rewarded with a greater understanding of the history and linguistics of the English you speak, read, and write.  Third, because Chaucer is simply one of the funniest writers ever – a comedy deepened, as all good comedy is, by a serious understanding of the world in which he lived and the culture which he helped to create.  In this course we will begin with Chaucer’s shorter poems, building up our language skills, since reading Middle English does take some work.  Then we will move into his masterwork, The Canterbury Tales, spending the majority of our time focusing on the great cast of characters he allowed to carry his stories into literary history.  One Credit. (Willhardt)

English 347: Modern American Poetry
"Modern American Poetry” means 20
and 21st century poetry.  More Frost, Eliot, Pound; Marianne Moore, Wallace Stevens, William Carlos Williams, ee cummings, Langston Hughes, H.D., Elizabeth Bishop, John Berryman, Robert Bly, G. Brooks, Allen Ginsberg, Denise Levertov, Randall Jarrell, Maxine Kumin, Ann Sexton, R. Lowell, , Sylvia Plath, Adrienne Rich, Theodore Roethke, Mary Oliver, Gary Snyder, William Stafford, James Wright, Audre Lorde, Robert Hass, Josephine Miles, Amy Clampitt, Louise Gluck, Rita Dove, Philip Levine, Anthony Hecht, Sharon Olds, Alice Fulton, etc.  A few poems from many authors and several poems from a few authors   We will talk about “schools” of poetry, confessional poetry and the politics of identity, cultural historical and artistic connections; also about song lyrics, slams, performance art. One Credit. (Watson)

English 350: Literature and Religion in the 19th Century
(ENGL350/RELG250/PHIL250) will be cross-listed and team-taught by Rob Hale and Hannah Schell.  Students will read literary, philosophical, and religious texts from the long nineteenth-century (1789-1914) by authors including William Blake, George Eliot, Alfred Tennyson, Gerard Manley Hopkins, and Thomas Hardy on the literary side and Friedrich Schleiermacher, Soren Kierkegaard, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Friedrich Nietzsche on the philosophy/religious studies side – tracing the romantic reaction to the Enlightenment’s “religion of reason” and the rise of modern agnosticism and atheism. Students will examine how writers in both disciplines deal with religious, moral, and ethical issues and explore how writers in each discipline respond to historical circumstances in similar and different ways.  This course will count as the capstone for the 19th-century studies minor. One Credit. (Hale)

Spring 2013

English 200: Introduction to English Studies
A gateway to the English major, this course is designed to introduce majors to the broad range of scholarship and practice within the discipline of English. Included will be emphasis on close reading and research skills, as well as overviews of the history of the discipline, creative writing, literary criticism and theory, and vocational paths. One Credit. (Willhardt)

English 201: Grammar
A course that gives students practice in fundamental English grammar. Emphasizes basic skills, not theory. One Credit (Roberts)

English 210: Creative Writing
Practice in the writing and critical analysis of imaginative literary forms, especially poetry and fiction. One Credit. (Solberg)

English 221: British Survey II
A historical survey emphasizing literary and cultural developments in English literature from the Romantic through the Modern periods. One Credit. (Hale)

English 225: American Survey II
An introductory survey focusing on poetry and fiction written after the Civil War and before American involvement in the Second World War. Included are works from such writers as Jewett, Wharton, Twain, James, Kate Chopin, Crane, Pound, Robinson, Frost, Anderson, Stevens, Eliot, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, and Faulkner. Emphasis on literary, cultural, and historical movements. The course is a continuation of English 224, but may be taken alone and without regard to sequence. One Credit. (Watson)

English 299: Writing Fellows
This course is an introduction to the tutoring process, as well as basic pedagogical and developmental strategies for teaching writing. Course requirements will include readings in composition/tutoring theory and practice as well as tutoring in the Mellinger Teaching and Learning Center. Two Credits. (Draxler)

English 366: 1st 1/2 Semester: Wilde
will examine the life and work of Oscar Wilde.  We will read a variety of works including the novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, the plays Salome and The Importance of Being Earnest, and selected criticism, poems and short stories in historical and cultural context.  The works’ relationship to aestheticism, decadence, queer issues, and the fin de siècle will be of special interest. One Half Credit. (Hale)

English 366: 2nd 1/2 Semester: Becket and Pinter
will examine the plays of Samuel Becket including Waiting for Godot, Endgame, Krapp’s Last Tape, and Happy Days and Harold Pinter’s The Birthday Party, The Dumbwaiter, and The Homecoming.  We will read the works in historical context and watch selected performances on video, and in the theatre (if plays are produced in the region). One Half Credit. (Hale)

English 362: Shakespeare II: Tragedies and Romances
Studies in Shakespeare's tragedies and romances. One Credit. (Belschner)

English 400: Senior Seminar
An intensive study of key literary periods and subjects. Required of all senior English majors. One Credit. (Belschner)

Survey Says:

What are you reading over Spring Break?


I'm finishing Hilary Mantel's amazing Wolf Hall, will move on to Agatha Christie's Sleeping Murder, and then will start Nnedi Okorafor's Who Fears Death.

- Erika Solberg








Jesus' Son by Denis Johnson and A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore.

- Alex Kane




Franny and Zooey by J D Salinger !

- Allison Razo



Rereading Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit for senior sem!

- Ivy Bekker





To the Lighthouse
and a ton of feminist theory- thanks, senior seminar!

- Jackie Deskovich

I will be reading 13 Reasons Why over break for fun. Also, I'm planning on reading some books on queer theory focusing on religion and literature. It should be an interesting break.

- Katie Struck


  • Don't forget about the Writing Center when you're working on those troublesome papers! Located on the third floor of the Mellinger Learning Center, tutors are available Monday -Thursday 3-5pm and Sunday - Thursday 7-10pm!


Leanna Waldron

Stevie Croisant

Katie Struck

Features | Survey Says |  Announcements | Words of the Month


The Printing Press
Monmouth College English Department
Copyright © 2008 - All Rights Reserved
Contact Us: