Tag Archives: literature

9/11 attacks impacts American literature, inspires paranoia

“Everyone knows America is strong, but that’s not what it has to be” said Associate professor of English, Reshmi Dutt-Ballerstadt at her talk “The Anxious Canon: Post 9/11 Literatures.”  Dutt-Ballerstadt discussed how the United States has created a “literary missile,” in response to all of the books, magazines, newspapers, movies, and other forms of media that have created an industry off of the 9/11 attacks.

Dutt-Ballerstadt presented pictures that featured the nine emotional states in Indonesian culture.

Most of the men that expressed the nine emotional states were all bearded, and dark skinned. Naturally, they must be terrorists. Ballerstadt expressed how the United States have created and released this “war on terror” canon that seems to be never ending.

If people see someone that looks like how the men were described, they believe that they must be terrorists because of what society has come to believe.

The power of color was also heavily discussed. “The New Yorker” published their September 24, 2001 issue with a blank black cover.

Was this because the entirety of New York City was covered in ash, or because of the possible color of the skin of those who committed the attacks? Dutt-Ballerstadt went on to say that Marvel comic magazine also issued a blank cover in their first issue after 9/11.

The magazine issue featured Marvel characters reactions to the 9/11 attacks. Dutt-Ballerstadt presented her lecture at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 12 in Riley 201.

The unleashed canon has influenced much paranoia in the U.S. government. Since the attacks on September 11, 2001, the U.S. government has limited the size of bottles, and carry-on items allowed on airplanes amongst other things.

If travelers that are bearded and dark skinned wish to board an airplane it is more than likely security will do more of a check on them because of the almost hysterical paranoia that has engulfed the U.S. government. Dutt-Ballerstadt expressed that “Terrorism is a phenomena, terrorism has no country.”

The Muslim community was deeply affected after 9/11 attacks. American society began to believe that if someone wears a turban and has a beard they must be a Muslim.

Muslims were told to not leave their home or go to mosques as the F.B.I. was waiting outside their doors and at the mosques to see if the religious folks were also terrorists.

Dutt-Ballerstadt went into detail on methods used to torture inmates at the infamous Guantanamo bay prison.

Those that were interrogated about the 9/11 attacks were sometimes awakened in the night, or had offensive statements whispered in their ears in hopes of making them feel like commenting on if they took any part in the attacks, amongst many other forms of torture.

A form of “light torture” was having inmates listen to pop star, Christina Aguilera for hours on end. The U.S. began a practice of detaining individuals and deporting them as a way to get rid of terrorism.

Dutt-Ballerstadt presented powerful insights on this important topic and expressed a question, stating, “Who are the barbarians? Those that are tortured, or those who torture?”

Jonathan Williams / Opinion editor

Jonathan      Williams        can                 be                   reached        at


Looking out for the bright flames of literature

Senior Austin Schilling has been working with English professor Dave Sumner on an anthology of fire lookout stories since last summer.

Schilling might co-author the introduction to the anthology, but Sumner is the primary author.

“It’s been going great,” Sumner said. “Austin, he’s a bright kid, and he’s excited about this project.”

Sumner chose Schilling as his research assistant and possible co-author.

“I chose him because I’d had him in a class, and he’s president of the English honor society of the college,” Sumner said. “He’d also been helping with other stuff before he got the grant.”

Schilling is very interested in the type of nature literature he and Sumner have been reading and bringing together.

“It’s a relatively unexamined area that has influenced a lot of nature writing in the Northwest,” Schilling said. “We discovered there’s a big niche for this.”

Sumner and Schilling call the area of writing “fire lookout literature.”

Fire lookout is a term for a job that was once fairly prevalent in the Northwest in many logging areas.

“Fire lookouts were jobs that were usually open because not a lot of people would do them because it’s isolation for months upon end.

“You seldom have visitors, but when these writers took these jobs what they found was they were on top of these mountains, alone, and all they had to do was look at the landscape and think about their relationship with the world around them and what that meant to them as writers and as people.

“They were able to turn out these very powerful works of literature. What that did was push the way we think about nature and literature forward,” Schilling said.

Nature literature has interested Schilling before, but he will be focusing on fire lookout literature for his honors thesis.

“I’m basically the primary researcher. I have a big role in putting the anthology together and possibly co-writing,” Schilling said.

Male writers dominate the field of nature writing, but one of Schilling’s discoveries shows that women have also been writing in the genre.

“The most interesting thing that I just stumbled on was the discovery of Martha Hardy. She was essentially the first published fire lookout author. She’s relatively overlooked in the literature,” Schilling said.

Schilling hopes his discover of Hardy will loosen the male-centered hold on nature writing in the literary world.

At the moment, the anthology’s process has slowed down.

Sumner and Schilling still need to find a publisher, and Schilling isn’t sure whether he will be co-writing the introduction yet.

Schilling is enjoying his time working with Sumner and is glad that Sumner chose him as a research assistant.

Gilberto Galvez/Features editor

Gilberto Galvez can be reached

at linfieldreviewfeatures@gmail.com

Senior Austin Schilling sits inside of T.J. Day Hall. He and Englsih Professor Dave Sumner have been working on an anthology of fire lookout literature since last summer. Their work will bring a new understanding to this obscure field in nature writing.

Rosa Johnson/Copy editor

Student panels present literary works

The annual Linfield Creative Writing Conference took place on March 7 giving students an opportunity to showcase their work in addition to giving spectators the opportunity to ask questions regarding the writing process.

All three panels focused on different themes which mirrored the personal obstacles writers must overcome to create a literary work.

The first panel “‘Tearing the Text’: Writing Anxiety and Irony,” focused on the familiar feeling of writers block: not being able to communicate particular feelings or opinions in text.

Senior Tim Singer read an excerpt from his short fiction piece “Writing Prompt” which focused on a student trying to follow a disturbing writing prompt when he painfully discovers the capabilities of human beings.

Senior Andrea Snyder read her poem “Numbered Pieces of Nothing from a 20-Something Female” which consisted of relatable stories typical of college in a way that hints to the darker aspects of the four year experience.

Senior Madelyn Wong shared her personal essay “Voluntary Dissociation” which investigates how one deals with life threatening ordeals physically, emotionally and psychologically while struggling to maintain an authentic self-identity.

Junior Creative Writing major, Leimomiahikolani (Momi) Hookano presented an excerpt from her short story “Arctic Hub,” a story about an orientation for workers for an organization responsible for continuation of the world.

Freshman Quinn Reisenman closed the first panel with his poem “We Have Been Burning Old Desks” which was inspired by the substantial amount of snowfall and how the weather affected students during the January term.

The second panel entitled “I am not at Home: Troubled Journeys” all consisted of stories of yearning for a home and attempt to find ones identity in an unfamiliar place.

Senior Joshua Davis read an excerpt of his personal essay “Just a Race” which was a light-hearted essay about the serious subject of racism which includes his experiences with racial profiling and his inner conflict with the “N” word.

Senior Kristi Castanara presented an excerpt from her personal essay “Mixed” which focused on her hardships of being bi-racial and wanting to fully embrace the side of her culture that she barely physically resembled.

Senior Caleb Goad presented his quirky-humored short fiction “There is Nothing in the Box” which challenges the idea of identity through the journey of two thieves that have been sent to deliver a box in which its context is not known.

Senior Lucas Dudley presented his two poems “Summer Smoke” and “Buffalo River Babble” which addressed his experience of leaving one life in order to pursue another only to find himself missing the life he tried to escape.

Junior Joanna Buchholz read her poem “Kindergarten” where she reminisces about the innocence of being young and naïve.

A special Keynote talk was given by guest speaker Chris Dombrowski, a poet whose honors include the Assoicated Writing Programs Intro Award and Alligator Juniper’s National Poetry Prize. Dombrowski gave a special presentation regarding the “Legacies of War” and how war has affected the human conscience which is see particularly through poetry.

The last panel “‘Mask and Mirror’: The Self in Part and Whole” focused on detachment and separation.

Junior Samantha Palmer read an excerpt of her short fiction story “Queen and Country,” which explored a society that attempted to fix humanities sins of vanity.

In senior Kyra Rickards personal essay “The Things You Learn” she describes the hardships of growing up bi-racial and the difficulties of embracing individuality while wanting to be a part of the majority.

Sophomore Stefana Maxim’s poem “The Stork” addresses the state of melancholia that one falls under after experiencing a loss.

Sophomore Carlee Parsley also addresses a similar feeling of loss through her poem “To A Missionary, From a Defector” in which the narrator addresses a long-lost friend.

Senior Jake Hillyer’s  personal essay “Neon Safety Vest” explored the uncomfortable and disturbing experience of observing a surgery and the level of absurd detachment needed to save a life on the operating table.

The panel concluded with freshmen Samantha West as she read her comedic yet heart wrenching personal essay about her struggle with her love of being in the water.

All of the students published stories can be found in either Linfield’s student-run literary magazine, CAMAS, or in this year’s conference anthology, “The Lost Bell Review.”

Camille Weber / Sports columnist

Camille          Weber          can                 be                   reached        at


Effect of literature in the WWII trenches

 While the English department was hosting its annual undergraduate literature conference on Nov. 1, guest speakers attended and lectured for the event.

One of which is the Instructor of Composition and Literature for Portland Community College.

Nicholas Hengen Fox spoke in honor of this year’s Program for Liberal Arts and Civic Engagement  with the theme of “Legacies of War” in mind with his lecture, “Reading & Weeping: Books in the Trenches During World War II.”

Fox discussed soldiers’ emotional effects by pocket novels they received from the Council on Books and Wartime.

The CBW provided stories that were approved by the army for soldiers to read during service. This publishing movement resulted in the paperback boom during the war. Armed Service Editions, which are smaller and portable books, were popularized and easier for soldiers to take into battle.

“Books went everywhere and soldiers acted positively,” Fox said. Popular titles such as “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald and “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” by Betty Smith were a part of the post-war counterculture that soldiers were able to indulge in.

Fox read fan mail that authors received and analyzed the letters. Delving into how readers interpret stories personally Fox examines one case, a military man named Davis Clifton. Clifton read Smith’s novel and wrote the author an emotional response, “[Clifton is] a zombie that feels joy and gratitude, it’s an emotional transformation,” Fox said.

Fox said that according to a study, those who read literature are able to understand people better. With Fox’s focus on the idea of self-expression that contradicts the stereotypes of men in the military by their book choices.

“A reader gets intense emotional reactions because there are things going on in your life which you can relate to,” Fox said.

Professor of the English department, Alexander Runciman, commented after Fox’s lecture during question and answering, “Fiction is an escapist idea; it is on the spot treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder with the circulation of books. It is a full reality compared to a pretty damn restricted one.”

Rosa Johnson / Copy editor

Rosa Johnson can be reached at linfieldreviewcopyed@gmail.com.