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11 February 2016

Dr. Karen C. Holt


Courtney Crain-Zamora


11 February 2016


Research Proposal

Unpleasant issues and truths must be dealt with. It is the responsibility and duty of the writer to ensure that their works reflect real life
appropriately and accurately. There is a balance of good and evil in the world and this should be explored in writing. The act of depicting evil in
literature should not be shunned because of a writers moral, political, or social standing. Rather this depiction can help us truly identify the evil
within society and within ourselves. Books can help us overcome, figure out, and deal with horrific and/ or difficult things. When we dont allow evil
to enter into writing then ideas, opinions, and thoughts cannot be shared on how to fix, change, or deal with those problems.

Though it is true that life is full of good and evil, how much evil do I allow into my works?
How detailed do I get when writing about unpleasant truths?
When I personally do not support explicit, immoral, and otherwise inappropriate behavior, thoughts, and ideas, can I justify portraying such
deeds in my writing?

I remember being around 15 years old when I read Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. In this book, Harry is also 15 years old, and
he was feeling abandoned, alone, angry, and helpless. These were feelings that I too was very familiar with, but for different reasons from the
fictional character. In the beginning of the book, Harry is feeling left out and ignored. He was angry that it seemed that nothing was being done about
the return of Voldemort and feeling rather annoyed towards his friends because, to him, it had felt like he had done everything by himself. He was
feeling alone because he had been chosen by Voldemort and no else had ever quite been through what he had. I understood these emotions. I
understood the feeling of abandonment because my own mother had decided to leave me for a man that she had an adulterous relationship with. I
knew the aloneness because no one around me knew what I was going through because they hadnt dealt with divorced parents, abusive mothers, or
the deep self-loathing that I had for myself. The anger because I felt weak. I was made to feel like I had to fix everything, and that I, as the child, had
to be the adult. Then the helplessness because I was a child, trying to play an adult without the maturity, wisdom, and grace that is supposed to come
with age.
Harry Potter, in a way, became one of my saving graces. Like Harry, Hogwarts had become my home, a place I could go and not feel so
alone because Harry was there and felt the same way I did. Though I have no real proof that Harry was ever depressed or suicidal like I was at the
time, if J.K. Rowling had not portrayed the unpleasantness of Harrys life and how he felt about and dealt with it in the way that she did, I truly
would have been alone. In fact, I probably would have felt alone and desperate enough to finally take my own life, an endeavor that I had actually
attempted a couple of times by that point.
It is for that reason that I believe that writers should not sugar coat their writing. Unpleasant issues and truths must be dealt with, and
writing a great medium for that. As much as people like to say that books or other forms of media do not effect or influence them, they do and so it is
the responsibility of the writer to ensure that their works reflect real life appropriately and accurately. If they dont the world, I believe, would be very
different and not off for the better. Books can help us overcome, figure out, and deal with horrific and/ or difficult things. However, if they dont
allow those evil to enter upon the stage then ideas, opinions, and thoughts cannot be shared on how to fix, change, or deal with those problems or the
recognition that evil is evil may never occur.

Material content in any form is a serious issue and deciding on what to include can make or break any kind of literary work. Literature with
difficult to deal with issues, situations, behaviors, and ideas can be enlightening and so authors should not shrink back from writing about explicit,

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immoral, or inappropriate ideas. According to the American Library Association, J.D. Salingers Catcher in the Rye has been banned or challenged
many times due to its rebellious main character and the use of explicit language. Philip Pullmans His Dark Materials trilogy is challenged because of
its political and religious viewpoints and violence. Khaled Hosseinis The Kite Runner was banned for its offensive language, violence, and is
believed to be unsuited to the targeted age group. Yet, by discounting these works because of their inclusion of unpleasant truths, nothing is gained
and everything can be lost. Author of The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho said, Writing means sharing. Its part of the human condition to want to share
things- thoughts, ideas, opinions. Writing gives us the opportunity to share ourselves and our experiences, thoughts, reasoning, opinions, and ideas.
We write so that others will read and learn and help solve problems in more creative, understanding ways. Dr. Lyman Bryson, an American Educator
and author known for his works on educational radio and television for CBS, agrees by saying, People must come to know the importance of
reading That is the soundest way of solving problems (Garnet). Bryson is telling us that it is through reading that we are exposed to ideas that are
outside ourselves and it is through these shared thoughts, ideas, and opinions that people are exposed to new ways of thinking and solving problems.
Thus, it stands to reason that if it is not written and thought about, problems will not be solved. It is even through writing that we get to a deeper
understanding of others and their struggles, cultures, and ways of thinking. This can only be achieved if the evils or even just unpleasant truths of life
are written, expounded, and explained.

For this research paper, I plan on using primary and secondary sources. Specifically, my sources will reflect biased and unbiased opinions
and evidence for including and excluding unpleasant truths in writing. I also plan on conduction interview with various English professors at BYUIdaho to get their take on writing with or without explicit or inappropriate material. I will be using online sources such as JSTOR and ProQuest to
help find scholar journals and articles, as well as using passages from various novels and quotes from authors to help support, argue, and defend both
sides of the argument.

Working Thesis: It is a writers duty and responsibility to create works that accurately and appropriately represent the history and culture
that they writing about. Thus, these works should have the proper balance between good and evil within them. There is opposition in all things and
this needs to be reflected in literary works. One cannot fully see or appreciate the good if there is no evil. The extent of detailing unpleasant and
sometimes evil truths should be taken seriously and be based upon the targeted audience. The purpose of allowing these evils to penetrate a writers
work is to share ideas on how to conquer or deal with those evils. A writer, regardless of moral, political, or social standing, should be able to share
their ideas and opinions about unpleasant truths.

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My position
Unpleasant truths should be
appropriately written about b/c
-accurately depicts the world
-need to know the good from the evil
-helps people learn and grow

Explanation of why unpleasant
truths should be included in

Opposing View
-Vulgar and inappropriate subject matter
does not make a story more or less true
or meaningful
-With so much evil already in the world,
we don't need to invite more in to our
-Supported views, morals, or religion
should not be ignored or forgotten when

-Meaning and truth comes from reader
-In order to overcome evil and
unpleasant truths we need to explore
and discuss them
-Audience and purpose dictates what
and how the author writes a story

-Review of
Timetable and Schedule
February 2016



Research Proposal

Bring to class an
image, chart, or
table to include in
your research

Prepare for
Wednesday Class
Start interviewing

Work Cited Draft

Start Rough Draft
of Research Paper
Prepare for Friday
and Monday
Edit Research

Bring quotation to

Continue Working
on Rough Draft

Writing Workshop
Come to class
prepared to
conference with
instructor or TA
during class time.

Continue to Edit
Research Paper

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Prepare for
Wednesday Class

Research Peer
Review Day


Last day to
schedule a
proposal resubmit
Paper due in class
and on Turnitin


Request for Approval

I, Courtney Crain-Zamora, officially request approval of above described research paper from Dr. Karen C. Holt of the English Department
at BYU-Idaho. I strongly believe in my topic and hope to show that the inclusion of unpleasant truths in literary works is beneficial and appropriate.

Annotated Bibliography
Andrews, Kimberly. A House Divided: On the Future of Creative Writing. College English 71.3 (2009):
24255. Web. 27 Jan. 2016
What creative writers need to realize about the future of their discipline.
Clark, Roy P. The Line Between Fact and Fiction. 2001. Web. 27 Jan. 2016
Talks about how we need to report on the truth while still being creative.
Coelho, Paulo. 2016. Web. 11 Feb. 2016.
Direct quotes from the author.
Garnett, Wilma Leslie. Why Read?. The Elementary English Review 19.4 (1942): 122-46. Web. 1 Feb. 2016
An article about the importance of reading
Haven, Kendall. Write Right: Creative Writing Using Storytelling Techniques. 1999. Print.
Gives writer tips on how to write a good creative story.
N.p. "Common Reasons for Banning Books," Fort Lewis College, John F. Reed Library. Banned Books, Censorship & Free Speech. 15 Nov. 2013.
Web. 11 Feb. 2016
Reasons why books are banned, challenged, and censored.
N.p. Top Ten Frequently Challenged Books Lists of the 21st Century. Office for Intellectual Freedom, American Library Association. 2014. Web. 11
Feb. 2016.
List of banned books and why.
Stegner, Wallace. Creative Writing. New England Review (1990-) 23.3 (2002): 100110. Web.
27 Jan. 2016
Gives a definition to creative writing and tips on how write.
Tullis, Ben. Mormon father, son say horror genre isnt incompatible with their faith. 31 Oct. 2014. Desert News. Web. 27 Jan. 2016
Father and son talk about their take on the horror genre and their faith.
Wiebe, Dallas. Creative Writing. Chicago Review 49/50 (2004): 317329. Web. 27 Jan. 2016
Dallas Wiebe tells about his journey of writing a book, and how he did it.