Page 1

CHRYSALIS: The Murray State University Journal of Undergraduate Research

Letter from the President


ndergraduate research and scholarly activity are among the most underappreciated of all student university experiences even though they can have a dramatic impact on the careers and lives of students. Evidence indicates that scholarly collaboration between students and faculty effectively enhances the totality of an undergraduate education by creating opportunities to explore undiscovered regions of thought and practice. These academic experiences not only provide undergraduate students with unique educational opportunities but have the potential to ignite career paths in scientiďŹ c and creative exploration that could last a lifetime. As part of an effort to highlight and encourage greater undergraduate student development through academic research, we are pleased to announce the second edition of Chrysalis: The Murray State University Journal of Undergraduate Research. The purpose of this journal is to celebrate many of the most interesting collaborative research projects between undergraduate students and faculty members at Murray State University. I am conďŹ dent that you will ďŹ nd the selected articles, the diversity of research and scholarly topics valuable as they address complex challenges facing our increasingly global society. Kern Alexander Interim President Murray State University

CHRYSALIS: The Murray State University Journal of Undergraduate Research

Letter from the Editors


e are pleased to introduce the second volume of Chrysalis: The Murray State University Journal of Undergraduate Research. This second volume marks another year of outstanding research and creative activity by undergraduate scholars, continuing guidance and encouragement by faculty members, and a tradition of support by Murray State University for undergraduate scholarship. This volume of Chrysalis contains scholarly work from the sciences, business, and the humanities, and it also marks the journal’s first inclusion of a piece of creative work. There is no single model for research, and Chrysalis provides a venue for research and creative activity of widely varied sorts and celebrates the many ways of knowing and thinking that are carried on and fostered at Murray State University. Chrysalis not only celebrates undergraduate scholarship at Murray State University but also initiates students into the community of scholars. That community includes student researchers and artists, faculty mentors, librarians, and the readers of the journal. Each contribution to this volume has gone through several layers of scrutiny, including faculty mentors, the journal editors and specialized readers. As the volume passes into the hands of general readers, the articles therein spur discussions and further questions. Each article in Chrysalis can be understood not as the conclusion of research but as a doorway to further thought. A journal that covers as wide a range of disciplines as Chrysalis does owe its existence to a wide, diverse university community. We thank all of those students who submitted articles for their contributions, and we congratulate them on their achievements. Similarly, we congratulate the faculty mentors; including their names and profiles at the beginning of each article is small recompense for the time, skill and energy they shared in guiding student scholarship. Presidents F. King Alexander and Kern Alexander, and Provost Gary Brockway have provided encouragement and financial support, for which we offer our gratitude. This publication would not be possible without professional support from the MSU Publications and Printing Services staff. We owe a special debt to Dr. Leon Bodevin for editing the Spanish version of Lance Lee’s article. Through every stage, Jody Cofer has skillfully managed manuscripts, abstracts, student and faculty biographies, and editorial communications. Finally, we thank all university faculty who encourage and guide student research. We hope that Chrysalis continues to provide a forum for that research. Kevin Binfield Department of English and Philosophy


Kenneth Bowman School of Agriculture

John Mateja URSA and McNair Programs

CHRYSALIS: The Murray State University Journal of Undergraduate Research The Murray State University Journal of Undergraduate Research

CONTENTS Letter from the President ................................................................................................................................................ i Kern Alexander Letter from the Editors .................................................................................................................................................... ii Kevin Binfield, Kenneth Bowman and John Mateja Test of a Social Developmental Model of the Use of Humor by College Students ..........................................................1 Drew Barnard Faculty Mentors: Alysia D. Ritter and Joel Royalty Determining Enzymatic Activity of H+-K+-ATPase in Renal Outer Medullary Collecting Duct (OMCD) .....................6 Chen Wan Chun Faculty Mentor: Suguru Nakamura What is the Relationship Among Sycophantic Behavior, Supervisor-subordinate Communication, Co-worker Relationships and Trust? .............................................................................................................................11 Kelly Jo Drane Faculty Mentor: Lou Davidson Tillson The Effects of Fear Appeals and Cultural Assimilation on the Church .........................................................................19 Adam Elias Faculty Mentor: Lou Davidson Tillson Preparing for the Recital: More than Just Singing ........................................................................................................27 Rebecca Gannon Faculty Mentor: Sonya Gabrielle Baker From Juchipila to Comala: A Structural Comparison of the Latin-American Old and New Novel English version...........................................................................................................................................................34 Spanish version ..........................................................................................................................................................41 Lance Lee Faculty Mentor: C. Michael Waag Kate Chopinʼs Exploration of Freedom and Trauma in “The Story of an Hour.” ..........................................................47 Laura Kight Faculty Mentor: Barbara Cobb Sixty Years of Japanese Pacifism: The Transformersʼ Binaltech ..................................................................................52 Clay Wyatt Faculty Mentors: Jean Lorrah, Terry Strieter and Pat Wilson-McCutchen

Volume 2 – 2006 iii

CHRYSALIS: The Murray State University Journal of Undergraduate Research

Call for Articles Chrysalis: The Murray State University Journal of Undergraduate Research is published annually by the Undergraduate Research and Scholarly Activity Office with support from the Office of the President. The purpose of Chrysalis is to celebrate the research, scholarly and creative accomplishments of our undergraduates and their faculty mentors. Undergraduates in all academic disciplines may submit articles to Chrysalis. Articles must be submitted electronically. Photographs, illustrations and diagrams should be submitted separately in high resolution jpg format. Authors should follow the guidelines of the American Psychological Association (APA). Articles may be posted on the Undergraduate Research and Scholarly Activity Office website at Murray State University. If you have questions regarding Chrysalis: The Murray State University Journal of Undergraduate Research please call 270-809-3192 or contact us electronically at


CHRYSALIS: The Murray State University Journal of Undergraduate Research

ABSTRACT Test of a Social Developmental Model of the Use of Humor by College Students

Drew Barnard Class: Senior Major: Psychology

A native of Fairfield, Ill., I came to Murray State University with the intention of acquiring a bachelorʼs degree in psychology. As an undergraduate, I participated in Murray Stateʼs study abroad program, am a member of Psi Chi, and conducted several independent research projects. After graduating in 2005 with my B.A. in psychology, I have been accepted and plan to continue my education in Murray Stateʼs masterʼs program in clinical psychology.

A social developmental model of the use of humor was assessed. The Humor Styles Questionnaire provided scores on each of the dependent variables of frequency of use of affiliative, self-enhancing, aggressive and self-defeating humor. Regression analyses assessed the relationships between each of the dependent variables and gender of the student, number of children in the studentʼs family, and the studentʼs birth order. Students also rated their primary male and female caregivers on the frequency of their use of humor. There were significant negative correlations between family size and the frequency of use of both affiliative and aggressive humor. There was a significant negative correlation between birth order and use of affiliative humor. Level of use of humor by the female caregiver had a significant positive correlation with the use of self-enhancing humor while level of use of humor by the primary male caregiver was not significantly associated with the frequency of use of any of the humor styles.

FACULTY MENTORS Alysia D. Ritter is a professor of psychology who, during her 16 years at MSU, has taught general psychology, child development, perception, and research methods and design. She received her bachelorʼs degree from the University of New Orleans and her masterʼs and doctorate degrees from University of Houston. Her research interests include sensations, perceptions, attitudes and beliefs pertaining to behavior. She actively encourages student interest and involvement in psychological research. The undergraduates she has mentored have published 16 articles and given 40 presentations at local and regional conferences. Joel Royalty is a professor in MSUʼs Department of Psychology. His research interest is the multivariate analysis of behavior through the application of incremental partitioning of variance. Recent research includes the identification of pre-college variables associated with level of drug use in college students, the operation of a halo effect in student ratings of instructors, the salience of attitudes towards the invasion of Iraq on ratings of the overall job performance of President Bush, predictors of level of student satisfaction with service learning courses, and the analysis of type II error rates in published psychological research. 1

CHRYSALIS: The Murray State University Journal of Undergraduate Research

Test of a Social Developmental Model of the Use of Humor by College Students


sense of humor is an important component of personality. Further, because individuals vary widely in terms of both the nature and extent of their senses of humor, it is an attribute that contributes significantly to individual differences. This contribution begins early in life. For example, Dews et al. (1996) found that children as young as 5 years old have the ability to comprehend humor in the form of irony; that is, a form of humor in which the intended meaning is different from the literal meaning of the words used. Children are also able to detect the difference in irony intended for humor and irony intended for meanness (Dews, et al.). McGhee and Lloyd (1982) identified behaviors and temperaments of 60 preschool children that were associated with the development of a sense of humor. Social play, aggression and energy level were most highly correlated with the development of humor in the participants. Other significant predictors were the frequency of laughter and attention seeking. Evidence of parental influence on the development of a sense of humor can be inferred from the results of research on parentsʼ roles in the development of childrenʼs social competence. Because humor is an important aspect of social interaction, it would be expected to be influenced by the nature and extent of parental use of humor. Krantz, Webb and Andrews (1984) examined the role of parents in the development of social competence in children. The primary parental variables in this research were the extent of social contacts of parents with friends and their involvement in community activities. Social behavior and social cognitive abilities of the children were measured. Popularity, social acceptance, sensitivity, behavior and ratings of social competence comprised these measures. The researchers found a high correlation between the motherʼs social involvement and the childʼs social competence. However, there was not a significant correlation between the level of social involvement of fathers and the social competence of their children. While the research literature on the development of social competence in children is consistent with the hypothesized role 2

of parents (or at least mothers) on the development of a sense of humor in children, it is not clear whether such a relationship would still be present when the children reached adulthood. After all, adult children may be assumed to have been increasingly influenced by peers, education and other influences outside the family environment. The present research was designed to assess the relationships between the “style” of humor exhibited by college students and their corresponding family, parental and demographic variables. It was hypothesized that maternal use of humor would be a better predictor of college studentsʼ humor styles than paternal use of humor. Further, based on Rimʼs (1986) finding that family size is a factor related to the use of the sense of humor as a coping device, it was hypothesized that family size would be associated with humor style. Finally, the present research addressed the question of the relationship between humor style and gender.

Method Ninety-six Murray State University students served as participants. Each participant completed both The Humor Styles Questionnaire (Martin, Puhlik-Doris, Larson, Gray and Weir, 2003) and a questionnaire designed to assess demographic, parental and family variables. The Humor Styles Questionnaire is composed of 32 questions and yields scores on each of the following subscales: affiliative, self-enhancing, aggressive and self-defeating humor styles. Responses to each question were made on a seven-point Likert scale ranging from one (totally disagree) to seven (totally agree). Higher scores on each subscale are associated with increased use of the particular style of humor. Examples of affiliative humor are joking around with other people and the ability to make other people laugh. Behaviors associated with self-enhancing humor include being amused by the absurdities of life, even when alone, and being able to cheer oneself up with humor. Aggressive humor would include teasing others about their mistakes and lack of concern regarding how other people might

CHRYSALIS: The Murray State University Journal of Undergraduate Research react to a joke. An example of self-defeating humor is seeking acceptance from others by saying something funny about oneʼs own mistakes, weaknesses or flaws. In addition to obtaining the gender of each participant, the demographic questionnaire contained four questions designed to measure family influence on humor. The structure of the participantʼs family was assessed by measures of the number of children in the family and the participantʼs birth order. Two questions were designed to assess the use of humor by the participantʼs primary caregivers. Specifically, participants rated both their primary male and female caregivers on the variable of how often they displayed a sense of humor over the course of the participantʼs life. Participants were given a maximum of one hour to complete the questionnaires and each was treated in accordance with “Ethical Principles Psychologist Code of Conduct” (American Psychological Association, 1992).

Results With the exception of family size, measures on each variable were obtained for each of the 96 participants. Six participants did not provide information on family size and were excluded from all analyses. Of the resulting sample of 90 participants, 23.33 percent were males. Number of children in the families of the participants ranged from one to seven, with 88.89 percent of families having four or less children. Birth order also ranged from one to seven, with 93.33 percent of participants reporting a birth order of three or lower. A one-way within subjects (repeated measures) analysis of variance found that there were significant differences in the frequency with which the participants used the four styles of humor, F(3, 267) = 118.60, p< .0001. A Tukeyʼs HSD test was performed to determine the source of this effect and yielded the following results: affiliative humor (M=46.36, SD=6.38) was used significantly more frequently than self-enhancing (M=39.33, SD=7.83), aggressive (M=29.06, SD=8.15), and self-defeating (M=29.87, SD=8.88) humor. Selfenhancing humor was used significantly more frequently than either aggressive or self-defeating humor. The frequency of use of aggressive and self-defeating humor did not differ significantly. Simple correlations were obtained to measure the relationships between each of the four humor style scores and the variables of

Table 1 Pearson Correlations between Family Structure and Humor Styles Family Size (n= 90) Birth Order (n= 90) Affiliative Self Enhancing Aggressive Self Defeating

-0.37** -0.14 -0.22* -0.01

-0.21* -0.11 -0.02 0.02

Note. *p * < .05, ** p < .0005

Table 2 Point Biserial Correlations between Gender and Humor Styles Gender (n= 90) Affiliative Self-Enhancing Aggressive Self-Defeating

-0.02 -0.01 -0.26* -0.16

Note. *p * < .05, males=1, females=2 on variable of gender

Table 3 Pearson Correlations between Level of Use of Humor by Primary Male and Female Caregivers and Humor Styles Male Caregiver (n= 90) Affiliative Self Enhancing Aggressive Self Defeating

0.14 0.13 -0.11 -0.11

Female Caregiver (n= 90) 0.20 0.31* -0.13 -0.11

Note. *p * < .005

family size and birth order (Table 1), gender (Table 2), and level of use of humor by primary male and female caregivers (Table 3). With regard to the association between family structure and humor styles, there were significant negative correlations between family 3

CHRYSALIS: The Murray State University Journal of Undergraduate Research size and the frequency of use of both affiliative and aggressive humor by the participants. That is, as family size increased, the use of affiliative and aggressive humor styles tended to decrease. Family size was not significantly associated with the use of either self-enhancing or self-defeating humor. There was a significant negative correlation between birth order and use of affiliative humor with earlier born children more likely to use affiliative humor. Birth order was not significantly associated with the likelihood of using self-enhancing, aggressive or selfdefeating humor. There was a significant point biserial correlation between gender and use of aggressive humor, with males more likely to use aggressive humor than females. There was no relationship between gender and the level of use of affiliative, self-enhancing or selfdefeating humor. Level of use of humor by female caregivers had a significant positive correlation with the use of self-enhancing humor but was not significantly related to the frequency of use of the other three humor styles. The level of use of humor by the primary male caregiver was not significantly associated with the frequency of use of any of the four humor styles. A one-way within subjects (repeated measures) analysis of variance found that the frequency of use of humor by the primary male and female caregivers did not differ significantly, F(1, 89) = 1.61, p>.05. A final series of multiple regression analyses was performed to assess the proportion of variance in the frequency of use of each of the four humor styles that could be accounted for by the weighted linear combination of the five predictor variables (gender, family size, birth order, use of humor by the primary female caregiver, and use of humor by primary male caregiver). The five predictor variables accounted for 0.16 proportion of variance in use of affiliative humor, F(5, 84) = 3.12, p<.05. Of the five predictor variables, only family size accounted for a unique proportion of the variance in use of affiliative humor, F(1, 84) = 7.88, p<.01. That is, only family size accounted for a significant proportion of variance above and beyond that accounted for by the other four predictors.


The weighted linear combination of the five predictor variables accounted for .17 proportion of the variance in use of aggressive humor, F(5, 84) = 3.40, p<.01. Both family size, F(1, 84) = 7.67, p<.05, and gender, F(1, 84) = 7.03, p<.01 accounted for significant proportions of unique variance. The weighted linear combinations of the five predictor variables did not account for a significant proportion of the variance in the frequency of use of either selfenhancing or self-defeating humor.

Discussion As described above, previous researchers have found a high correlation between the child始s and the mother始s, but not the father始s, social involvement. The finding that the level of use of humor by female, but not male, caregivers had a significant positive correlation with the use of self-enhancing humor in their children is consistent with a social developmental model. Although the use of affiliative humor in college students was not significantly correlated with the level of use of humor by female caregivers, hypothesized early influences on the style and frequency of use of humor is consistent with the significant negative correlations between use of affiliative humor and both birth order and family size. Of course these two variables are not independent since higher birth order is possible only with larger families. Several of the limitations of the present study suggest the next series of studies. First, the present study measured the frequency of the use of humor by primary caregivers but not the type of humor used. Second, family structure variables were limited to birth order and family size. Future research should include variables designed to measure the social structure of families and the degree of involvement with friends and peer groups.

References American Psychological Association (2002). Ethical principles of psychologist and code of conduct. American Psychologist, 57, 1060-1073. Dews, S., Winner, E., Kaplan, J., Rosenblatt, E., Hunt, M., Lim, K., et al. (1996). Children始s understanding of the meaning and functions of verbal irony. Child Development, 67 67, 30713085.

CHRYSALIS: The Murray State University Journal of Undergraduate Research Krantz, M., Webb S. D., and Andrews, D. (1984). The relationship between child and parental social competence. The Journal of Psychology, 118, 51-56. Martin, R., Puhlik-Doris, P., Larsen, G., Gray, J., & Weir, K. (2003). Individual differences in uses of humor and their relation to psychological well-being: Development of the humor styles questionnaire. Journal of Research in Personality, 37, 4875. McGhee, P. E. (1971). Cognitive development and children始s comprehension of humor. Child Development, 42, 123-138. McGhee, P. E., and Lloyd S. (1982). Behavioral characteristics associated with the development of humor in young children. The Journal of Genetic Psychology, 141, 253-259. Rim, Y. (1986) Ways of coping, personality, age, sex and family structural variables. Personality and Individual Differences, 7, 113-116.



CHRYSALIS: The Murray State University Journal of Undergraduate Research


Chen Wan Chun Class: Senior Major: Biology

I came to Murray State University as an exchange student from Taiwan in August 2004. As a biology major, it was my hope that I could obtain research experience while in the United States. I was pleased to find this opportunity in the laboratory of Dr. Suguru Nakamura. Upon returning to Taiwan, I intend to complete my degree in biology and then pursue a medical degree. My experience in Dr. Nakamuraʼs laboratory was extremely beneficial. .

Determining Enzymatic Activity of H+-K+-ATPase in Renal Outer Medullary Collecting Duct (OMCD) Scientific research has demonstrated the presence of two H+-K+-ATPase (HKA) isoforms, colonic (cHKA) and gastric (gHKA) in renal collecting duct cells. The gHKA plays a major role in the acid-base balance under normal conditions, whereas cHKA only plays a role under low K+ conditions. We proposed that the enzymatic activity of gHKA and cHKA would be the same as the physiological function. We predicted under normal diets, ATP production would be high with gHKA and would be opposite with cHKA. To determine the enzymatic activity of the isoforms in the OMCD of transgenic mice, we measured net ATP production, which was based on the hydrolysis of ATP to ADP via the oxidation of NADH. In HKAalpha 1 knockout mice, the mean NADH fluorescence was 8.17 ± 1.17ppm in K+ -free media and 7.36 ± 1.11ppm in K+ media. In HKAalpha 2 knockout mice, the mean was 5.32 ± 1.36ppm in K+ -free media and 5.34 ± 1.41ppm in K+ media. P-values comparing solutions with and without K+ for HKAalpha 2 mice were 0.61 (NS, > than 0.05) and 0.99 (NS, > 0.05) for HKAalpha 1. Comparing HKAalpha 1 and HKAalpha 2, the p-values were all greater than 0.05. Based on our current results, we did not observe significant difference in enzymatic activity between the two transgenic mice groups in K+-free vs. K+ media.

FACULTY MENTOR Suguru Nakamura is an assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences. His research focuses on the acid-base regulations of the kidney. His studies include the characterization of a potassium dependent acid secreting transporter known as H+-K+-ATPase. His studies have shown a link between the acid secreting transporters and the glycolysis metabolic pathway. Nakamura teaches courses in Human Anatomy, Human Physiology and Pathophysiology. He also advises the pre-medical students and mentors graduate and undergraduate students in his research laboratory.


CHRYSALIS: The Murray State University Journal of Undergraduate Research

Determining Enzymatic Activity of H+-K+-ATPase in Renal Outer Medullary Collecting Duct (OMCD)


he final place for acid-base balance occurs in the collecting duct of the kidney nephron. Present within the collecting duct (figure 1), are acid secreting transporters such as H+-K+-ATPase. The H+-K+-ATPase acid transporter has three known subunits. The subunits are gastric H+-K+-ATPase (gHKA, also called HKA alpha1), colonic H+-K+-ATPase (cHKA, also called HKA alpha 2), and beta H+-K+-ATPase (bHKA) (Amlal,Galla, Manoocher, and Nakamura, 2000). Mice are good animals to use for testing the physiological and enzymatic activity of H+-K+-ATPase. Previous studies using mice have shown that gHKA and cHKA can mediate the exchange of intracellular protons for extracellular potassium with subsequent reabsorption of bicarbonate (Nakamura et al, 2000). In addition, gHKA works primarily under normal conditions, while cHKA works under pathophysiological conditions. Examples of pathophysiological conditions include potassium depleted environments, in which scientists have shown that the cHKA has more mRNA expression in the collecting duct and gHKA has less mRNA expression. Moreover, functional studies have shown that in potassium depleted environments the cHKA mediates more bicarbonate reabsorption than gHKA (Amlal,Galla, Manoocher and Nakamura,1999). Functional studies also show that in potassium depleted environments the cHKA mediates more NH4+ secretion than gHKA. (Amlal,Galla, Manoocher and Nakamura,1999) In our experiments, we examined the enzymatic activity of H K+-ATPase by microdissecting segments of the Outer Medullary Collecting Duct (OMCD), and then by ATPase assay measurement in which the net ATP production produced in the tubules were based on the hydrolysis of ATP to ADP via the oxidation of NADH (Garg, Narang, 1997). We expected the physiological function to be correlated with the enzymatic action. If a link could be found between enzymatic activity and the physiological function then one might better understand what happens in diseases such as hypokalemia.

Method and results We used transgenic mice (HKA alpha 1 and HKA alpha 2 knock out mice) for the experiment. HKA alpha 1 knock out mice have been knocked out by the gHKA subunit and HKA alpha 2 knock out mice have been knocked out by the cHKA subunit. The mice were given plenty of food and water and were given either a normal diet or a potassium depleted diet. Genotyping The genotypes of the HKA alpha 2 were known, but the genotypes of HKA alpha 1 were not known and thus had to be determined through DNA extraction, Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), and gel analysis. First, a small piece of tail was cut and digested in a microhybridization oven overnight. Then we extracted a small amount of DNA. To obtain larger amounts of DNA, we used PCR to amplify the small sample of DNA. We compared the gene sequence of the mouse sample with a known ladder base pair sequence by running a gel. The DNA sequence and ladder ran from negative node to a positive node. The wild type band is 175bp and knocked out band is 310bp. If there were 175bp and 310bp bands shown from gel, the gene type of mouse could be determined as heterozygote. Each mouse genotype was re-tested twice to ensure accuracy. Tubule Dissection


Following our animal protocol, we sacrificed the mice by injecting them with sodium pentolbarbital (50mg/mL). We then removed a single kidney. We put the kidney on a plastic dish and made thin horizontal cuts. Each slice was placed in a dissecting solution (table 1) that did not contain KCl in order to compare H+-K+-ATPase with a K+ independent H+-ATPase. We dissected individual OMCD tubules (figure 2) from the middle part of the kidney (renal medulla). The tubules were transferred to a centrifuge tube that contained 100µl of hypotonic solution (Sol #1) to induce an osmotic shock. Solution #1 contained water 996µl, imidazole 1µl, MgCl2 1µl, and EDTA 2µl. 7

CHRYSALIS: The Murray State University Journal of Undergraduate Research Preparation of Nephron Segments for Enzyme Assay The procedure for enzymatic measurement was based on the technique described by Dr. Garg and his colleagues at the University of Florida. The tubules were then put into a -24˚C freezer for 40 minutes to induce a temperature shock. The shocks caused the cellular membrane destruction for the enzymatic measurement.

Figure 2 This is a picture of OMCD by electron microscope.

Incubation of microdissected nephron segments for ATP hydrolysis We separated solution #1 into solution #2 and #3. Solution #2 contained water 935.91µl, imidazole 25.64µl, MgCl2 30.92µl, and Na azide 7.6µl. Solution #3 contained water 933.41µl, imidazole 25.64µl, MgCl2 30.92µl, and Na azide 7.6µl, and KCl 2.5µl. Solution #4 contained tris buffer 297.7µl, imidazole 26.3µl. In one tubule group, we added 50µl of solution #1, 100µl of solution #2, and 100µl of solution #4 and in the other tubule group we added 50µl of solution #1, 100µl of solution #3 (with K+), and 100µl of solution #4. After shaking these tubes for two minutes, we placed them into a 37˚C water bath for 30 minutes.

Table 1 Chemical














Figure 1





Kidney nephron & Collecting duct



Before we tested the samples, we calibrated the flurometer by testing the 100µl NADH with no tubules and then used 100µl pure water to set zero point for the calibration curve. The calibration was performed three times prior to the measurements.

5% CO2, 95% O2, Ph = 7.4

ATP Enzymatic Activity The enzymatic activity is based on hydrolysis of ATP to ADP. ATP ---------> ADP + inorganic phosphate ATPase ADP + phosophoenolpyruvate ------------------> ATP + phosophenol Pyruvate Pyruvate kinase

Pyruvate + NADH ----------------------> NAD + lactate Lactate dehydrogenase

We used a Turnerʼs microflorometer to test the enzymatic activity. 8

CHRYSALIS: The Murray State University Journal of Undergraduate Research According to the classic pathway of ATP production, we put Na2ATP (for our initial ATP), phosphoenolpyruvate, and pyruvate kinase into solution #4 with the dissected tubules for the enzymatic reactions (as shown above). The ATPase enzyme comes from the dissected tubules. The amount of ATP production was determined by a reduced intensity of NADH and the data was recorded by the microflorometer. Therefore, a low number of NADH presented a higher ATP concentration in the particular tissue group.

Results As table 2 shows, results were obtained from mice that were fed a normal diet. Most of the mice used for the experiments were HKA alpha 2 mice because we had more success when breeding the strain (31 HKA alpha 2 vs. 5 HKA alpha 1).

Table 2 Genotype

Age (month/day/year)

Alpha 2 Alpha 2


Alpha 2

Solution #2 (no K+)

Solution #3 (with K+)









Alpha 2




Alpha 2




Alpha 2




Alpha 2




Alpha 2






Table 2: Each sample was tested twice. The mouse age is counted from the day of their birth to the day of the experiment. All the mice were under normal diet.

Alpha 2




Alpha 2






The mean value for the HKA alpha 2 (in K+-free solution) was 8.17 ± 1.17ppm, while the mean value for the HKA alpha 2 (in K+-contained solution) was 7.36 ± 1.11ppm. In the HKA alpha 1 mice, the mean value (K+-free solution) was 5.32 ± 1.36ppm and the mean value (K+-contained solution) was 5.34 ± 1.41ppm.

Alpha 2









We calculated p-values using statistical t-tests (less than 0.05 is considered significant). In the comparison of the solution with K+ with the K+ free solution in HKA alpha 1 knockout mice, a p value of 0.99 was obtained. The p value was 0.61 in HKA alpha 2 knockout mice. Because the p values were greater than 0.05, the results indicated there were no differences in ATP production in the two solutions. We expected the K+-free solution to have lower ATP production because the H+-K+-ATPase activity is inhibited by K+ removal. In the comparison of the HKA alpha 1 and HKA alpha 2 knockout mice, the p value was 0.14 in the K+-free solutions, and 0.29 in the K+ solutions. Although the HKA alpha 1 and HKA alpha 2 have different isoforms, the p value in the ATP production did not reveal a statistically significant difference.

Discussion HKA alpha 1 knockout mice have no gHKA subunit, but retain the cHKA subunit. The HKA alpha 2 knockout mice have no cHKA subunit, but retain the gHKA subunit. The gHKA plays a major role

Alpha 2 Alpha 2

10.19.00 12.12.00 12.17.00

23.0ppm 22.9ppm

Alpha 2 Alpha 2

12.23.00 01.23.01







in the acid-base balance under normal conditions, while the cHKA is only activated under the potassium depleted condition. On the basis of previously conducted scientific research studies, we would like to find results consistent with the physiological function of H+-K+-ATPase in the transgenic mice (Amlal,Galla, Manoocher and Nakamura, 2000). For example, we would like to determine whether HKA alpha 1 knockout mice could have lower ATP production under normal conditions by indicating a higher NADH fluorescence. HKA alpha 2 knockout mice could have a normal ATP production compared to the wild type mice because colonic isoform does not have the functional activity under normal conditions. 9

CHRYSALIS: The Murray State University Journal of Undergraduate Research The inconsistent results might be due to our preparation of solutions or the tubular dissection. Technique errors might explain why we have higher NADH fluorescence readings some days and lower NADH fluorescence other days. In addition, we have not bred new mice from HKA alpha 1 since July 2004. The cause of breeding failure is still unresolved and we do not have as many observations from the HKA alpha 1 mice as we do from the HKA alpha 2 mice. In addition, we think there may be a problem related with preparation and storage of the enzyme assays for the enzymatic reactions. In the future, we plan to perform experiments on the HKA Alpha 2 mice with the low K+ diet to examine the enzymatic activity of the cHKA. Once these problems are solved, we also plan to use a cHKA inhibitor, oubain, in our experiments to see if any enzymatic activity changes occur in the gHKA or cHKA knockout mice.

References Suguru Nakamura, Hassane Amlal, Manoocher Soleimani and John H. Galla (2000). Pathways for HCO3-reabsorption in mouse medullary collecting duct segment. J Lab Clin Med: 218-223. L.C. Garg and N. Narang (1999). Ouabain-insensitive K-adenosine triphosphatase in distal nephron segment of the rabbit. American Physiological Society: 1204-1208. Suguru Nakamura, Hassane Amlal, John H. Galla, and Manoocher Soleimani (1999). NH4+ secretion in inner medullary collecting duct in potassium deprivation: Role of colonic H+-K+-ATPase. Kidney International: 2160-2167.

Acknowledgements I worked on this project with the help of Dr. Suguru Nakamura, M.D./Ph.D. at Murray State University. I thank Dr. Nakamura for letting me work in his nephrology lab for the Spring 2005 semester and Amy Mangla for teaching me how to perform the experiments and how to take care of animals.


CHRYSALIS: The Murray State University Journal of Undergraduate Research


Kelly Jo Drane

Class: Senior Major: Organizational Communication Kelly Jo Drane enjoys researching, analyzing and coming up with new strategies for issues within organizations. An active student at Murray State University, she is a member of Alpha Omicron Pi, Lambda Pi Eta, Student Ambassadors, and various honor societies. Kelly has used her public speaking skills to represent Murray State University at different high schools and has presented her research during Scholars Week. She has a passion for civic participation, and is a volunteer for the American Red Cross and the Senior Citizens Center. After graduation, Kelly will pursue a career in the sales field.

What is the Relationship among Sycophantic Behavior, Supervisor-subordinate Communication, Co-worker Relationships and Trust? The purpose of this essay is to discuss the relationship among sycophantic behavior, supervisor-subordinate communication, co-worker relationships and trust. Once the variables have been discussed, they are tied together with the Leader-Member Exchange Theory of Graen and Scandura, and Machivellianism of Christie and Geis. By reviewing the literature, and in light of the two theories, a tentative conclusion is reached: subtle sycophantic behavior does in fact have a positive influence on supervisorsubordinate communication and co-worker relationships, if trust is maintained.

FACULTY MENTOR Lou Davidson Tillson is an associate professor in the Department of Organizational Communication at Murray State University. She joined MSU in 1992 after receiving her Ph.D. from The Ohio University. Tillson is interested in a wide variety of communication topics, including assessment and communication, health communication, service learning and communication, organizational communication, instructional/educational communication, case method, small group processes, public speaking and graduate teaching assistant development. She has published and presented numerous scholarly studies throughout her career.


CHRYSALIS: The Murray State University Journal of Undergraduate Research

What is the Relationship among Sycophantic Behavior, Supervisor-subordinate Communication, Co-worker Relationships and Trust?


latterer, apple-polisher, yes-man, bootlicker, brown-noser, suck-up; do any of these words describe an employee you know? Perhaps the proper term dates back to the Greek ages with the word sycophant. A sycophant is described as “a person who tries to please someone in order to gain a personal advantage” (“Sycophant,” 2005). This type of employee will go up, over and beyond to satisfy the needs of his or her supervisor. He believes that sycophantic behavior will help him move up the organizational ladder. No matter how an employee behaves, he will always have communication with his supervisor. Supervisors try to find what motivates and empowers their subordinates to do their best, while subordinates work to please their supervisors. The communication that takes place is known as supervisor-subordinate communication. There is also communication amongst co-workers that results in co-worker relationships. Both the communication and relationships that exist depend on trust. Given the fact that these components are present in every organization, what is the relationship among sycophantic behavior, supervisor-subordinate communication, coworker relationships and trust? The first variable that will be discussed is sycophantic behavior. Studies will assess sycophantic behavior with relation to promotion in an organization as well as the best sycophantic influence style. The second variable is supervisor-subordinate communication. This section will include studies of positive supervisor-subordinate relationships and their effect on job satisfaction and employee motivation. The third variable to be discussed is co-worker relationships. Studies and statistics will examine good relationships between co-workers and the effect of these relationships on the organization. The final variable to be discussed is trust. Studies will examine the benefits of trust to the organizationʼs longevity, productivity and efficiency.


Literature Review Sycophantic Behavior Letʼs take a walk back to elementary school. Remember that one kid in class who was always the “teacherʼs pet?” He always got to put new paper on the bulletin board, call the roll, beat out the erasers, and he never seemed to miss a recess. Now, he is all grown up and sits at the cubicle right next to yours. The type of behavior he engages in is known as sycophantic behavior. The average American “changes jobs 10 times and switches careers three times over the course of a lifetime” (Greenspan, 2002, para. 4). There is one thing that each of these jobs will likely have in common: the sycophant employee. Some specific behaviors of a sycophant may include “flattering the boss with compliments, imitating the appearance of supervisors, taking credit for another employeeʼs work and mindlessly agreeing to all of the supervisorʼs decisions” (Underwood, 2003, p. 54). What do these employees gain by engaging in these types of behaviors? Besides being a nuisance to co-workers, sycophants simply want to move up in the organization. Studies have been conducted to assess the influence of the sycophant employee. In one such study by Judge and Bretz (1994), the researchers found that influence behaviors did have a positive effect on career success. The study compared influence tactics of sycophantic behavior to career success. A survey was completed by 651 past graduates of the industrial relations program from a midwestern university. The study found that in fact, supervisor-focused tactics with an ingratiation strategy positively predicted career success. Ingratiation is a soft tactic that uses techniques such as friendliness to gain acceptance and build relationships. The study found that those who used a more assertive strategy for self-promotion experienced a negative impact on career success. The researchers

CHRYSALIS: The Murray State University Journal of Undergraduate Research concluded that “apple polishing seems to be a better means of getting ahead than blowing oneʼs own horn” (p. 59). Another study related influence tactics of sycophantic behavior to promotability. This study was conducted at a major midwestern university. A survey was distributed to both supervisors and subordinates to evaluate the relationship among influence tactics and promotability. Results concluded that assertiveness is not a good tactic for any employee to engage in. Supervisors feel that assertive employees are trying to take control. The most persuasive influence tactic found was reasoning. Reasoning involves the subordinate working with the supervisor and providing detailed action plans, logical arguments, facts and careful explanations. It can be described as a more subtle approach of sycophantic behavior (Thacker and Wayne, 1995). A third study by Farmer and Maslyn (1999) focused on the best influence style. The four different tactics used were bystander influencers, shotgun influencers, tactician influencers, and ingratiator influencers. The bystanders simply used no influence tactics, shotgun influencers used an assertive approach, tactician influencers used reasoning, and ingratiators used friendliness. The study was conducted by surveys filled out by supervisors and subordinates. Once again, the assertive approach was found to be the least effective. The bystander approach seemed to have almost no influence. In this study, both the tactician and ingratiators had the most influence and the strongest supervisor-subordinate relationships (1999). Although all three studies took different approaches, they had very similar findings. All studies found that assertive techniques had a negative impact on their goal of moving up the organizational ladder. However, it can be concluded that some sycophantic influence behaviors, particularly ingratiation and reasoning, do have an impact on career success, promotability, and a stronger supervisor-subordinate relationship. This research also supports the importance of the next variable, supervisor-subordinate communication. Supervisor-Subordinate Communication In order for an organization to run at its best, there must be open communication lines between supervisors and their subordinates. A perfect example of excellent supervisor-subordinate communication is Southwest Airlines. Southwest knows that “poor communication

creates complexity, and the organization becomes sluggish and lethargic while people sort things out” (Freiberg and Freiberg, 1996, p. 82). The communication at Southwest is open and consistent. They have broken hierarchical barriers between supervisors and their subordinates to be a true example of teamwork. Open communication has helped make Southwest a continuously profiting airline (1996). Organizations depend on profit to keep running. Unfortunately, turnover of new employees costs the organization both money and time. According to one article, “The supervisor is the most influential factor in an employeeʼs willingness to stay with an organization—either specifically staying, or just showing up for work, but emotionally checking out” (Bergen, 2003, para. 19). Studies also show the importance of open communication between supervisors and subordinates. In one study, it was found that immediacy between supervisors and subordinates is linked to motivation and job satisfaction. Some examples of non-verbal immediacy may be “leaning toward someone, touching someone, or sitting near someone” (Richmond and McCroskey, 2000, p. 86). It was also found that verbal immediacy has a direct impact on the subordinateʼs attitude toward his or her supervisor. Verbal immediacy may include compliments and positive feedback. It was concluded that “increased immediacy on the part of either the supervisor or the subordinate is likely to generate reciprocity and accommodation leading to a more positive work environment and more desirable outcomes” (p. 93). Another study went a step further to implement reciprocity and accommodation theories to supervisor-subordinate communication. The reciprocity theory suggests that people will “tend to reciprocate the communication behaviors in which their interaction partner engages” (McCroskey and Richmond, 2000, p. 279). For example, if the supervisor were to smile at the subordinate, the subordinate would likely smile back. The accommodation theory suggests that “during communication, people adapt their communication style in order to gain approval from their partner or maintain a certain social position” (p. 279). Both the reciprocity and accommodation theories “offer insight into what people are likely to do when they are in the process of building a supervisor/subordinate relationship” (p. 279). In the study, 213 full-time employees participated. The Assertiveness-Responsiveness Measure test was used to identify the socio-communicative style of the supervisors and the socio13

CHRYSALIS: The Murray State University Journal of Undergraduate Research communicative orientation of the participants. It was found that “people who are responsive can anticipate generating more positive relationships as being the likely outcome of their behaviors” (2000). There was also a direct link between these behaviors and trustworthiness, goodwill and a positive attitude (2000). When supervisors and their subordinates engage in behaviors such as open communication, immediacy, reciprocity and accommodation, it is inevitable that relationships will develop. Cropanzano, Howes, Gandey and Toth (1997) related supportive, collaborative relationships of supervisors and subordinates and their effect on the organization. They found that these positive supervisor-subordinate relationships had three powerful consequences. “First, individuals are more likely to achieve their personal objectives; thus, employees are able to expend their efforts contributing to the organization, having their needs such as attaining feelings of security or economic stability. Second, since supervisory support creates an atmosphere of stability and predictability, loyalty is enhanced, resulting in higher predictability that employees will use resources in a manner beneficial to the organization. Third, supervisory support makes threatening events less frequent, since friends are less likely to mount an attack (p. 160).” These factors increase employee satisfaction and reduce stress, thus reducing the probability of employee turnover (Cropanzano et al., 1997). From the research presented, it can be concluded that behaviors between supervisors and subordinates such as open communication, immediacy, accommodation and reciprocity create a more positive work environment and strong relationships. The relationships that develop increase employee satisfaction for both the supervisor and the subordinate. Along with good communication with supervisors, subordinates need to develop a relationship with other employees. This leads to the next variable to be discussed, co-worker relationships.

workplace than they do with their families. The amount of time spent together helps develop co-worker relationships. According to a poll, “66 percent of employees are satisfied with co-worker relationships” (Carroll, 2003, para. 4). Although this is a high percentage, there are still one-third of the employees that are not satisfied. The same poll also reported that only “43 percent of adults were completely satisfied with their jobs” (para. 3). The poll concluded that employees who were satisfied with co-worker relationships were more likely to have complete job satisfaction. What are the characteristics of a good relationship? In the 1970s, Carl identified five characteristics that must be represented in relationships in order for them to be considered good human relationships (Manning, Curtis and McMillen, 1996). The first characteristic of a good relationship is sensitivity. Sensitivity means that each person must be willing to understand the otherʼs feelings and emotions. Another characteristic essential to the relationship is open communication. Open communication involves both members being able to express their thoughts and feelings. There also must be honesty in the relationship on the part of each individual. Along with honesty, Carl identified respect as another characteristic. Each person must accept and respect the other personʼs rights and beliefs. Finally, there must be a rhythm to the relationship. There must be a flow to the relationship where there is a period of sharing and openness and then both parties embrace these experiences (1996). A study by Gersick, Bartunek and Dutton (2000) was conducted with faculty members at a business school which evaluated the importance of relationships in professional life. In-depth interviews were conducted. One participant, when asked why these relationships were important to her, responded: “Sometimes you lose confidence. And then you get with this group. And- youʼre rejuvenated! Youʼre excited again! They value what you do! They think what you do is interesting! They—theyʼre sort of everything!” (p. 1028). It was concluded that good relationships between co-workers possessed qualities such as admiration for each other, positive mentoring, support and validation, personal friendship and a feeling of safety (2000).

Co-worker Relationships Nine-hour workdays result in more than just a paycheck at the end of the week. Face it, some employees spend more time in the


From the research conducted, it can be concluded that good relationships in the workplace result in positive outcomes both for the individual and the organization. One of the characteristics of a good relationship is trust, our next variable to be discussed.

CHRYSALIS: The Murray State University Journal of Undergraduate Research Trust In a perfect world, everyone would be trustworthy. Welcome to the not-so-perfect world where co-workers may lie and be deceitful! However, a book titled, Jobmanship: How to Get Ahead by “Psyching Out” Your Boss and Co-workers, states that “once you understand your co-workersʼ personalities, youʼre better able to decide who can be trusted” (Redford, 1978). Trust is an important ingredient in any successful organization. Even though it may be hard to measure, it is evident that trust must be present in order for communication to flow effectively throughout the organization. Past research has determined that “trust between individuals and groups within the organization is a highly important element in the long-term stability of the organization and the well-being of its members” (p. 45). Cook and Wall also determined that trust has a positive relationship with job satisfaction, organizational identification and organizational involvement (1980). One such study supports Cook and Wallʼs conclusions. A study by Pillai, Schriescheim and Williams (1999) measured relationships among transformational and transactional leadership, procedural and distributive justice, trust, job satisfaction, organizational commitment and organizational citizenship behaviors. In this study, trust was measured by a 12-item instrument developed by Marlowe and Nyhan. Once each of the variables was tested, the researchers developed three separate models to show the relationship among the variables. The models showed a direct link between trust, job satisfaction, organizational citizenship behaviors and organizational commitment. The study concluded that reciprocal trust in the relationship positively influenced job satisfaction, organizational citizenship behaviors and organizational commitment. Another study by Schindler and Thomas (1993) examined the structure of interpersonal trust in the workplace. Interpersonal trust may be “directed in any or all of three directions from the individual: upward to the supervisor, downward to a subordinate, or laterally to co-workers” (p. 564). Therefore, the study focused on all types of relationships in the organization. Sixty-six supervisor and managerial level employees completed the questionnaire. It was found that “no matter whether the relationship is between oneself and a supervisor, a subordinate or a peer, the order of importance in trust components from most to least is integrity, competence,

loyalty, consistency and openness” (p. 572). The research also concluded: “Organizations must work toward recognizing and remedying their trust deficiencies. Give the ordering of importance of the five trust conditions, as determined here, companies should concern themselves with fostering employeesʼ integrity (i.e., honesty and truthfulness). In doing so, the likelihood of increasing trust among employees is enhanced as is the potential for bettering the flow of communication, productivity and the overall quality of work life (p. 570).” With past and present research, it can be concluded that trust among employees in any organization is beneficial to the organizationʼs longevity, productivity, efficiency and employee job satisfaction. Now that all four variables have been thoroughly examined and discussed, the next step is to analyze. In the next section, the analysis, the variables will be tied together with communication theories to draw a conclusion to the research question.

Analysis Leader-Member Exchange Theory The Leader-Member Exchange Theory, also known as LMX, was introduced in the 1970s by theorists Graen and Scandura. The theory examines the relationship and the role processes between a leader and the individual followers. According to the LMX theory, subordinates fall in either one of two groups. The first group is known as the “in-group.” These are individuals who have a special relationship with their leader. Those in the “in-group” can be compared to the popular students at school who always got special rights and privileges because of their relationship with the teacher. According to Thomas (2003), those in the “in-group” have “greater access, influence and favor, and are typically considered the trusted advisors, assistants or lieutenants of the leader” (para. 2). The other group of subordinates fall into what is known as the “out-group.” This group follows the same expectations from the leader, but lacks that special relationship. Members of the “out-group” can be related to the “other” students at school. They followed school rules and procedures, but never received the same special privileges as the students in the “in-group” (Thomas, 2003).


CHRYSALIS: The Murray State University Journal of Undergraduate Research The special relationship shared between members of the “in-group” and their leader also calls for certain responsibilities. According to Thomas (2003), members of the “in-group “have a greater sense of commitment, deeper loyalty to the leader, and share difficult administrative responsibilities” (para. 2). With these responsibilities, the leader and the member “mutually gain more personal power because of reciprocal trust and respect for each other” (para. 3). As a result of the reciprocal trust and respect, Truckenbrodt (2000) found “a mutual trust, positive support, informal interdependencies, greater job latitude, common bonds, open communication, a high degree of autonomy satisfaction, and shared loyalty exist” (p. 234). What distinguishing characteristics place individuals in either the “in-group” or the “out-group?” Although it cannot clearly be explained as to why some people prefer others, it can be determined that bias or perceived similarities do play a role in the process (Thomas, 2003). A study by Deluga and Perry (1994) examines the role of subordinate performance and communication with the LeaderMember Exchange Theory. The researchers used several different scales to measure the supervisor and subordinate relationships. The researchers found that higher quality exchanges between the leader and the member did in fact positively influence subordinate performance. Also, the use of ingratiation by subordinates “added a significant incremental contribution beyond performance in the prediction of higher quality exchanges” (p. 81). This theory relates directly to each variable and can help us answer the research question. Through the use of subtle sycophantic behaviors such as ingratiation, a stronger supervisor-subordinate relationship emerges. This is due to a higher exchange level between the supervisor and the subordinate. However, using a strong assertive style of sycophantic behavior will weaken bonds with co-workers and subordinates alike. Often, the “yes-man” in the organization accepts too many responsibilities that he often cannot fulfill. Also, he is constantly trying to undermine his coworkers, and therefore, he is not only a nuisance, but is viewed as untrustworthy (Gable and Dangello, 1994). Machiavellianism The next theory to be examined is Machiavellianism. Christie and Geis studied Machiavellianism and wrote a book on the subject 16

in 1970 titled Studies in Machiavellianism. Since that time, Machiavellianism has been widely researched and applied to many different business settings (Moss and Barbuto, 2004). The amount of Machiavellianism in oneʼs personality is measured on a scale developed by Christie and Geis. The scale is known as the Mach IV scale. Individuals who take the test are identified by the higher or lower amount of Machiavellianism in their personalities. According to Christie and Geis, those who are identified as high Machiavellian are described as “being a hardheaded cynic, not very trusting of human nature, and ready to deal with what is, rather than what ought to be” (p. 11). Christie and Geis go on to describe that high Machiavellians are “pragmatic, maintain emotional distance, manipulate more, are persuaded less, and can persuade others more” (p. 11). Those who are lower on the Machiavellian scale “value trust and loyalty, are less willing to manipulate others for personal gain, and are concerned with the effect of their actions on others” (p. 11). A study by Moss and Barbuto in 2004 examined the relationship between influence tactics and Machiavellianism. The study found that “higher scores on Machiavellianism indicate a greater association with the use of soft tactics regardless of the source of motivation” (p. 938). The Machiavellian theory can be used to help answer our research question. Those with a middle to higher Machiavellian attitude are the most persuasive and use softer influence tactics. Although those at the highest end of the Machiavellian scale may be too concerned with self-promotion, the most effective subordinates used tactics such as reasoning and ingratiation. Therefore, it can be determined that a Machiavellian attitude and soft tactics do have an influence on supervisor-subordinate communication. Other co-workers may find that a very high Machiavellian attitude is very deceptive and manipulative. If these characteristics are in fact true, co-workers and supervisors may lose trust in this type of behavior. With the Leader-Member Exchange theory and Machiavellianism in mind, and from the research presented in the paper, the conclusion drawn is that subtle styles of sycophantic behavior, particularly ingratiation and reasoning, do in fact, have a positive impact on supervisor-subordinate communication. More assertive styles aimed at promotion of oneself appear to have a negative influence on both the supervisor and fellow co-workers. Co-worker relationships, as well as supervisor-subordinate communication,

CHRYSALIS: The Murray State University Journal of Undergraduate Research depend on trust, and if an employee is engaging in sycophantic behavior for apparent personal gains, the trust becomes violated. However, if the subordinate is engaging in subtle sycophantic behaviors to improve the communication flow between himself and his supervisor, and trust is maintained between himself and his fellow co-workers, then this approach can be beneficial to the employee and the organization.

Conclusions The variables were researched and examined before presenting the information. The first variable presented in the literature review was sycophantic behavior. A brief introduction was given along with examples of sycophantic behavior. Studies by Judge and Bretz, Thacker and Wayne, and Farmer and Maslyn agree that assertive behavior is not an effective technique to positively influence supervisors or co-workers. The studies also agreed that subtle approaches to sycophantic behavior have shown a positive link to effective supervisor-subordinate communication. This leads to our next variable examined, supervisor-subordinate communication. It was found that relationships that developed between the supervisors and subordinates through different communication behaviors such as immediacy, reciprocity and accommodation resulted in a more positive work environment for both the supervisor and subordinate. The next variable discussed was co-worker relationships. In this section, statistics related good co-worker relationships to job satisfaction. Carl identified the components of a good relationship, and a study by Gersick, Bartunek and Dutton proved the impact of good co-worker relationships on the employees and the organization. The final variable discussed was trust. A discussion of the importance of trust in relation to the communication flow in an organization was given. It was concluded that trust among employees is related to their job satisfaction, thus improving the organizationʼs longevity, productivity and efficiency. The next section of the paper was the analysis. This is where theories were used to help answer the research question presented. The theories used were the Leader-Member Exchange Theory of Graen and Scandura and Machiavellianism of Christie and Geis.

Through the analysis of the theories and the examination of the variables, the conclusion drawn was that subtle sycophantic behaviors do in fact have a positive influence on supervisorsubordinate communication. If proper styles of sycophantic behavior such as ingratiation and reasoning are properly used, there is also a positive relationship among the employee and his fellow co-workers, and trust is obtained. However, if behaviors of an employee are too assertive and manipulative, trust from co-workers and supervisors are lost, thus defeating his purpose of self-promotion. The research conducted for this paper was not only looked at from an individual standpoint, but as a beneficiary to the organization as a whole. Future research might, for example, look at additional variables - perhaps exploring the gender and age differences in sycophantic behavior, or the perceptions of sycophantic behavior from co-workers. Other research may include the effect of technology, the decline of face to face communication, and their effect on sycophantic behavior. Confucius once said, “The superior man is modest in his speech, but exceeds in his actions.” Implications from the research support this quote. Becoming the annoying, assertive, yes-man will not move you up the organizational ladder. However, gaining trust from co-workers and supervisors through your actions, mixed with a little bit of schmoozing, may one day have them polishing your apples!

References Bergen, J. (2003, March 31). Wise managers understand what motivates others. The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved January 15, 2005, from EBSCOhost Database. Carroll, J. (2003). Americaʼs employees rate the workplace. Gallup Poll, 1-6. Christie, R. and Geis, F. (1970). Studies in Machiavellianism. New York: Academic Press. Cook, J., and Wall, T. (1980). New work attitude measures of trust, organizational commitment and personal needs need nonfulfillment. Journal of Occupational Psychology, 53, 39-52.


CHRYSALIS: The Murray State University Journal of Undergraduate Research Cropanzano, R., Howes, J., Grandey, A. and Toth, P. (1997). The relationship of organizational politics and support to work behaviors, attitudes, and stress. Journal of Organization Behavior, 18, 159-180. Deluga, R., and Perry, J. (1994). The role of subordinate performance and ingratiation in leader-member exchanges. Group and Organization Management, 19 (1), 67-86. Farmer, S., and Maslyn, J. (1999). Why are styles of upward influence neglected? Making the case for a configurational approach to influences. Journal of Management, 25 (5), 653682. Freiberg, K., and Freiberg, J. (1996). Nuts! Southwest airlinesʼ crazy recipe for business and personal success. New York: Broadway Books. Gable, M., and Dangello, F. (1994). Locus of control, machiavellianism, and managerial job performance. Journal of Psychology, 128 (5), 599-609. Gersick, C., Bartunek, J., and Dutton, J. (2000). Learning from academia: The importance of relationships in professional life. Academy of Management Journal, 43 (5), 1028-1044. Greenspan, R. (2002). Big increase in job-seeking surfers. Retrieved February 4, 2005 from professional/article.php/5971_1437221 Judge, T., and Bretz, R. (1994). Political influence behavior and career success. Journal of Management, 20 (1), 43-65. Manning, G., Curtis, K., and McMillen, S. (1996). Building community: The human side of work (1st ed.). Duluth: Whole Person Associates. McCroskey, J., and Richmond, V. (2000). Applying reciprocity and accommodation theories to supervisor/subordinate communication. Journal of Applied Communication Research, 28 (3), 278-289.


Moss, J., and Barbuto, J. (2004). Machiavellianismʼs association with sources of motivation and downward influence strategies. Psychological Reports, 94, 933-943. Pillai, R., Schriesheim, C., and Williams, E. (1999). Fairness perceptions and trust as mediators for transformational and transactional leadership: A two-sample study. Journal of Management, 25 (6) 897-933. Redford, S. (1978). Jobmanship: How to get ahead by “psyching out” your boss and co-workers. New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc. Richmond, V., and McCroskey, J. (2000). The impact of supervisor and subordinate immediacy on relational and organizational outcomes. Communication Monographs, 67 (1), 85-95. Schindler, P., and Thomas, C. (1993). The structure of interpersonal trust in the workplace. Psychological Reports, 73, 563-573. Sycophant. (2005). Wordnet dictionary. Retrieved January 14, 2005, from Thacker, R., and Wayne, S. (1995). An examination of the relationship between upward influence tactics and assessments of promotability. Journal of Management, 21 (4), 739-756. Thomas, G. (2003). Leader-Member Exchange Theory. Retrieved February 2, 2005, from nov03/LMX112003.html Truckenbrodt, Y. (2000). The relationship between leader-member exchange and commitment and organizational citizenship behavior. Acquisition Review Quarterly, 233-244. Underwood, R. (2003). Office handbook. Fast Company, 75, 54.

CHRYSALIS: The Murray State University Journal of Undergraduate Research


Adam Elias Class: Senior Major: Sociology

I spent much of my early life in Southern Baptist churches, so it is only natural and proper that I direct my research in this area. Furthermore, I have found that there are certain critical flaws within the church system that can only be thoroughly examined from the perspective of an insider, and my life thus far has furnished me with just such a perspective. My research regarding the church is meant to be constructive in its criticism, though blunt in its exposition. Only through honest reflection can much-needed reformation take place.

The Effects of Fear Appeals and Cultural Assimilation on the Church This study focuses on two common though latent factors of Southern Baptist churches—appeals to fear and the assimilation of outside cultures. These variables play a significant role in shaping both the church as an organization and the communication that takes place within that organizational framework. The intended purposes, roles in communication, and effects of these factors are examined in light of previous research as well as in the context of Groupthink Theory. The purpose of this analysis is to consider the question, “What effects do fear appeals and cultural assimilation have on the church?”

FACULTY MENTOR Lou Davidson Tillson is an associate professor in the Department of Organizational Communication at Murray State University. She joined MSU in 1992 after receiving her Ph.D. from The Ohio University. Tillson is interested in a wide variety of communication topics, including assessment and communication, health communication, service learning and communication, organizational communication, instructional/educational communication, case method, small group processes, public speaking and graduate teaching assistant development. She has published and presented numerous scholarly studies throughout her career.


CHRYSALIS: The Murray State University Journal of Undergraduate Research

The Effects of Fear Appeals and Cultural Assimilation on the Church


ne might argue that the institutional church has been historyʼs most effective communicator over the course of its 2,000 years, though “effective” has not always been beneficial. It might also be argued that the institutional church has preserved the civility of human culture. Nonetheless, one cannot deny its role in some of historyʼs greatest breaches of that same civility. The church has spanned an eventful history, and many have chosen—and many still choose—to simply overlook its less-than-pleasant side. Yet, to fully understand an organization with a past as intricate and varied as that of the church, one must examine both its virtues and shortcomings, and they are many. What is it that allows the church an extensively influential role, even to this day? Its foundation is entirely spiritual, yet especially in America the church is a very visible and dominant organization. According to the United States Census Bureau (2003), 91 percent of Americans have some sort of religious preference, with 78 percent of those being either Protestant or Catholic (p.67). Indeed, the church continues its central role in American life nearly 2,000 years after its conception. Perhaps the worldʼs oldest and most broadly defined organization in the world, no generalizations can be made about the global church, and even attempting to generalize a particular denomination would be folly. Any conclusion reached here pertaining to the church is strictly relative to those who engage in the communication and organizational practices mentioned in this analysis, common as they may be. So, for the sake of further specificity, this analysis will define “the church” as the typical American institution affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), as this author has had extensive contact with churches of this particular denomination. In addition, second to only the Roman Catholic Church, the SBC is by far the largest single religious organization in the United States (U.S. Census Bureau). The SBC has “grown to over 16 million members who worship in more than 42,000 churches in the United States” (A Closer Look, About Us, para.1). The Southern Baptist Convention defines a church as: A New Testament church of the Lord Jesus Christ is a local 20

body of baptized believers who are associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel … and seeking to extend the gospel to the ends of the earth. … This church is an autonomous body. … The New Testament speaks also of the church as the body of Christ, which includes all of the redeemed of all the ages. (A Closer Look, Basic Beliefs, para.10) By both secular and spiritual standards, the church is an organization maintained by professed believers in Jesus Christ who fulfill certain tangible and symbolic criteria and engage in an ongoing effort to communicate the message of Jesus Christ to others; it is a purposeful organization. Southern Baptist churches are generally more concerned with outreach than almost any aspect of religious practice. In a survey of Southern Baptist churches, it was found that 45 percent of congregations valued the pastorʼs sermons more than anything, while 33 percent valued “reaching the unchurched” more than anything else. Relative to other Christian denominations nationwide, “They value reaching the unchurched to a greater extent, but value communion or the Lordʼs Supper to a lesser extent. They are also more likely to have actually invited someone to attend worship services with their congregations” (Jones, 2002, p.44). The church has historically been an organization in which communication is one of, if not the, most important aspect. As times change, so do the ways human beings communicate with each other, and this is indeed true of those involved in the church. One discomforting method that has been employed at times is fear appeals, and this topic will be further explored in this analysis. The second topic examined in this analysis is the institutional churchʼs tendency to engage in unnecessary cultural assimilation. Christianity has left a permanent mark on the world, and from the manner in which it spread in its early days to the manner in which it spreads now, cultures all over the world have encountered the

CHRYSALIS: The Murray State University Journal of Undergraduate Research message of the church. However, this has often cost these cultures their individuality and traditional lifestyles. After these variables are examined in light of previous research and in relation to the church, Groupthink Theory will be considered to explain the relationship among these variables and the church. This analysis is primarily a discussion of communication within an organization—the church. Communication is a basic component of fear appeals and cultural assimilation, and these topics cannot be discussed apart from communication, especially in the context of the church.

Literature Review Fear Appeals The fear appeal is a relatively new concept in communication research, though it may be one of the oldest and most common strategies of persuasion in human history. According to Ragsdale and Durham, “the majority of this research was done in the period from 1953 to 1973” (1987, p.9). Despite this era of fearrelated research, Ragsdale and Durham echo the beliefs of many researchers when they claim that “summaries of fear arousal research reveal that its findings are often conflicting” (1987, p.10). “Most research in the area generally known as ʻfear appealsʼ has examined the persuasive effects and effectiveness of different types of threat-based communications on various groups of consumer subjects” (LaTour and Rotfeld, 1997, Introduction, para.1). For the sake of profitability, fear appeals have been of major interest to advertisers, and research has generally shifted to consumer studies in recent years. Fear appeals can be broken down into at least two variables: the communicated threat and the emotional fear response. For this reason, several researchers prefer the term “threat appeal” over “fear appeal” for the sake of specificity. LaTour and Rotfeld define a threat as: An appeal to fear, a communication stimulus that attempts to evoke a fear response by showing some type of outcome that the audience (it is hoped) wants to avoid. Fear is an actual emotional response that can impel changes in attitude or behavior tensions . . . The distinction is important because research has often examined what were labeled ʻlevels of fearʼ but, in reality, were different degrees of harm portrayed or types of threats. (1997, Threats: appeals to fear, para.2)

This analysis focuses mainly upon communicated threats, or threat appeals, though the term “fear appeals” will be used throughout this study because of its common usage by researchers. Fear appeals are rather difficult to study for several reasons, chiefly because everyone reacts differently emotionally. This alone disallows universal conclusions regarding the effect and utilization of fear appeals. “The effect of varying a source, message or receiver factor cannot be understood in isolation from the content of the message” (Ragsdale and Durham, 1986, p.41). Neither can the effect of the message be understood in isolation from its receiver. Thus, when studying fear appeals, it is imperative that one considers the audience, among other things. “A response to fear is probably specific to the situation, topic, person and criterion. Thus, the form of the relationship will vary across combinations of these four factors” (LaTour and Rotfeld, 1997, Threats: appeals to fear, para. 5). As the relationship between the sender and receiver varies, so will the effect of the fear appeal. “ʻDemographic characteristics and personality traits moderate the relationship between fear manipulations and attitudes,ʼ making audience analysis essential” (Ragsdale and Durham, 1987, p.10). Further research tends to suggest that the effectiveness of fear appeals varies depending upon the level of fear incorporated into the message—high or low—and the characteristics of the receiver. “High or low levels of fear arousal clearly do not produce uniform effects but rather interact with listener characteristics” (Ragsdale and Durham, 1986, p.41). Depending upon the listener, a varying degree of fear appeals may be more appropriate and effective. Despite this possibility for variance, a linear relationship between communicated fear and persuasion has commonly been found. In general, the greater the actual fear activation engendered by a communication the greater the persuasion . . . The repeated conclusion has been that increases in fear are generally associated with changes in behavior, attitudes or intentions, though the relationships are sometimes small and less definitive for behavior than intentions. (LaTour and Rotfeld, 1997, Fear arousal and persuasion, para.1) In other words, research has shown that fear usually has an effect on people, and that effect is generally the participation in the behavior suggested by the fear appeal. “Fear arousal via communications is unlikely to be counterproductive,” and if any sort of effect is 21

CHRYSALIS: The Murray State University Journal of Undergraduate Research achieved, it is usually, though not always, the desired effect; fear appeals rarely backfire (LaTour and Rotfeld, 1997, Fear arousal and persuasion, para.5). Though fear appeals containing a high level of fear generally glean the intended result, Ragsdale and Durham suggest that the appealʼs source must be perceived as credible to the audience because threats often result in negative reactions, though not necessarily rejection. “Listeners exposed to a strong fear appeal ʻshowed the greatest amount of subjective dislike of the communication and made more complaints about the content,ʼ an effect which might be transferred to the speaker” (1987, p.10). This may be translated as the rare “counterproductive” results mentioned by LaTour and Rotfeld, but it must be understood that it is the communication that is held in contempt, not necessarily the sender of the message, and the fear appeal may in fact be successful in promoting the behavior, regardless of the receiversʼ feelings toward the actual communication. However, a credible source may neutralize this resulting negativity. “When there is a highly esteemed source for a warning and the probability of punishment is high, subjects are more likely to be compliant” (Ragsdale and Durham, 1987, p.10). In the eyes of the typical conservative Southern Baptist church, the pastor and his associate ministers are often the most credible of sources. According to Ragsdale and Durham, “religious conservatives also are more likely to heed the advice of a prestigious source, such as a minister” (1986, p.41). Not only does the credibility cause church members to heed advice, but as previously discussed, it causes them to be more compliant to fear appeals used by their ministers. “The positive evaluation of source credibility by [groups exposed to high fear appeals] may help to explain how contemporary preachers seem to ʻget away withʼ using such a time-worn technique as fear arousal” (Ragsdale and Durham, 1987, p.13). Not only do their audiences allow them to arouse fear, but, according to Ragsdale and Durham, “many listeners to contemporary preaching are accustomed to hearing religious fear appeals and may not regard preachers who avoid them as highly as those who do not” (1987, p.13). In other words, many congregations actually prefer to be provoked by fear. Fear appeals in the church often serve as a method of gaining compliance by conjuring a “conversion experience” in nonmembers, preaching “eternal damnation as a consequence of rejecting the Christian message,” and to promote a variety of


behaviors among regulars, including church attendance, evangelism and detachment from the secular (Ragsdale and Durham, 1987, p.9). Because these fear appeals come from credible sources, they often achieve the intended result, an effect that causes cultural assimilation and the perpetuation of the church system, both of which will be discussed. Cultural Assimilation Assimilation theory was first developed in the 1930s by a variety of scholars such as William Thomas and Robert Park. America was in a state of active immigration, and “both Park and Thomas were at the forefront of an attempt among sociologists and anthropologists to advance a new theory about social interaction that was based upon the concept of culture” (Cayton and Williams, 2001, p.3). The time was ripe for the studying of various cultures and how they adapted to life in the melting pot of America. It was in this adaptation that researchers like Thomas and Park saw a general shift to conformity—assimilation into the pre-existing American culture rather than the retention of oneʼs own culture. This prompted researchers to develop the assimilation model. In the assimilation model, a process of Anglo conformity characterizes the movement toward a ʻcultural unit.ʼ Assimilation was the prerequisite for good jobs, higher education, a certain degree of social acceptance, participation in public and political life, etc. Minority groups were expected to give up their traditions and adopt Anglo-American culture. Some were ready to do so eagerly even if it meant giving up much of their original heritage. (Shah, 2003, p.167) The assimilation model has proven to effectively explain the process of assimilation not only in immigrants, but also in organizations. Though assimilation is often studied today in terms of workplace socialization, the concept of assimilation is, at its most basic, “the process of transforming an individual from outsider to insider” (Hess, 1993, p.194). Cultural assimilation then is simply the process of transforming an individual from cultural outsider to cultural insider, or the absorption of cultures that deviate from the culture of the norm group. “Each organization has its own distinctive set of roles, appropriate behaviors, ethical standards, norms and values—its culture” (Hess, 1993, p.191). Thus, culture is not only a thing possessed by each different country, but also something unique to each organized group of individuals, or organization.

CHRYSALIS: The Murray State University Journal of Undergraduate Research Cultural assimilation always involves at least two cultures or organized identities. Hatch and Schultz define an organizational identity as that which “members perceive, feel and think about their organizations. It is assumed to be a collective, commonlyshared understanding of the organizationʼs distinctive values and characteristics” (1997, The concept of identity, para.1). Because of this spectrum of possibilities for organizational cultures, research in cultural assimilation has often involved such topics as paradigms, identity, socialization and alienation, among others. Identity is one of the chief matters of importance when discussing assimilation, as the establishment and maintenance of an identity for both the organization and the assimilated individual is core to the assimilatory process. “Assimilation involves the interaction of socialization and individualization. Socialization refers to organizationsʼ attempts to mold individuals to meet their needs while individualization comprises individualsʼ attempts to mold organizations to meet personal needs” (Kramer and Miller, 1999, p. 360). Though commonly viewed as a one-way street, assimilation affects all variables of the equation. This being so, cultural assimilation is not inherently a bad thing. The assimilation of cultures has occurred throughout history, and all cultures today are combinations of previous cultures; assimilation is naturally unavoidable, but it can also be beneficial. This natural assimilation is the cause of global diversity and occurs through simple interaction between members of different cultures. However, cultural assimilation can also have grave results for the affected cultures if the process is unnecessary and unnatural. The church is often the setting of such a process. Cultural assimilation is present in the functioning of the church, most notably in the spreading of the Christian message, commonly called “missions,” though this by no means requires that detrimental cultural assimilation be at work. First, cultural assimilation requires that two cultures be in conflict, whether in space or ideology. However, for Christianity to be in conflict with a culture, it would first require that Christianity be naturally aligned with a certain culture, and that is certainly not the case. “The historical embodiment of Christianity in particular cultures itself serves as a serious obstacle for further inculturation” (Mattam, 2002, p. 310), a proper definition of “inculturation” being “an intimate transformation of the authentic cultural values by their integration into Christianity and the implantation of Christianity into different human cultures” (“Varietates Legitimae,” 1994, para. 4). While cultural assimilation would be the absorption of a culture into

the church culture, inculturation would be a balanced exchange benefiting both the church and the encountered culture—the church communicating the Christian message to the culture, and the culture integrating their values into the existing church. Indeed, A.P. Elkin, a former professor of anthropology at the University of Sydney, once claimed, “continuity with the past . . . is essential” (McGregor, 2001, p. 41). Like many culturally sensitive missionaries have before and since, Elkin believed: The real, though difficult, task facing missionaries was to integrate the Christian faith into the existing social, cultural and religious order, in the process transforming it into what he was confident was “a richer view of life and a loftier system of moral and social sanctions. (McGregor, 2001, p. 41) Because a culture is much more than an ideology, though certain cultural practices may be in conflict with Christian principles, Christianity in no way requires the elimination of an entire culture, or the assimilation of that culture into the culture of the church, since there is no established culture of the church. The problem arises when members of a church believe that their own culture is applicable to those who would be in the church worldwide. When these churches send out missionaries to Eastern parts of the world, nothing short of reckless cultural assimilation occurs as non-Western cultures proclaim the American Southern Baptist subculture as Christian culture and expect to learn nothing of their own faith from the encountered cultures. This has been the unfortunate history of Western churches: Continual transformation was neglected by the Churches in the West which considered the form and shape they took in the West as final, to be transported to every culture and people. The structures and dogmatic assertions, which were meaningful at one time and place should not be made obligatory everywhere. (Mattam, 2002, p. 309) And so, as cultures are assimilated rather than having Christianity integrated into them, an injustice is done to the potential of the global church; rather than taking a variety of forms and enriching its members worldwide, the Western-oriented “structures and dogmatic assertions” become internationally solidified as the culture of the church itself. The result is a uniform organizational structure that is becoming increasingly more common, and its effects may be more detrimental than beneficial. 23

CHRYSALIS: The Murray State University Journal of Undergraduate Research Analysis The church is not commonly perceived as an organization to be studied in the context of Groupthink Theory; this model is usually associated with organizations or groups whose flaws are more exposed than those of the church. However, as has been demonstrated, fear appeals and cultural assimilation are areas in which the church is facing a crisis in organizational communication. The following analysis of Groupthink Theory will further explain and link these variables. Groupthink Groupthink is a theory conceived by Irving Janis to explain the phenomenon that occurs when “groups are, under certain specifiable circumstances, prone to act much differently and to use a faultier decision-making process than they would if they either worked individually on the problem, or worked in groups that were free of certain constraints” (Courtright, 1978, p. 229). Additionally several “symptoms” commonly indicate groupthink. Courtright lists these as: extraordinary group cohesiveness, group detachment from morality by thinking and speaking in abstract terms, a group leader who unconsciously considers only a narrow spectrum of solutions, a feeling of group infallibility, and “the emergence of ʻmindguardsʼ who protect the group from any facts, criticism, re-evaluations, etc.” that would eliminate the infallible attitude of the group (1978, p. 229). Griffin (1997) adds “belief in inherent morality of the group,” “collective rationalization,” “out-group stereotypes,” and “direct pressure on dissenters.” Janis claims that group cohesiveness is “the major condition that promotes groupthink” (Courtright, 1978, p. 230). Groupthink requires a tightly-knit organization of individuals who “share a strong ʻwe-feelingʼ of solidarity and desire to maintain relationships within the group at all costs” (Griffin, 1997, para. 8), and this is usually found under the banner of a certain ideology, such as nationalism or religion. The individualistic nature of Americans makes them a prime target for groupthink—when they band together, itʼs usually for something rather important to them. When something as paramount as God is factored into the equation, which is of the utmost importance to a large percentage of Americans, it is a recipe for coalition, especially when there is an evil to conquer, such as unbelief.


This can easily create an “us versus them” mentality and cause church members to begin “thinking and speaking in abstract, euphemistic terms” (Courtright, 1978, p. 229) such as “saved” and “lost” that serve to solidify the boundaries that separate those who attend church from everyone else, a clear illustration of Griffinʼs “out-group stereotypes.” This has and can evolve into a church subculture, and those who fail to participate in the subculture are seen as in need of rescue, regardless of personal faith. A rampant evangelization process can develop from this mindset in which valid, diverse cultures are viewed not only as trivial obstacles to salvation, but even contrary to the church subculture, and they are accordingly assimilated, the result of which usually takes on a particularly Western visage. Because most pastors believe themselves to be spiritually responsible for their congregations, they can also play the role of “self-appointed mindguards” (Griffin, 1997, para. 19) in which they filter ideas, theologies and issues through their own belief systems and present their own perspective to the congregations, whose members often equate the pastorsʼ perspectives with the will of God. Pastors may take the “mindguard” role very seriously, even to the point at which they knowingly allow the congregation to believe the pastorʼs perspective to be infallible. Groupthink illustrates how, due to the cohesiveness of many Southern Baptist churches, missions, evangelism and outreach can be approached in a manner detrimental to other cultures, prompting unnecessary and unnatural cultural assimilation. Groupthink is also demonstrated by the organizational structure of the typical church in that members commonly display a great deal of cohesiveness, a belief in inherent morality, out-group stereotypes, and the employment of “mindguards,” among other symptoms. Such an environment is ripe for the usage of fear appeals by the leaders of the church to gain compliance, as well as by those who engage in assimilative evangelism. Thus, Groupthink explains the effect of cultural assimilation by revealing how it aids in the perpetuation of the church system and its hierarchical means of communication at the sake of cultural integration and diversity.

CHRYSALIS: The Murray State University Journal of Undergraduate Research Conclusion


The church is a diverse organization, and its relationship to organizational communication shares that diversity. As has been illustrated, Southern Baptist churchgoers are generally greatly influenced by those in leadership positions within the church. This influence often comes in the form of fear appeals, which are made possible by the pastorʼs credibility in the eyes of the congregations. This sway can be used to gain compliance in a number of areas ranging from conversion to perpetuation of the church system. These two factors are key elements in the second variable discussed—cultural assimilation. The assimilation process is not necessarily detrimental if cultural integration occurs. However, typical evangelism and mission work often takes on a very ethnocentric persona, and the outreach of the church often results in the unnecessary assimilation, and sometimes elimination, of “outsider” cultures.

A Closer Look. (n.d.) Retrieved February 7, 2005, from http://www.

Following the discussion of these variables, Groupthink Theory was incorporated into the research. Groupthink linked fear appeals and cultural assimilation, predominantly through factors such as leadership credibility and organizational cohesion within the church. When an organization has a highly formalized and centralized structure, combined with the spiritual nature of the organization, leadership is given a great deal of credibility. This allows leaders to employ fear to gain compliance. When group cohesion is strong, an “us vs. them” mentality can be fostered, and “outsider” cultures can be assimilated with little concern for integration. More research is unquestionably needed in the areas examined in this study, specifically fear appeals and cultural assimilation on the part of the church. Yet more than anything, this study reveals the need for greater scrutiny into the methods and motivation behind several fundamental structural and communication practices of the church. As has been observed, there are indeed detriments, and more research may shed further light on just how damaging such practices may be. The leadership of the institutional church has taken advantage of its organizational structure and has proven to be an effective communicator—effective in using fear and increasing cohesion—to gain the compliance of churchgoers. And though the spreading of the Christian message is supposed a chief concern of the church, there are times when it communicates little more than a culture or a fear.

Cayton, M., and Williams, P. (Eds.). (2001). Encyclopedia of American cultural and intellectual history. New York: Scribnerʼs Sons. Courtright, J. A. (1978, August). A laboratory investigation of groupthink. Communication Monographs, 45, 229-237. Retrieved February 8, 2005, from EBSCOhost database. Griffin, E. (1997). Groupthink of Irving Janis. Retrieved January 29, 2005, from Hatch, M. J., and Schultz, M. (1997). Relations between organizational culture, identity and image. European Journal of Marketing, 31, 5/6. Retrieved February 11, 2005, from EBSCOhost database. Hess, J. A. (1993, May). Assimilating newcomers into an organization: A cultural perspective. Journal of Applied Communication Research, 21. Retrieved January 29, 2005, from EBSCOhost database. Jones, P. B. (2002, August). Southern Baptist congregations and worshipers. Retrieved February 7, 2005, from http:// Kramer, M. W., and Miller, V. D. (1999). A response to criticisms of organizational socialization research: In support of contemporary conceptualizations of organizational assimilation. Communication Monographs, 66, 358-368. Retrieved February 7, 2005, from EBSCOhost database. LaTour, M. S., and Rotfeld, H. J. (1997). There are threats and (maybe) fear-caused arousal: Theory and confusions of appeals to fear and fear arousal itself. Journal of Advertising, 26, 3. Retrieved February 12, 2005, from EBSCOhost database. Mattam, J. (2002, October). Inculturated evangelization and conversion. Exchange, 31, 306-323. Retrieved February 8, 2005, from EBSCOhost database. 25

CHRYSALIS: The Murray State University Journal of Undergraduate Research McGregor, R. (2001, Feb). From old testament to new: A. P. Elkin on Christian conversion and cultural assimilation. Journal of Religious History, 25. Retrieved January 22, 2005, from EBSCOhost database. Ragsdale, J. D., and Durham, K. R. (1986, Sep). Audience response to religious fear appeals. Review of Religious Research, 28. Retrieved January 22, 2005, from EBSCOhost database. Ragsdale, J. D., and Durham, K.R. (1987, March). Effects of religious fear appeals on source credibility and information retention. Journal of Communication and Religion, 10. Retrieved January 24, 2005, from EBSCOhost database.


Shah, H. (2003, April). Communication and nation building: Comparing U.S. models of ethnic assimilation and 驶third world始 modernization. Gazette: International Journal for Communication Studies, 65, 165-182. Retrieved February 7, 2005, from EBSCOhost database. U.S. Census Bureau. (2003). Statistical abstract of the United States: 2003. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Commerce. Retrieved February 7, 2005, from http://www. Varietates Legitimae. (1994). Retrieved February 15, 2005, from

CHRYSALIS: The Murray State University Journal of Undergraduate Research


Rebecca Garmon Class: Senior Major: Music

Rebecca Gannon, originally from Bowling Green, Ky., began piano lessons at an early age and continued through high school. While in high school, she participated as a flutist in the marching band, concert band and the choir programs. In the fall of 2001 she began her college career at Murray State University in music education with a vocal emphasis. While at Murray State, Rebecca has participated in two Campus Lights musicals, concert choir, university chorale, chamber singers and has sung two recitals. She has also been a student ambassador for the music department for the previous two years. She plans to student teach in the spring of 2006, and then either teach music or pursue a masterʼs degree.

Preparing for the Recital: More than Just Singing This recital was completed for partial fulfillment of the bachelor of music education degree. I chose most of the pieces for the recital by listening to them, studying the text, considering a variety of style periods, languages, tempi and moods. I researched each composer using various sources such as The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, the Bakerʼs Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, An Interpretive Guide to Operatic Arias and various online sources. In preparation for the recital, I also memorized poetic translations, which are included with the program, for each selection in a foreign language. In addition, I practiced six days a week for an hour to an hour and a half and participated in vocal lessons with Dr. Sonya G. Baker, assistant professor of voice in the music department.

FACULTY MENTOR Sonya Gabrielle Baker, a member of the music faculty at Murray State University, has been heard in concert both nationally and internationally, including recent appearances in Canterbury Cathedral in England, Carnegie Hall in New York City, and her city of residence, Murray, Ky. Her debut recording, She Says, featuring art songs of American women composers, was released in October 2004. Highlights of Bakerʼs operatic roles include Elisabetta in Verdiʼs Don Carlo, Donna Anna in Mozartʼs Don Giovanni, Monisha in Joplinʼs Treemonisha, and the title role in the U.S. premiere of Mascagniʼs Pinotta. Along with a doctor of music from Florida State University, Baker holds a master of music degree from Indiana University and a bachelor of arts in American Studies from Yale University. 27

CHRYSALIS: The Murray State University Journal of Undergraduate Research

Preparing for the Recital: More than Just Singing


ost people come to a recital or musical performance and see the singers and instrumentalists singing and playing. They watch the musicians have fun and present a quality product that seems effortless; however, what the audience does not see is all of the time spent in preparation for those recitals. Singers engage in a process of learning, and the recital is simply the end product and the rewarding end result. In preparation for my voice recital, I chose music, I researched every composer and librettist, went through a process of learning each piece, and performed each piece during studio class as much as possible. Typically, standard vocal recitals include selections in four languages (Italian, French, German and English), tempos and subject matters. The groups are usually sung in chronological order according to the dates of the composers, and the groups offer a variety of musical style periods. The program often begins with selections from the 17th and 18th centuries, such as Italian songs or arias, or even selections by Baroque English composers such as Henry Purcell. The standard recital would then include some German Lieder (German songs such as an accompanied art song) and French mélodies (French art songs with accompaniment). The second half of the recital would likely include a group of songs from the 20th century, perhaps a fifth language, and, in this country, the recital usually ends with an American group. This type of recital provides variety within unity and is very suitable for young singers since they have spent most of their time training their voices in the various languages and style periods. It would not be suitable for young singers to attempt a specialized program such as an all French Romantic program without having performed several standard recitals first. I began choosing music for my senior recital during the last semester of my junior year with Dr. Sonya Baker. Baker made some suggestions of composers and songs for my lyric-coloratura voice type. The next step was to find the music, listen to it, and begin to choose music which appealed to me and followed the guidelines set above. I also had to calculate with a stopwatch and metronome the length of each selection so that the entire program would run about 50 minutes, the time for a full recital here at Murray State University. 28

The first selections I chose were the French ones by Cécile Chaminade because they were extremely challenging, due to their having a variety of subject matters and tempos. At about the same time, I chose the Rodrigo pieces; they were conceived together as a set of songs. I chose them not only because they were in Spanish, a new language for me, but also because they had a completely different harmonic sound. (All of these pieces are discussed in context in the supplementary material for each group of songs and composers.) The next piece I decided upon was the dollʼs aria from Les Contes dʼHoffman. This piece offered variety to the program and required a great deal of acting on stage in order to imitate a mechanical doll. Next I chose the German songs by Hugo Wolf. Since these selections did not come as a set of songs, I had many more from which to choose. I selected songs I liked while also considering various tempos. The first song was faster while the second had an extremely slow tempo; the third song had a bouncy tempo and articulation (how the performer attacks each note), and the closing selection was slow and dramatic. The next pieces I chose were those by John Dowland. Originally accompanied by a Renaissance string instrument called the lute, I substituted guitar accompaniment. Since very few people are trained in the lute today, this substitution is commonplace. Dowland songs also require me to sing in the Renaissance style with more straight tone rather than natural, free vibrato. These songs demonstrated my ability to sing in different style periods. The last pieces to be chosen were the Cole Porter musical theater pieces. I wanted the end of my recital to be fun, exciting, and the pieces needed to be from the 20th century in order to have covered all of the style periods. I chose songs from different musicals all in various stages of their relationships. “Red, Hot, and Blue” was the flashiest of the Porter songs and would, therefore, provide the best “closer” for the program. After choosing the music, each singer must go through the process of learning the music. This does not mean simply learning the notes and rhythms, but also memorizing translations, researching the composers, poets and librettists, and, most importantly, refining oneʼs interpretation. The process I go through in order to learn each piece begins with researching information on each composer, poet and/or librettist, and any other pertinent information about the songs or arias. If the selection is excerpted from an opera, I read a

CHRYSALIS: The Murray State University Journal of Undergraduate Research

PROGRAM OF REBECCA SHERRYL GARMON, soprano Emily J. Trantham, piano

Ben Rice, acoustic guitar

Price Doyle Fine Arts Building • Performing Arts Hall Sunday, April 10, 2005, 3:30 p.m.

My thoughts are wingʼd with hopes ..........................................................................John Dowland (1563-1626) Flow, my tears Come away, come sweet love Click here for audio.

Villanelle .............................................................................................................. Cécile Chaminade (1857-1944) Viens, mon-bien aimé! Aubade LʼÉté Click here for audio.

Fu_reise ............................................................................................................................. Hugo Wolf (1860-1903) Verschwiegene Liebe Der Gärtner Verborgenheit Click here for audio.

From Les Contes dʼHoffman ................................................................................Jacques Offenbach (1819-1880) “Les oiseaux dans la charmille …” Click here for audio.

Cuatro Madrigales Amatorios ................................................................................. Joaquin Rodrigo (1901-1999) ¿Con que la lavare? Vos me matasteis ¿De donde venis, amore? De los alamos vengo, madre Click here for audio.

From Anything Goes ........................................................................................................Cole Porter (1891-1964) Youʼre the Top From You Never Know What Shall I Do? From Red, Hot, and Blue Red, Hot, and Blue Click here for audio. 29

CHRYSALIS: The Murray State University Journal of Undergraduate Research synopsis of the opera, and usually try to find a video so that I can watch the opera performed in its entirety. The next step is to translate each word and write the translations into the music. Along with this step, I also find or devise a poetic translation and memorize it. Poetic translations make more sense to memorize because they are written in poem form and make more sense than a word-for-word translation. After the preliminary work, I start by speaking the text of the selection in rhythm. I learn the notes soon after at the piano. After I have learned all the rhythms, translations and notes, I practice with my accompanist on a weekly basis, not only reviewing notes and rhythms, but discussing the meaning of the text and the expression of the character. I also work on the interpretation alone in the practice room during my daily practice time. Because the Rodrigo selections varied a bit from “standard repertoire,” I had additional work to do. I consulted with a Spanish major at Murray State University, who coached me on the language so that my diction would be more authentic. This enabled me to focus on the interpretation of the songs and not merely the pronunciation of the Spanish. In order to better understand the

poetry and compositional style, I searched for further information. There is currently only one book that discusses these particular pieces, A Singerʼs Guide to the Songs of Joaquin Rodrigo by Suzanne Rhodes Draayer. This book contains poetic translations with explanatory notes as well as a detailed historical account of the composer. I found it valuable because it provided insight into the poetry that I could not have understood on my own and also made my interpretations clearer for performance. In conclusion, the process of learning a recital is extremely complex and time consuming, but it is time well spent. Most of what the audience sees and hears is the result of several layers of research and analysis. For the performance, the process leading up to the recital is the most important work. If the singer fails to complete this process, he or she only makes the work of the actual recital more difficult and often misses the fun of performing. This process is usually an everyday event for singers who are preparing for any type of performance. Sometimes, it is an enjoyable process, and sometimes not; however, the reward lies at the end—a well-done performance.


A shiver of love penetrates me. Come! My beloved! The long morose evenings have fled, already the perfumed garden is filled with birds and roses. Come! My beloved!

everything is young, smiling and beautiful on the plain and upon the hillside. Ah! Come! We shall see roses unfold, and the zephyr paying court; We shall have the gift of things in their freshness and their love!

The young folk will dance this evening, in the broad street: And, beneath the starry night, how many hands will seek out each other this evening in the broad street! Beneath the starry night.

Sun, with your burning rapture I have felt my heart inflamed, more intoxicating is your caress. Come! My beloved!

LʼÉté (Summer)

The splendid wheat is brought in; Holiday in the fields, holiday in the village. Each maiden on her bodice wears a blue cornflower; Holiday in the fields, holiday in the village!

Dance until daylight to the gay sounds of your bagpipes! Young lads and lasses, sing your refrains of love, to the gay sounds of your bagpipes! Without constraint and without remorse, be intoxicated with youth: Sadness is for the dead, for the living happiness.

Viens, mon Bien-aimé! (Come, my Beloved!)

The beautiful days are finally to come again, here is perfumed April!


All is quiet, with millions of stars the deep sky is strewn, when above us night spreads her veils. Come! My beloved!

Aubade (Morning Serenade)

Come! The earth scarcely awakened exhales a soft fragrance, and on the sunfilled summit the bird trills with ardor. Ah! The brook with a sweeter murmur intoxicates the deserted valley. Of its pure billow, nothing has troubled its clearness yet. At the first reflections of dawn, all is enlivened, all is colored,

Ah! sing, sing, silly warbler, gay lark, joyous finch, sing, love! Perfume of roses, newly opened, make our woods more fragrant! Ah! sing, love. Sun which gilds the sycamores filled with swarms all rustling, pour out joy, let everything be drowned in your shining rays. Breeze which passes through the spaces sowing the hope of a summer day, let your breath give to the plain more brightness and more beauty. On the prairie calm and in blossom, hear these words so sweet. The charmed soul, the beloved wife blesses the heaven near the husband!

CHRYSALIS: The Murray State University Journal of Undergraduate Research TRANSLATIONS continued Fu_reise (Journey on Foot)

When, with fresh-cut stick, at early morn, I walk in the woods, up hill and down: Then, like the small bird in the trees, singing and stirring, or the golden grape sensing the spirits of delight in the first morning sun, my dear old Adam feels autumn- and spring-fever too, God-heartened, never -foolishly wasted first-delight-of-paradise. So you are not so bad, old Adam, as hard as preceptors say: but keep on loving and lauding, singing and extolling, as if each were a new day of Creation, your dear Creator and Keeper. Would he grant it be so, and my whole life were the gentle sweat of just such a morning journey!

Verschwiegene Liebe (Silent Love) Over trees and corn into the gleam— who may guess them, retrieve them? Thoughts go swaying, the night is silent, thoughts are free.

One alone guesses who has thought of her, as the woods murmur, when no one keeps watch, but the clouds that fly— My love is silent and beautiful as the night!

Der Gärtner (The Gardener)

On her favorite mount as white as snow, the fairest princess rides through the avenue.

the sand that I strewed, it sparkles like gold. Little pink hat, bobbing up, bobbing down, oh, throw a feather secretly down! If you, in return, want a flower from me, for one, take a thousand, for one, take all!

Verborgenheit (Obscurity)

Leave, oh world, oh, leave me be! Tempt me not with gifts of love, leave this heart to have alone its bliss, its agony! Why I grieve, I do not know, my grief is unknown grief, All the time I see through the tears the sunʼs delightful light. Often, scarce aware am I, Pure joy flashes through the oppressive heaviness -- flashes blissful in my heart.

Cuatro Madrigales Amatorios Con que la lavare? (With what shall I wash?)

With what shall I wash the skin of my face? With what shall I wash it? I live in such sorrow. Married women wash in lemon water: In my grief I wash in pain and sorrow.

Vos me matasteis (You killed me)

You killed me, girl with hair hanging loose, you have slain me. By the river bank I saw a young maiden. Girl with hair hanging loose, you have slain me. Girl with hair hanging loose, you have killed me, you have slain me.

¿De donde venis, amore? (From where have you come, my lover?)

From where have you come, my lover? I have been a witness. Where have you been, my love? I know well where. Where have you been, my friend? Were I a witness, ah! I know well where!

De los alamos vengo, madre (I come from the poplars, mother) I come from the poplars, mother, from seeing the breezes stir them, from the poplars of Seville, from seeing my sweet love, from seeing the breezes stir them. I come from the poplars, mother, from seeing the breezes stir them, from the poplars of Seville, from seeing my sweet love.

From Les Contes dʼHoffman “Les oiseaux dans la charmille”

In this scene, two toymakers are throwing a party to show off their latest creation, Olympia, a singing, mechanical doll. Hoffman is in attendance at this social event, and as Olympia sings, he begins to fall in love with her. The birds in the bower, the sun in the skies, everything speaks to the young girl of love. Ah! That is the nice song, the song of Olympia. Everything that sings and resounds, and in turn sighs, moves her heart which trembles with love. Ah! Everything speaks of love. Ah! That is the cute song, the song of Olympia.

The path where her steed so delightfully prances,


CHRYSALIS: The Murray State University Journal of Undergraduate Research COMPOSERS John Dowland (1563-1626) was an English composer and lutenist in the latter 1500s and early 1600s. According to Bakerʼs Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, he wrote three collections of airs, the first in 1597, the second in 1600, and the third in 1603. His song “Flow My Tears” was one of the most famous songs throughout Europe (Kuhn 1999). The songs included in the recital are taken from the first two collections of airs originally written with lute accompaniment. The Renaissance style uses mostly straight tone and has a lighter vocal quality, as opposed to the fuller, richer sound of the voice required for performing work of the Romantic style period, such as the Hugo Wolf or Jacques Offenbach pieces. For of the lutenists, I substituted an acoustic guitarist, but the guitarist still used all of the same musical style characteristics of the lute. Cécile Chaminade (1857-1944) was a French composer and pianist who wrote 400 piano and vocal works combined. According to Marcia S. Citron, she began composing in the early 1880s and studied privately with faculty at the Paris Conservatory. Chaminade helped to promote sales by touring extensively throughout Europe and the U.S. Even though she was a brilliant composer and musician, critics denounced her music because she was a woman; this criticism soon led to the decline of her popularity (Citron 1999). The selections from the recital were chosen from a collection of Six M Mélodies. Hugo Wolf (1860-1903) was an Austrian composer, pianist and violinist. He modeled much of his early music after Richard Wagner and greatly esteemed Franz Liszt. He spent much of his time teaching in Vienna, and also was Kapellmeister in Salzburg for a short time. After leaving behind a career in criticism, Wolf began composing again. He set many poems of Goethe, Mörike and von Eichendorff to music (http://www. The selections in this program are from the Mörike and von Eichendorff lieder.


Jacques Offenbach (1819-1880) was a German composer who decided to move to Paris and learn to play the cello. He later became the conductor of the Théatre ééatre Français. His successful career was mostly devoted to composing operetta and opera comiques. Les Contes dʼHoffman was his last opera, left unfinished at his death. Offenbachʼs friend, Ernest Guiraud, completed the work for him, and it premiered in Paris, France, in 1881. ( Offenbach#Biography). Joaquin Rodrigo (1901-1999), a Spanish composer, had a successful career as a musician despite his blindness since the age of 3. He moved to Paris in 1927 to study at the Conservatoire and the Sorbonne. Later, Rodrigo was active as a music critic and wrote for several newspapers. In 1947, he was appointed as the Manuel de Falla chair of music at Complutense University in Madrid. As a composer and teacher, Rodrigo received many awards such as Legion dʼHonneur (1963), member of Academie Royale des Sciences, Spanish National Award for Music (1982), and received honorary doctorates from the Universities of Salamanca, Southern California, Universidad Politencia de Valencia, and University of Alicante and Madrid. Cuatro Madrigales Amatorios were written for four vocal students of Lola Rodrigez Aragon, a teacher in Spain. Rodrigo used baroque-style terraced dynamics in these pieces with few written crescendo. The final song is flamboyant in its use of guitar-like, strumming patterns in the piano accompaniment (Draayer, 1999). Cole Porter (1891-1964) was an American composer, pianist and violinist who came from a prestigious family. While attending Yale University, he wrote a number of musicals and songs for the Yale Glee Club. At his grandfatherʼs request, Porter attended Harvard law school, but never finished; instead, he decided to pursue a music career in New York City. Later in his life, Porter suffered a horse riding accident, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down ( html). Porter is most noted for his clever lyrics and catchy melodies. Some of his most famous musicals were Anything Goes and Kiss Me Kate.

CHRYSALIS: The Murray State University Journal of Undergraduate Research References Citron, Marcia S. (1999). Cécile Chaminade. In Stanley Sadie (Ed.), New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (pp.457458). London, UK: Macmillian Publishers. “Cole Porter.” Cole Wide Web. html Draayer, Suzanne Rhodes. (1999). A Singerʼs Guide to the Songs of Joaquin Rodrigo. Lanham: Scarecrow Press. “Hugo Wolf.” Wikipedia. Wolf#Biography “Jacques Offenbach.” Wikipedia. Jacques_Offenbach#Biography Kuhn, Laura. (1999). John Dowland. In Nicholas Slonimsky and Dennis McIntire (Eds.), Bakerʼs Biographical Dictionary of Musicians (pp. 927). New York, NY: Schirmer Books.


CHRYSALIS: The Murray State University Journal of Undergraduate Research

ABSTRACT From Juchipila to Comala: A Structural Comparison of the Latin-American Old and New Novel

Lance Lee Class: Senior Major: Spanish

As a Murray State University Spanish major, Lance Lee studies the language and culture of the Hispanic world, but he also studies the literature as a means to obtain a better understanding of Hispanic cultural history and for the overall improvement of his linguistic skills. Reading literature is one of his favorite pastimes. During Dr. Mike Waagʼs Spanish-American Novel class, Lee became interested in the topic of structure of old and new Latin-American novels and thus felt compelled to research the topic further. His essay is presented in Chrysalis in both English and Spanish.

When one thinks of Latin American literature, the great Columbian novelist Gabriel García Márquez and his One Hundred Years of Solitude may come to mind; however, the novel as a literary genre has not always thrived in Latin America. Since the literary tradition of Spain focused on poetry and theater instead of the novel, the same tradition was carried to Latin America by the Spaniards during their colonization of the new continent; Latin American authors had few novels as models to emulate. At first, the novelists imitated European and American works. As a result, Mariano Azuelaʼs novel of the Mexican Revolution, Los de abajo, which was written in 1915, exemplifies a traditional novel, particularly in its chronological structure. In 1955, Juan Rulfo wrote his most famous Mexican novel Pedro Páramo, and by then the literary tradition of the Latin American novel had developed a great deal more, abandoning the standard chronological model of Europe for a style that is uniquely Latin American. I will explore the structure of these two Mexican novels in order to compare what makes a traditional versus a new Latin American novel.

FACULTY MENTOR C. Michael Waag has taught at Murray State University since 1986 in the Department of Modern Languages where he is professor of Spanish and Latin American literature. His particular area of research is Ecuadorian literature. He has presented numerous papers at national and international conferences and has published 12 articles in journals and reference works in his field. He was a Fulbright Scholar to Ecuador (1989-90), and he co-founded and served as president for 10 years in a research organization, the Association of Ecuadorianists. He is director of Cinema International. He actively promotes study abroad and has dedicated many of his summers to teaching abroad in Mexico and Spain with the Kentucky Institute for International Studies. 34

CHRYSALIS: The Murray State University Journal of Undergraduate Research

Latin-American Novel

From Juchipila to Comala: A Structural Comparison of the Latin-American Old and New Novel


pon beginning to write in the new Latin-American continent, Hispanic writers were influenced in a large part by the literary tradition of Spain. The most popular genres of Spanish literature at the time were poetry and theater, which the new LatinAmerican authors already knew how to write, having carried the Spanish poetic tradition from Spain to Latin America. The poets of the new world of Latin America are famous--Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz of Mexico is perhaps the best-known such writer. In contrast to the other literary genres of the new world, the LatinAmerican novel does not come from a strong, well-established literary tradition. For that reason, the genre of the novel had to be explored by Latin-American writers just like the new world had to be explored by the Spaniards. Therefore, the Latin-American novel has changed a great deal throughout its relatively brief existence in Latin America. The Latin-American novel was born in 1816 when Joaquín Fernández de Lizardi wrote the first Latin-American novel, El Periquillo Sarniento. Although not a work of great literary value, the work is important for being the first novel written in Latin America. The Latin-American novelistic tradition began in Mexico, and until the present day, it has played a major role in the artistic representation of Mexico. Although the development of the Mexican novel cannot perfectly represent the course of the novel throughout all of Latin America, it serves well as a model for my examination of the structural and stylistic evolution of the genre in Latin America. After providing a brief history of the novelistic genre, I will focus on the differences between the traditional and new Latin-American novel, placing emphasis on structural differences between the two. Two Mexican novels dealing with the Mexican Revolution will be analyzed--Los de abajo (1915) and Pedro Páramo (1955). Into the Mainstream: Conversations with Latin-American Writers, by Luis Harss and Barbara Dohmann (1967), deals with the origins

of the Latin-American novel. In obtaining their information, the authors traveled around the world to interview several LatinAmerican authors. In the prologue, Harss and Dohmann explain the origins of the novel, or, better said, the lack of origins. The first literary figures in Spain were aristocrats who wanted to display their talents for writing, and the best way of letting doing so was to write poetry (Harss and Dohmann, 1967, p. 1). The authors describe why the Spanish aristocrats did not want to write novels: Their art was an aside, a form of mental acrobatics, or a social grace. No risk was involved. Nothing was at stake. The notion of artistic vocation as a form of total commitment engaging the whole man was practically unknown. There was nothing in the Spanish or Portuguese tradition to encourage it. And perhaps the novel, in the modern sense of the word, cannot exist without it. Which may explain why the form has never flourished in Spain. The novel is a monomaniacal form and can only live dangerously. (Harss and Dohmann, 1967, p. 1) Nevertheless, Spanish works that are precursors to the LatinAmerican novel do exist. Harss and Dohmann note the few Spanish novelists that there were. For example, in the 16th century, the Renaissance writer Fernando de Rojas wrote La Celestina, which is a very long work resembling a novel. Additionally, several novels treating knighthood appear. Also, there are picaresque novels like Lazarillo de Tormes. At the same time, one cannot forget the most important Spanish author, Miguel de Cervantes, who wrote the famous Spanish novel Don Quijote. After Cervantes, there were very few well-known authors to influence the Latin-American novel (Harss and Dohmann, 1967, p. 2). On the other hand, the Peruvian author Mariano Vargas Llosa (1968) mentions in his article about the historical roots of the Latin-American novel, “Primitives and Creators,” that the scarcity of Spanish novels that did exist to inspire Latin-American authors were prohibited from entering the new world for three centuries due to the Spanish Inquisition. The 35

CHRYSALIS: The Murray State University Journal of Undergraduate Research novels being produced in Spain were forbidden by the Catholic Church in the Americas because the Church considered them to be harmful to the innocent minds of the indigenous people. Despite the fact that the indigenous people could not read, the Inquisition feared that they would not continue to believe in God after reading the Spanish novels (Llosa, 1968, p. 1287). The genre of the novel appears in Latin America toward the beginning of the 19th century when Lizardi published the first novel El Periquillo Sarniento. It was a feuilleton; that is, “a form of social satire wavering between scatology and preachy didacticism” according to Harss and Dohmann (1967, p. 3). The thematic roots of the revolutionary and social novels like Los de abajo can be found in this novel. After Lizardiʼs novel, the Romantic period arrived in Latin America. The Romantic novelists of the 19th century produced many works; however, the works that continue to be read today are few. Throughout this period, Latin-American novelists were influenced by the current stylistic and thematic concerns that came from Europe instead of forming a literature based upon LatinAmerican culture (Harss and Dohmann, 1967, p. 5). In the last part of the 19th century and the first part of the 20th century, Latin-American authors were writing books that dealt with social themes. For example, Mariano Azuela wrote Los de abajo (The Underdogs), the novel of the Mexican Revolution, that began the genre of the social novel that followed. Other authors of the same genre include--Martín Luis Guzmán, El Águila y la Serpiente; Ricardo Güiraldes, Don Segundo Sombra; Edward Bello, El Roto; Alcides Arguedas, Raza de Bronce; and José Eustacio Rivera, La Vorágine. Another novelist outside of Mexico, the Venezuelan Rómulo Gallegos, exemplifies well the environment of Latin-American literature during the 1920s and 1930s (Harss and Dohmann, 1967, p. 7). Like other Latin-American authors of the time, Gallegos wanted to change his country: “Gallegos wielded his art--which was of only moderate literary value--as a weapon in the common struggle [of Venezuela]” (Harss and Dohmann, 1967, p. 8). In short, the manner of writing in this period of the LatinAmerican novel did not focus on technique, but rather it gave more importance to the current social themes. Today the Latin-American novel seems more complex than before. Harss and Dohmann say that the attitude of the modern author has changed:


The novelistʼs attitude toward his society, for instance, is a lot more ambiguous and complicated than it was some years ago. Most of our young novelists now are as committed politically as their predecessors, but they make a clear distinction, as they should, between activism and literature. (1967, p. 27) The difference between the traditional style and the new style of writing contrasts itself in Los de abajo by Mariano Azuela and Pedro Páramo by Juan Rulfo, respectively. According to Harss and Dohmann, the new novelist reflects instead of persuades: “The novelistsʼ contribution to the cause is to tap and shape the new forces it has released, not by persuasion but by reflection” (1967, p. 28). The new Latin-American novelists do not imitate European novels, but rather they stem from their own traditions that are now welldeveloped. They dedicate themselves first to the artistry of writing instead of the political. Naturally, the new novelists do write about common themes that the old novelists dealt with as well, but the new novelists do so in a completely different manner. The theme of the writing does not necessarily vary; however, the important factor for distinguishing between the traditional novel and the new novel is the style of writing. The structure and style of the novel constitute a large part of what determines whether a novel is traditional or new. To understand what makes a traditional structure, the reader may observe the chronological structure of Los de abajo. In contrast to Pedro Páramo, Los de abajo is written in a very chronological manner. Azuela never breaks with his chronology, except one time in the first section, during chapters 16 and 17, in which an episode of simultaneous action appears. Published for the first time in 1915, the novel Los de abajo deals with a simple man, Demetrio Macías, who becomes a revolutionary after witnessing the burning of his house at the hands of federal soldiers. Demetrioʼs conflict lies with Don Mónico, the local political boss, or cacique, of the region and owner of the majority of the surrounding lands. Demetrio barely escapes being killed by Don Mónicoʼs henchmen and joins the revolutionary cause. After a military career of approximately two years (1914-1915), he dies after being ambushed by an opposing revolutionary band in the same canyon of Juchipila where he began his revolutionary career.

CHRYSALIS: The Murray State University Journal of Undergraduate Research The fragmented chronology begins in chapter 16 when Demetrio Macías and his troops are about to attack an army of federal soldiers. The boss of the federal soldiers is thinking about the impending defeated of Demetrioʼs army, and the great honor he will receive for defeating Demetrioʼs army when the attack begins: “Y se apretó las manos con regocijo, en el mismo momento en que un estallido lo dejó con los oídos zumbando”[1] (Azuela, 1992, p. 47). In the following chapter, the attack has not yet occurred. Now, Azuela describes the event again from the perspective of Demetrio: Se sonrió con satisfacción, y volviendo la cara a los suyos, exclamó: --¡Hora! ... Veinte bombas estallaron a un tiempo en medio de los federales, que, llenos de espanto, se irguieron con los ojos desmesuradamente abiertos. Mas antes de que pudieran darse cuenta cabal del trance, otras veinte bombas reventaban con fragor, dejando un reguero de muertos y heridos. [2] (Azuela, 1992, p. 48) Another technique more typical of the new novel that Azuela employs is elliptical dialogue. This dialogue leaves spaces in the conversation that the reader must fill on his or her own. These spaces in dialogue also add to the episodic nature of the novel and are moreover precursors to the techniques of the new novel. There are many examples of elliptical dialogue throughout all parts of the novel. Toward the end of the work, the speech of Demetrio makes the elliptical dialogue evident upon answering Anastasio, a soldier tired of fighting in Demetrioʼs army: Y nosotros estamos ya pa despachar a Villa y a Carranza a la ... a que se divertan solos ... Pero se me figura que nos está sucediendo lo que a aquel peón de Tepatitlán. ¿Se acuerda, compadre? No paraba de rezongar de su patrón, pero no paraba de trabajar tampoco. Y así estamos nosotros: a reniega y reniega y a mátenos y mátenos ... Pero eso no hay que decirlo, compadre ... [3] (Azuela, 1992, p. 114) Although the structure is chronologically creative, as in Pedro Páramo, it still has much artistic merit, and it is obvious that Azuela gave some sort of form to his work; however, the issue of structure in Los de abajo is a topic of debate. In his article “The Structure of Los de abajo,” Clive Griffin explains what various critics think of Azuelaʼs structure: the great conflict that is difficult to reconcile is the discrepancy between the episodic nature of the work and the circular design. According to Griffin, Azuela contradicts himself

in what he writes about his works. Azuela remarks that Los de abajo represents his experiences during the Revolution with verisimilitude, but, on the other hand, he says that he imposed a coherent structure (Griffin, 1981, p. 25-26). If Azuela added a circular structure, he obviously did not write solely his observations of the Revolution. Azuela certainly employs consciously a logical and aesthetic structure, despite the contradictory statements that the author makes about his own novel. Upon even a first reading of the book, the circular structure makes itself clear to the reader; the action begins in the canyon of Juchipila and ends in the same canyon. According to Griffin, returning to the canyon “can be interpreted as a comment upon the futility of the Revolution, a point which Azuela stresses throughout the novel” (Griffin, 1981, p. 27). Aside of the symbolic implications, the circular structure is used to fortify the unity of the novel. Also, the aesthetic nature of the structure may be observed in the division of the three parts. The first part is the longest section, whereas the third part is very brief with respect to the others; this structure certainly cannot be accidental either. Like the Revolution, or as it is colloquially called in the novel, la bola (the ball), the action continues more quickly in each successive section, and, the size of each part reflects the change of the intense speed of la bola. While talking with his wife at the end of the novel, Demetrio throws a stone into the canyon, summarizing in a few words the basic gist of la bola: “--Mira esa piedra cómo ya no se para” [4] (Azuela, 1992, p. 117). The structure reflects the rapidity of the Revolution, and the feeling of the people united with the movement. The metaphor of the stone thrown into the canyon captures perfectly the movement of the Revolution, each time more rapid and powerful. To involve onself in the Revolution is like boarding a moving train that continues to speed up, finally making it impossible to dismount the train without killing oneself. Some characters in the novel, like Luis Cervantes, abandon the cause before harming themselves, but others like Demetrio do not escape without dying. Griffin offers multiple explanations for the structure of the novel. First, Azuela did not know whether his work was going to take the form of a novel or that of a series in a magazine, and for that reason, he wrote in a very episodic manner in order to publish his work in both forms. Additionally, Demetrioʼs men are not very talkative; they are men of action. Thus, the characters influenced Azuelaʼs decision to create an episodic form. Griffin says: “The apparent 37

CHRYSALIS: The Murray State University Journal of Undergraduate Research fragmentation of the structure is thus a reflection of the peasant lack of coherent appreciation and, especially, verbalisation of their experience” (Griffin, 1981, p. 38). At the same time, perhaps he wanted to represent the perspective of a common revolutionary to reflect the chaotic war, and according to Griffin, the result of this structure illustrates “the confusion which an isolated band of guerrillas must feel in any war and especially in a war as complex and fragmentary as the Mexican Revolution” (Griffin, 1981, p. 37-38). Although the structure of Los de abajo is traditional, Azuelaʼs novel is a precursor to the new Latin-American novels. The literary critic Luis Leal, who has written a great deal on Mexican literature, says that in Azuelaʼs work: “Encontramos un espíritu de inconformidad y rebeldía y un ardiente deseo de luchar por mejorar las condiciones de vida del pueblo mexicano”[5] (Leal, 1989, p. 859). The same nonconformity can be found in the unique structure of Pedro Páramo. Like the writing of Rulfo, Azuelaʼs narrative is “en movimiento, en constante búsqueda de la estructura apropiada para dar expresión a los temas de la hora”[6] (Leal, 1989, p. 859). For Azuela, the novelist before the Revolution “no había logrado producir obras a la altura de las europeas”[7] (Leal, 1989, p. 860). On the other hand, the European novel did not serve as a model for the structure and the narrative of Los de abajo, but rather Azuela tells his own observations of the war (Leal, 1989, p. 864). Also, Azuela was the first novelist of the Mexican Revolution, beginning to write during the Revolution, in contrast to novelists like Gregorio López y Fuentes, Rafael Muñoz, José Rubén Romero and Cipriano Campos Alatorre, who published their works between 1930 and 1940 (Leal, 1989, p. 866). Saying that Azuela was a precursor to the new novelists, Leal concludes by saying that Azuela was very important despite what some critics may say: El legado de Azuela no termina allí, con los narradores de la Revolución. Su presencia la intuimos en Agustín Yáñez, en Juan Rulfo, en Carlos Fuentes, y en verdad, en algunos de los más grandes narradores hispanoamericanos. A pesar de los defectos que algunos críticos les encuentran, las novelas de Mariano Azuela ayudaron a crear no sólo una conciencia nacional, sino a preparar el terreno para la nueva novela hispanoamericana.[8] (Leal, 1989, p. 866) In great contrast to Azuela, Rulfo presents to the reader a new Latin-American novel of chronological fragmentation. Trapped


in the world of Pedro Páramo, the reader must participate if he or she wants to comprehend the action of this universe of dead people. Upon reading the first works of the novel “vine a Comala porque me dijeron que acá vivía mi padre, un tal Pedro Páramo”[9] (Rulfo, 2003, p. 65), the novel seems traditional to the reader, but it is evident that the novel is not at all traditional after reading two or three pages. Soon the narration shifts from first person to the memories of Juanʼs mother. Suddenly, the reader begins to become even more confused after realizing that the text has changed narrators. In this fashion, with similar structural surprises, the novel continues. The plot is easy to summarize. A young man named Juan Preciado looks for his father Pedro Páramo after the death of his mother Dolores, who has ordered Juan to go looking for his father in Comala after she dies. Juan Preciadoʼs search is the vehicle for becoming acquainted with life story of the cacique Pedro Páramo and the town of Comala. The structure of Pedro Páramo is less easy to summarize than its plot. Rulfoʼs narrative leads the reader along paths that lead to a tidbit of enlightenment or other times to false clues. Because of the radically fragmented structure, Pedro Páramo exemplifies the new in the Latin-American novel. The novel does not have numbered chapters, but rather 69 fragments. One may separate the text into two parts: the death of Juan Preciado marks the division of the two. In the first part, Juan narrates the majority of the fragments, and he appears to be alive. Later, the reader learns that Juan is dead, telling his story to Dorotea, the woman that shares his tomb. Also, the first part does not deal solely with Juanʼs story, but other fragments appear as well, dealing with the life of Pedro Páramo or other happenings of Comala. In the second part, the reader learns more about Pedro Páramoʼs life, and, as in the first part, there are some fragments that deal with other characters in Comala. That is to say, the division of the novel into two sections is not at all scientific; Rulfo crafts various fragments that form a coherent story like the strokes of an impressionist painting. According to the critic Joseph Sommers, the structure of the narrative is directly related to the vision of reality that the author has: “Juanʼs death actually serves as a dividing line between two perspectives of narration. Here structure and the technique of witholding information are related to the vision of reality” (Sommers, 1968, p. 78). In the first part, the reader observes the

CHRYSALIS: The Murray State University Journal of Undergraduate Research dead world of Comala through the seemingly living eyes of Juan (Sommers, 1968, p. 78-79). Like a “mirror image” of the first part, the second part reflects the living world of Comala through the dead eyes of Juan and Dorotea (Sommers, 1968, p. 79). Despite the life present in both parts, death dominates the scene: “In the first half, the presence of death contaminates existence; life is a living hell. In the second half, life contaminates death, making that condition hell also” (Sommers, 1968, p. 79). Also, the mysterious and suspenseful element of the structure contribute well to the sense of the novel; for example, the reader does not know the name of the protagonist Juan Preciado until much has happened in the novel (Sommers, 1968, p. 82). Although the plot is not based on mere action, the reader still desires to learn what happens in the novel. The reader must always pay attention to each detail of the novel in order not to get lost, and still it is easy to become confused. Additionally, the details present sometimes do not suffice to facilitate completely the readerʼs understanding of the plot. Mariana Frenk notes in her article that deals with Pedro Páramo that physical descriptions of the characters never appear, except in one case with Pedro, who is described two times as “enorme” (Frenk, 1974, p. 43). Key events such as the murder of Pedro Páramo by his son Abundio are not directly described, but insignificant details and irrelevant fragments dealing with unknown characters sometimes have entire fragments devoted to them (Frenk, 1974, p. 43). Thus the mysterious of the novel fascinates and frustrates the reader at the same time. The story of Pedro Páramo does not seem coherent upon a first glance, and after reading the entire novel, the reader still doubts that he or she has understood it all. In Los de abajo on the other hand, Azuela leaves few events without explanation, but Rulfo does not care whether the reader loses himself in the phantasmal town of Comala. Although the elliptical dialogue of the new novel appears in Azuelaʼs traditional novel Los de abajo, it generally follows the narrative conventions of the day, and it is little work for the reader to understand the story. In contrast, Rulfo wants the reader to be forced to participate in order to understand. The reader must become one of Comalaʼs dead in order to hear what the dead are saying. The world of Pedro Páramo is static, existing organically without the sense of action. Although important plot twists occur in the novel, the reader hardly ever learns of the events directly. For example, the death of Miguel Páramo is told four times, but the reader never witnesses the accident with the horse on which he dies.

As notably different from the traditional novel, the reader has to construct the plot from the fragments. Although Pedro Páramo is a novel that is difficult to comprehend, the difficulty becomes worth the effort, and, for that reason, people continue to read it. Rulfo demands that the reader work in order to understand, but, upon the novelʼs conclusion, the reader feels a great pride after having conquered the work. The concept of reader participation indicates the change from the traditional novel to the new. Through the liberation of the reader, the experience of reading the new novel is a fairly different process altogether from reading the traditional novel. According to Carol Clark DʼLugo, the reader opens his eyes after reading Pedro Páramo: “The reading of this novel can be translated into a process of liberation for readers, as they are dislodged from their conventional conditioning to a passive experience” (DʼLugo, 1987, 468). If the reader is going to understand the work, it is impossible to read it inside of a fixed schema (DʼLugo, 1987, 471). For the reader, the novel is a complex experience instead of a simple story. Because of the novelʼs static nature, inside Pedro Páramo a deep, mysterious, and tragic world exists—a world in which one may become lost over and over again. The novelʼs static nature creates an environment that can be visited again and again in order to chat with Eduviges, Juan or Dorotea. Thus the new novel seems more organic and alive than the traditional novel.

Conclusion Between the two works of Azuela and Rulfo, the distinct cosmovision that influences the novels is striking. To clarify, cosmovision entails that which constitutes the attitude of the author towards the world and how he or she thinks about life and death. As mentioned, Azuela imitates aspects of the European novel in Los de abajo, and thus, he imitates the cosmovision of Europe. Life is represented very chronologically, and it makes perfect sense. In contrast, Rulfo utilizes the cosmovision of Mexico in order to structure his Pedro Páramo. In the new Mexican cosmovision, the appearance of the dead and the fragmented structure of the novel are expected. This influence of indigenous cosmovision in Latin-American literature is referred to as magical realism; magic occurring in the work seems ordinary to the characters of the novel. The beliefs of the Aztecs, Mayans and other indigenous tribes of Mexico mix with the European perspective in order to form a coherent cosmovision for the Mexico of today. Thus one may 39

CHRYSALIS: The Murray State University Journal of Undergraduate Research observe the development of the Mexican cosmovision from the traditional novel, Los de abajo, into the new novel, Pedro Páramo. In summary, all Latin-American novelists, not only the Mexican novelists, had to explore the appropriate cosmovision for their respective countries. Although Los de abajo and Pedro Páramo do not perfectly represent all of Latin America, they demonstrate the changes among the structure of the Latin-American traditional and new novel well.

References Azuela, Mariano. (1992). Los de abajo. (Eds. John E. Englekirk and Lawrence B. Kiddle). Long Grove, Illinois: Waveland Press, Inc. DʼLugo, Carol Clark. (1987). “Pedro Páramo: The Readerʼs Journey through the Text.” Hispania, 70, 468-474. Frenk, Mariana. (1974). Pedro Páramo. La narrativa de Juan Rulfo: Interpretacions críticas. í íticas. (Ed. Joseph Sommers). Mexico City: Sep/Setentas. Green, Clive. (1981). “The Structure of Los de abajo.” Revista canadiense de estudios hispánicos, 6, 25-41. Harss, Luis, and Barbara Dohmann. (1967). “Prologue, with Musical Chairs.” Into the Mainstream: Conversations with Latin-American Writers. New York, Evanston, and London: Harper and Row, Publishers. Leal, Luis. (1989). Mariano Azuela: Precursor de los nuevos novelistas. Revista Iberoamericana, 55, 859-867. Llosa, Mario Vargas. (1968). “Primitives and Creators.” London Times Literary Supplement, 67.3481, 1287-1288. Rulfo, Juan. (2003). Pedro Páramo. (Ed. José Carlos González Boixo). Madrid: Ediciones Cátedra. Sommers, Joseph. (1968). Through the Window of the Grave: Juan Rulfo. After the Storm. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press.


Footnotes [1] “And he clasped his hands with delight, right in the same moment as an explosion left his ears buzzing.” [2] “He smiled with satisfaction, and turning his face to his troops, he exclaimed: —Now! ... Twenty bombs exploded at once in the middle of the federals, who, full of fright, looked up with their eyes wide open. But before they could come to their senses, another 20 bombs burst with a great uproar, leaving a trail of dead and injured.” [3] “... And weʼre all ready to dispatch Villa and Carranza to the ... they can have fun alone ... But I figure that whatʼs happening to us is the same thing thatʼs happening to that peon of Tepatitlán. Donʼt you think so, compadre? He never stopped griping about his boss, but he never stopped working either. And thatʼs how we are: we keep griping and griping but we keep fighting and fighting ... But that goes without saying, compadre ...” [4] “Look at that stone and how it now does not stop itself.” [5] “We find a spirit of nonconformity and rebellion and an ardent desire to fight to better the conditions of living of the Mexican people.” [5] “in movement, in constant search of the appropriate structure to give expression to the themes of the present” [6] “had not achieved the production of works at the same height as those of Europe” [7] “The legacy of Azuela does not end there, with the narrators of the Revolution. His presence we intuit in Agustín Yáñez, in Juan Rulfo, in Carlos Fuentes, and in reality, in some of the greatest Latin-American narrators. Despite the defects that some critics find, the novels of Mariano Azuela helped to create not only a national conscience, but to prepare the terrain for the new Latin-American novel.” [8] “I came to Comala because they told me that my father lived here, a certain Pedro Páramo.”

CHRYSALIS: The Murray State University Journal of Undergraduate Research

Desde Juchipila hasta Comala: una comparación estructural de la novela tradicional y la nueva novela latinoamericana


l empezar a escribir en el nuevo continente. los escritores hispánicos [fueron influídos] en gran parte por la tradición literaria española. Los géneros más populares de la literatura española eran la poesía y el teatro, y los escritores latinoamericanos ya sabían escribir muy bien estos géneros porque llevaron la tradición poética española a Latinoamérica. [Un buen ejemplo entre ellos fue] Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz de México. En contraste con los otros géneros de la literatura del nuevo mundo, la novela latinoamericana no proviene de una tradición literaria muy fuerte y bien establecida. Por [esta razón], el género de la novela fue explorado por los escritores de Latinoamérica [a la vez que] el nuevo continente fue explorado por los españoles. Por lo tanto, la novela latinoamericana ha cambiado mucho a lo largo de su relativamente corta existencia en Latinoamérica. La novela latinoamericana nació en 1816 cuando Joaquín Fernández de Lizardi escribió la primera novela latinoamericana El Periquillo Sarniento; la obra no tiene gran valor literario, salvo que fue la primera novela que se escribió en Latinoamérica. [Por su parte, la] tradición novelesca latinoamericana empezó en México y hasta el presente la novela ha [tenido] un papel muy importante en la representación artística de la historia de [ese] país. Aunque el desarrollo de la novela mexicana no puede representar[fielmente] la trayectoria de la novela [latinoamericana en general, sirve bien de modelo para apreciar la evolución estructural y [estilística] del género en Latinoamérica. Después de una breve historia del género de la novela, [me abocaré a las] diferencias entre la novela tradicional y la nueva novela latinoamericana, dando énfasis a las diferencias estructurales. [Analizaré dos novelas mexicanas que tratan de la Revolución: Los de abajo (1915) y Pedro Páramo (1955). Into the Mainstream: Conversations with Latin-American Writers por Luis Harss y Barbara Dohmann (1967) se [concentra en los orígenes de la novela latinoamericana. Para obtener su información,

los autores viajaron por[el mundo] para entrevistar a varios autores latinoamericanos. En el prólogo, Harss y Dohmann explican los orígenes de la novela, o mejor dicho la falta de ellos. Las primeras figuras literarias en España eran aristócratas que querían ostentar sus grandes habilidades [como escritores], y la mejor manera de lucir su talento era escribir poesía (1). Los autores describen por qué los aristócratas españoles no querían escribir novelas: Their art was an aside, a form of mental acrobatics, or a social grace. No risk was involved. Nothing was at stake. The notion of artistic vocation as a form of total commitment engaging the whole man was practically unknown. There was nothing in the Spanish or Portuguese tradition to encourage it. And perhaps the novel, in the modern sense of he word, cannot exist without it. Which may explain why the form has never flourished in Spain. The novel is a monomaniacal form and can only live dangerously. (1) No obstante, existen obras españolas que son [precursoras de] la novela latinoamericana. Harss y Dohmann notan los pocos novelistas españoles que había. Por ejemplo, el escritor renacentista Fernando de Rojas escribió La Celestina en el S. XVI, [la] cual es una obra muy larga que se parece a una novela. Además aparecen varias novelas de caballerías. También, hay novelas picarescas como Lazarillo de Tormes. Al mismo tiempo, no se puede olvidar [al] más importante autor español, Miguel de Cervantes, quien escribió la novela famosa Don Quijote y otras obras como Novelas Ejemplares. Después de Cervantes, [hubo] pocos autores famosos que [influyeran] la novela latinoamericana (2). Por otra parte, el autor peruano Mariano Vargas Llosa relata en su artículo sobre la historia de la novela latinoamericana “Primitives and Creators” que las pocas novelas españolas que[podrían haber inspirado] a los escritores latinoamericanos no se permitían entrar al nuevo mundo. Las novelas que se producían en España [las prohibía] la iglesia en las Américas porque las consideraban [dañinas] para las mentes


CHRYSALIS: The Murray State University Journal of Undergraduate Research inocentes de los indígenas. A pesar del hecho que los indígenas no podían leer, la Inquisición temía que los indígenas no siguieran [a] Dios después de leer las novelas españolas (1287). El género de la novela aparece en Latinoamérica a principios del S. XIX cuando Lizardi publicó la primera novela El Periquillo Sarniento.. Era un [[feuilleton]; eso es “a form of social satire wavering between scatology and preachy didacticism” según Harss y Dohmann (3). Las raíces de los temas de las novelas revolucionarias y sociales, como Los de abajo, se pueden encontrar en esta [obra]. Después de El Periquillo Sarniento de Lizardi, llegó el período romántico a Latinoamérica. Los novelistas románticos del S. XIX escribieron mucho; sin embargo, son [pocas] las obras que siguen leyéndose hoy en día. A lo largo del siglo los novelistas latinoamericanos [estaban muy influídos] por los modos [usuales] de escribir que venían de Europa en vez de formar una literatura que se basaba en la cultura latinoamericana (5). En la última parte del S. XIX y la primera parte del S. XX, los autores latinoamericanos escribieron libros que trataron de temas sociales. Por ejemplo, Mariano Azuela escribió Los de abajo, novela de la Revolución Mexicana, que comenzó el género de la novela social que [la] siguió. Otros autores del mismo género [son]: Martín Luis Guzmán, El Águila y la Serpiente; Ricardo Güiraldes, Don Segundo Sombra; Edward Bello, El Roto; Alcides Arguedas, Raza de Bronce; y José Eustacio Rivera, La Vorágine. [Por su parte], el venezolano Rómulo Gallegos ejemplifica bien el ambiente de la [literatura] latinoamericana durante los años 20 y 30 (7). Como otros autores latinoamericanos del [momento], Gallegos quería [ver cambios en] su país: “Gallegos wielded his art—which was of only moderate literary value—as a weapon in the common struggle [of Venezuela],” (8). A fin de cuentas, la manera de escribir en aquella época de la novela latinoamericana no se enfocaba en lo técnico, sino que dio [más] importancia a los temas corrientes. Hoy en día la novela latinoamericana parece más compleja que antes. Dicen Harss y Dohmann que la actitud del autor actual ha cambiado: “The novelistʼs attitude toward his society, for instance, is a lot more ambiguous and complicated than it was some years ago. Most of our young novelists now are as committed politically as their predecessors, but they make a clear distinction, as they should, between activism and literature,” (27). La diferencia entre el modo tradicional y el nuevo modo de escribir se destaca entre


Los de abajo por Mariano Azuela y Pedro Páramo por Juan Rulfo, respectivamente. Según Harss y Dohmann, el nuevo novelista refleja en lugar de persuadir: “The novelistsʼ contribution to the cause is to tap and shape the new forces it has released, not by persuasion but by reflection,” (28). Los nuevos novelistas latinoamericanos no tratan de imitar las novelas de Europa, [sino]más bien se nutren de una tradición propia que ya está bien desarrollada. [Se dedica] en primer lugar a lo artístico [en lugar] de lo político. [A veces] los nuevos novelistas [escribieron sobre] temas que los novelistas tradicionales desarrollaron también, pero lo hacen de una manera diferente. Es decir que el tema no tiene que variar; lo importante para distinguir entre la novela tradicional y la nueva novela es la manera de escribir. El estilo y la estructura de la novela constituyen una gran parte de lo que determina si una novela es tradicional o nueva. Para aprender lo que es una estructura tradicional, el lector puede observar el aspecto de la cronología en Los de abajo. En contraste con Pedro Páramo, Los de abajo [está escrita] de una manera muy cronológica. Nunca se rompe esta organización cronológica, excepto una vez en la primera parte en los capítulos XVI y XVII, en [los cuales] aparece un episodio de acción simultánea. Publicada por primera vez en 1915, Los de abajo trata de un hombre sencillo, Demetrio Macías, que se [convierte en] revolucionario después de ver quemada su casa a manos de soldados federales. El conflicto de Demetrio proviene de don Mónico, cacique de la region, y dueño de mucha de su tierra. Demetrio se escapa y se une a la causa revolucionaria. Después de una carrera militar de dos años (1914-1915), muere emboscado por otra banda revolucionaria en el mismo cañón de Juchipila donde comenzó su carrera de revolucionario. La cronología fragmentada empieza en el capítulo XVI cuando Demetrio Macías y sus tropas están a punto de atacar un ejército de soldados federales. El jefe de los soldados federales piensa en la derrota del ejército de Demetrio y [en] el honor que recibirá cuando el ataque [comience]: “Y se apretó las manos con regocijo, en el mismo momento en que un estallido lo dejó con los oídos zumbando” (47). En el capítulo siguiente, el ataque todavía no ha ocurrido. Ahora, Azuela describe el suceso otra vez desde la perspectiva de Demetrio:

CHRYSALIS: The Murray State University Journal of Undergraduate Research Se sonrió con satisfacción, y volviendo la cara a los suyos, exclamó: —¡Hora! ... Veinte bombas estallaron a un tiempo en medio de los federales, que, llenos de espanto, se irguieron con los ojos desmesuradamente abiertos. Mas antes de que pudieran darse cuenta cabal del trance, otras veinte bombas reventaban con fragor, dejando un reguero de muertos y heridos. (48)

Al leer la novela, la estructura circular se hace evidente al lector; la acción comienza en el cañón de Juchipila y termina en el mismo cañón. Según Griffin, volver al cañón “can be interpreted as a comment upon the futility of the Revolution, a point which Azuela stresses throughout the novel” (27). Aparte de las implicaciones simbólicas, la estructura circular se usa para fortalecer la unidad de la novela.

Otra técnica que es más típica de la nueva novela es el diálogo elíptico que construye Azuela. Es decir que emplea un diálogo que deja espacios en la conversación. Por eso, el lector tiene que deducir lo que no incluye Azuela. Estos espacios entre el diálogo añaden a la estructura episódica de la novela, y también son precursores de las técnicas de la nueva novela. Hay varios ejemplos de este diálogo elíptico por todas partes de la novela. Hacia fines de la obra, el [discurso] de Demetrio [evidencia] el diálogo elíptico cuando él le contesta a Anastasio, un soldado cansado de luchar en el ejército de Demetrio:

También, lo estético de la estructura se puede observar en las divisiones de las tres partes. La primera parte es la más larga mientras que la tercera parte es muy breve con respeto a las otras; esta estructura no puede ser accidental tampoco. Como la Revolución, o como se llama coloquialmente en la novela, la bola, la acción sigue con más rapidez en cada parte, y por eso, el tamaño

...Y nosotros estamos ya pa despachar a Villa y a Carranza a la ... a que se divertan solos ... Pero se me figura que nos está sucediendo lo que a aquel peón de Tepatitlán. ¿Se acuerda, compadre? No paraba de rezongar de su patrón, pero no paraba de trabajar tampoco. Y así estamos nosotros: a reniega y reniega y a mátenos y mátenos ... Pero eso no hay que decirlo, compadre ... (114) Aunque la estructura no es muy creativa cronológicamente como la de Pedro Páramo, tiene mucho mérito artístico, y es obvio que Azuela dio algún tipo de forma a su obra. Sin embargo, hay mucha discusión acerca de la cuestión de estructura en Los de abajo. En su artículo “The Structure of Los de abajo,” Clive Griffin explica lo que varios críticos opinan de la estructura: el gran conflicto que es difícil de reconciliar es la discrepancia entre lo episódico de la obra y el diseño circular. Según Griffin, Azuela se contradice en lo que escribe sobre sus obras. Dice que Los de abajo representa sus experiencias durante la Revolución de una manera verosímil, pero por otra parte, dice que añadió una estructura coherente (25-26). Si Azuela añadió una estructura circular, es obvio que su novela no se trata exactamente de sus observaciones de la Revolución. Es cierto que Azuela emplea conscientemente una estructura lógica y estética, a pesar de lo que dice él sobre su novela.

de las partes refleja el cambio y la velocidad intensa de la bola. Al hablar con su esposa hacia el fin de la novela, Demetrio tira una piedra al cañón y resume muy bien con sus palabras muy famosas la idea de la bola: “—Mira esa piedra cómo ya no se para” (117). La estructura refleja la rapidez de la Revolución, y el sentido de muchas personas que se unieron a la Revolución. La metáfora de la piedra echada al cañón capta bien el movimiento cada vez más rápido y poderoso de la bola. Meterse a la bola es como subir a un tren en movimiento que sigue corriendo más rápidamente hasta que es imposible bajarse sin matarse. Los personajes de la novela como Luis Cervantes abandonaron la causa antes de que tuvieran que dañarse, pero otros personajes como Demetrio Macías no escaparon sin morir. Griffin ofrece explicaciones múltiples para la estructura de la novela. Primero, Azuela no sabía si su obra iba a ser en la forma de novela o en la de una serie del periódico, y por eso, escribió de una manera episódica para poder publicar su obra en cualquier forma. Por otra parte, tal vez Azuela creía que el mejor modo de narrar la Revolución era de forma episódica. Además, los hombres de Macías no son muy habladores, sino hombres de acción. Así que los personajes influyeron la forma episódica. Griffin dice: “the apparent fragmentation of the structure is thus a reflection of the peasants lack of coherent appreciation and, especially, verbalisation of their experience” (38). Al mismo tiempo, quizás él quería representar la perspectiva de un revolucionario común para reflejar la guerra caótica, y según Griffin el resultado de esta estructura ilustra “the confusion which an isolated band of guerrillas must feel in any war and especially in a war as complex and fragmentary as the Mexican Revolution” (37-38). 43

CHRYSALIS: The Murray State University Journal of Undergraduate Research Aunque la estructura de Los de abajo es tradicional, esta novela de Azuela es un precursor de las nuevas novelas latinoamericanas. El crítico literario Luis Leal, quien ha escrito mucho sobre la literatura mexicana, dice que en la obra de Azuela: “Encontramos un espíritu de inconformidad y rebeldía y un ardiente deseo de luchar por mejorar las condiciones de vida del pueblo mexicano” (859). La misma inconformidad se puede encontrar en la [estructura única] de Pedro Páramo. Como la [forma] de Rulfo, la narrativa de Azuela [está] “en movimiento, en constante búsqueda de la estructura apropiada para dar expresión a los temas de la hora” (859). Para Azuela, el novelista de antes de la Revolución “no había logrado producir obras a la altura de las europeas” (860). Por otra parte, la novela europea no sirve de un modelo para la estructura y la narrativa de Los de abajo, sino que Azuela relata sus propias observaciones de la guerra (864). Además, Azuela era el primer novelista de la Revolución, empezando a escribir durante la Revolución a diferencia de los novelistas como Gregorio López y Fuentes, Rafael Muñoz, José Rubén Romero y Cipriano Campos Alatorre, quienes publicaron sus mejores obras entre 1930 y 1940 (866). [Al decir] que Azuela [fue] un precursor de los nuevos novelistas, Leal concluye [diciendo] que él [fue] muy importante a pesar de lo que dicen algunos críticos: El legado de Azuela no termina allí, con los narradores de la Revolución. Su presencia la intuimos en Agustín Yáñez, en Juan Rulfo, en Carlos Fuentes, y en verdad, en algunos de los más grandes narradores hispanoamericanos. A pesar de los defectos que algunos críticos les encuentran, las novelas de Mariano Azuela ayudaron a crear no sólo una conciencia nacional, sino a preparar el terreno para la nueva novela hispanoamericana. (866) [A diferencia] de Azuela, Rulfo presenta al lector una nueva novela latinoamericana de cronología fragmentada. Atrapado en el mundo de Pedro Páramo, el lector tiene que participar si quiere comprender la acción de este universo de muertos. Al leer las primeras palabras de la novela “vine a Comala porque me dijeron que acá vivía mi padre, un tal Pedro Páramo” (65), al lector le parece la novela bien tradicional, pero es evidente que no es una novela tradicional después de leer dos o tres páginas. Pronto se desplaza la narración de primera persona por las memorias de la madre de Juan. De repente, el lector empieza a ponerse aún más confuso al darse cuenta que el texto ha cambiado de narradores, y así con semejantes sorpresas estructurales sigue la novela.


La trama se puede resumir con facilidad: un joven que se llama Juan Preciado busca a su padre Pedro Páramo después de la muerte de su madre Dolores, quien le [pidio] que [fuera] a buscar a su padre en Comala después [que ella muriera]. La búsqueda de Juan Preciado es el vehículo [para] conocer la historia de la vida del cacique Pedro Páramo y el pueblo de Comala. Sin embargo, la estructura de Pedro Páramo es menos fácil de resumir. La narrativa de Rulfo lleva al lector por veredas que llevan a un pedacito de ilustración u otras veces por pistas falsas. Por su estructura radicalmente fragmentada, Pedro Páramo ejemplifica lo nuevo de la novela latinoamericana. La novela no tiene capítulos numerados, sino 69 fragmentos. Se puede separar el texto en dos partes: la muerte de Juan Preciado marca la división de las dos. En la primera parte, Juan narra la mayoría de los fragmentos, y parece que está vivo. Luego, el lector [se entera] que Juan está muerto, contando su historia a Dorotea, la mujer que comparte la tumba con él. También, la primera parte no se trata de la historia de Juan solamente, sino que aparecen otros fragmentos que tratan de la vida de Pedro Páramo u otros acontecimientos de Comala. En la segunda parte, el lector aprende más acerca de la vida de Pedro Páramo, y como [en] la primera parte, hay algunos fragmentos que tratan de otros personajes de Comala. Es decir que la división de la novela entre dos secciones no es nada científica; Rulfo relata varios fragmentos que forman una historia coherente como una pintura impresionista. Según el crítico Joseph Sommers la estructura de la narrativa se relaciona directamente a la visión de realidad del autor: “Juanʼs death actually serves as a dividing line between two perspectives of narration. Here structure and the technique of withholding information are related to the vision of reality” (78). En la primera parte, el lector observa el mundo muerto de Comala por los ojos aparentemente vivos de Juan (78-79). Como un [mirror image] de la primera parte, la segunda parte refleja un mundo vivo de Comala por los ojos muertos de Juan y Dorotea (79). A pesar de la vida en las dos partes, domina la muerte: “In the first half, the presence of death contaminates existence; life is a living hell. In the second half, life contaminates death, making that condition hell also” (79). Además, el elemento de misterio y el suspenso de la estructura contribuyen bastante al sentido de la novela; por ejemplo, el lector no sabe el nombre del protagonista Juan Preciado hasta que mucho

CHRYSALIS: The Murray State University Journal of Undergraduate Research ha pasado en la novela (Sommers 82). Aunque la trama no se base en la acción, todavía el lector quiere saber lo que pasa en la novela. Siempre hay que prestar mucha atención a cada detalle de la [acción] para no perderse, y [aún así] es fácil de confundirse. También, los detalles presentes a veces no bastan para comprender completamente la acción. Mariana Frenk nota en su artículo que se trata de Pedro Páramo que nunca aparecen descripciones de los personajes, excepto con el único caso de Pedro, a quien se describe dos veces como “enorme” (43). Tampoco no se describen los acontecimientos claves como el asesinato de Pedro Páramo por su hijo Abundio, pero sí se mencionan detalles insignificantes y a veces fragmentos irrelevantes que tratan de personajes desconocidos (43). Así lo misterioso de la novela le fascina y le frustra al lector a la vez. La historia de Pedro Páramo no parece coherente a primera vista, y después de leer toda la novela, el lector duda que lo haya entendido todo. En Los de abajo en cambio, Azuela deja pocos acontecimientos sin explicación, pero a Rulfo no le importa que el lector se pierda en el pueblo fantasmal de Comala. Aunque hay diálogo elíptico en Los de abajo, sigue las convenciones narrativas y poco le cuesta al lector comprender la historia. En cambio, Rulfo quiere que el lector tenga que participar para entender. El lector tiene que hacerse un difunto de Comala para oír lo que dicen los muertos. El mundo de Pedro Páramo es estático, existiendo orgánicamente sin el sentido de acción. Aunque mucho pasa en la novela, casi nunca [se entera] el lector de los acontecimientos directamente. Por ejemplo, la muerte de Miguel Páramo se cuenta cuatro veces, pero el lector nunca presencia el accidente con el caballo en que muere. A diferencia de la novela tradicional, el lector tiene que construir la acción de los fragmentos. Aunque Pedro Páramo es una novela que es difícil de comprender, la dificultad de leerla vale la pena, y por eso, la gente sigue leyéndola. Rulfo manda que el lector trabaje para entender, pero al acabar la novela el lector se siente muy orgulloso por vencer la obra. El concepto de la participación del lector indica el cambio de la novela tradicional a la nueva. Liberando al lector, la experiencia de leer la nueva novela es un proceso bien diferente de leer la novela tradicional. Según Carol Clark D´Lugo, el lector abre los ojos al leer Pedro Páramo: “The reading of this novel can be translated into a process of liberation for readers, as they are dislodged from their conventional conditioning to a passive

experience” (468). Si el lector va a entender la obra, es imposible leer la novela dentro de un esquema fijado (471). Resumiendo el ambiente de la novela, Sergio Fernández llama Pedro Páramo “una sesión espiritista.” Para el lector, la novela es una experiencia compleja en vez de ser una historia sencilla. Fernández nota que existe un mundo estático en Pedro Páramo: Se encapsula en una atmósfera donde, si uno mira a vuelo de pájaro las cosas, encuentra que el narrador se desdice o lo parece, al menos, ʻcomo si hubiera retrocedido el tiempoʼ, porque no cuenta, o no existe, u otras cosas le pasan ya que ʻEl reloj de la iglesia dio las horas, una tras otra, como si se hubiera encogido el tiempoʼ. De este modo se deja cobijar por el espacio de Comala, uno irrespirable, obviamente, que comunica las esferas del cielo y de la Tierra; la luna, claro, de por medio. (956) Por ser una novela estática, dentro de Pedro Páramo existe un mundo profundo, misterioso, y trágico, en cual uno puede perderse repetidamente. Lo estático de la novela crea un ambiente que se puede visitar una y otra vez para charlar con Eduviges, Juan, o Dorotea. Así la nueva novela parece más orgánica y viva que la novela tradicional. Entre las dos obras de Azuela y Rulfo, la cosmovisión distinta que influye las novelas se puede destacar. La cosmovisión quiere decir lo que constituye la actitud del autor acerca del mundo y como piensa en la vida y la muerte. Como mencionado, Azuela imita la novela europea en Los de abajo, y así, imita la cosmovisión de Europa. Es decir que la vida se representa muy cronológicamente, y tiene sentido perfecto. Por otra parte, Rulfo utiliza la cosmovisión de México para estructurar Pedro Páramo. En la nueva cosmovisión, los muertos que aparecen y la estructura fragmentada se esperan. Esta apariencia de la cosmovisión indígena en la literatura latinoamericana se llama el realismo mágico; lo mágico que ocurre parece muy ordinario a los personajes de la novela. Las creencias de los Aztecas, los Mayas, y otras tribus indígenas de México se mezclan con la perspectiva europea para formar una cosmovisión coherente para el México de hoy. Así se puede observar el desarrollo de la cosmovisión mexicana desde la novela tradicional, Los de abajo, hasta la nueva novela, Pedro Páramo. En resumen, todos los novelistas latinoamericanos tenían que explorar la cosmovisión apropiada para sus países respectivos. 45

CHRYSALIS: The Murray State University Journal of Undergraduate Research Aunque Los de abajo y Pedro Páramo no representan perfectamente toda Latinoamérica, muestran bien los cambios entre la estructura de la novela tradicional y la nueva novela latinoamericana.

Obras citadas Azuela, Mariano. Los de abajo. Ed. John E. Englekirk and Lawrence B. Kiddle. Long Grove, Illinois: Waveland Press, Inc., 1992. DʼLugo, Carol Clark. “Pedro Páramo: The Readerʼs Journey through the Text.” Hispania. 70 (1987): 468-474. Fernandez, Sergio. “Pedro Páramo; una sesión espiritista.” Revista Iberoamericana 55 (1989): 953-963. Frenk, Mariana. “Pedro Páramo.” La narrativa de Juan Rulfo: Interpretaciones críticas. Ed. Joseph Sommers. Mexico City: Sep/Setentas, 1974.


Griffin, Clive. “The Structure of Los de abajo.” Revista canadiense de estudios hispánicos 6 (1981): 25-41. Harss, Luis, and Barbara Dohmann. “Prologue, with Musical Chairs.” Into the Mainstream: Conversations with LatinAmerican Writers. New York, Evanston, and London: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1967. Leal, Luis. “Mariano Azuela: Precursor de los nuevos novelistas.” Revista Iberoamericana 55 (1989): 859-867. Llosa, Mario Vargas. “Primitives and Creators.” London Times Literary Supplement 67.3481 (1968): 1287-1288. Rulfo, Juan. Pedro Páramo. Ed. José Carlos González Boixo. Madrid: Ediciones Cátedra, 2003. Sommers, Joseph. “Through the Window of the Grave: Juan Rulfo.” After the Storm. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1968.

CHRYSALIS: The Murray State University Journal of Undergraduate Research

ABSTRACT Laura Kight

Class: Senior Major: English Literature Laura Kight has always enjoyed problem solving and as an English literature major she continually finds fresh ideas for analysis. At Murray State University, she serves as president of Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society and vice president of Alumnae and Heritage for Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority. Kight is also a member of Sigma Tau Delta English Honor Society. After graduation, she will pursue a law degree.

Kate Chopinʼs Exploration of Freedom and Trauma in “The Story of an Hour.” This research project began as an attempt to highlight the vital connection that exists between authors and their literary creations. In the short story, “The Story of an Hour,” by Kate Chopin, a distinct relationship exists between Chopinʼs personal tragedy and the tragedies that afflict the protagonist, Louise Mallard. Kate Chopin illustrates the shared emotion between herself and the protagonist and in doing so, reveals a message vital to the issue of expression of freedom of emotion for women. Chopin celebrates her personal emancipation from her grief by creating a similar experience for Louise Mallard, though its tragic end conveys Chopinʼs passionate defense of genuine freedom for women in a society that dictates their expression of emotion.

FACULTY MENTOR Barbara Cobb is an assistant professor of English and Humanities in the Department of English and Philosophy, and a member of the Honors Program faculty. She earned a Ph.D. in English from Rutgers University in 2001 and has taught at Murray State University since that time. Cobb teaches early modern British and continental literature, humanities and advanced composition. Her scholarly work includes studies of Shakespeare and popular audience, early 17th-century literary community, and gender politics in 17th-century literary patronage.


CHRYSALIS: The Murray State University Journal of Undergraduate Research

Kate Chopinʼs Exploration of Freedom and Trauma in “The Story of an Hour.”


n Kate Chopinʼs short story, “The Story of an Hour” the protagonist, Louise Mallard, dies of more than “heart disease – of joy that kills” (Chopin, 2004, p. 257). Louise suffers from her inability to express the joy and sorrow that commingle when she hears of her husbandʼs death. Chopinʼs own experiences with loss and grief manifest themselves in Louise Mallardʼs reaction to Brentlyʼs death, though with a different outcome. Chopinʼs personal experiences parallel Louise Mallardʼs though the tragic conclusion — that differs from Chopinʼs own life — to “The Story of an Hour” which illustrates Chopinʼs acknowledgement of a tragic flaw in the social structure of her time. Chopin celebrates her own personal emancipation from her grief by creating a similar experience for Louise Mallard, though its tragic end conveys Chopinʼs passionate defense of genuine freedom for women in a society that dictates their expression of emotion. Chopin experienced several tragedies in her young adulthood that may have prompted her to include tragedy in “The Story of an Hour.” Many similarities between Chopinʼs life and the events of her short story become clear through the exposition of the events of Louise Mallardʼs experience. Kateʼs early childhood experiences translate into the events of “The Story of an Hour” easily: “Chopin was an only child when her father died. He had been a founder of the Pacific Railroad, and he was aboard the train on its inaugural journey when it plunged into the Gasconade River after a bridge collapsed” (“Katherine Chopin,” 1988, p. 122). This experience when coupled with Chopinʼs fictional account of Brently Mallardʼs death in a train wreck leads us to make a vital connection between “The Story of an Hour” and Chopinʼs desire to express her emotions through her writing. In Cathy Caruthʼs book, Unclaimed Experience: Trauma, Narrative, and History, she speaks of the desire of writers to write about their traumatic experiences: “The story of trauma, then, as the narrative of a belated experience, far from telling of an escape from reality – the escape from a death, or from its referential force – rather attests to its endless impact on a life about writers and trauma” (Caruth, 1996, p. 7). For Chopin, including trauma in her story affords her the freedom to express


her emotions – both resolved and unresolved – through Louiseʼs experiences. Loss remains an intensely painful theme through Chopinʼs young adulthood: “Around age 11 she endured further heartache when her great-grandmother died. Soon afterwards, Chopinʼs half-brother, who had been captured as a Confederate soldier in the Civil War, contracted typhoid fever and died.” Chopinʼs experiences with loss encouraged her desire for solitude and immersion in literature as an escape from her sorrow. As she grew older, Chopin found freedom through her expression in music and literature, and “as she reveled in St. Louis society, Chopin became increasingly independent” (“Katherine Chopin,” 1988, p. 102). From Chopinʼs biography, we see the further development of themes of isolation in Chopinʼs life that influence the manner in which she creates Louise Mallardʼs experiences with death and isolation, though, Chopinʼs personal encounter with grief resolves itself more favorably than that of Louise Mallard. Chopinʼs account of Louise Mallardʼs experience with trauma in “The Story of an Hour” contains many of the same elements that appear in biographerʼs descriptions of Chopinʼs life. Chopin begins the story with her protagonist, Louise, flanked by her sister, Josephine and Brentlyʼs friend, Richards. Chopin saw similar social and familial support through her own painful experiences with tragedy (Chopin, 2004, p. 255). After Louise learns of her husbandʼs death in a train accident – the same manner in which Chopinʼs father died – Louise immediately begins the grieving process (Chopin, 2004, p. 256). In the initial stages of grief, we find one point at which Chopinʼs assertions regarding Louise Mallardʼs grief contradict Louiseʼs later behavior: “She did not hear the story as many women have heard the same, with a paralyzed inability to accept its significance” (Chopin, 2004, p. 256). In this quotation, Louise seems as if she instantly comprehends the impact of Brentlyʼs death on her life. Throughout the explication of Chopinʼs story, it remains clear that Louiseʼs grief and freedom through isolation develop methodically during a short period of time.

CHRYSALIS: The Murray State University Journal of Undergraduate Research Louiseʼs isolation parallels Chopinʼs personal quest for solitude during her early traumatic experiences in order to reflect upon the manner in which the deaths affected her life and her freedom. Chopin makes a clear distinction between Louiseʼs state of mind directly following her husbandʼs death and her state of mind after her grief has subsided by using symbols and descriptive language to that end. Louise soon realizes that in her solitude and isolation, she finds the freedom to think and express emotions that she had been scared of expressing prior to her husbandʼs death. Chopin uses the word “open” twice to describe Louiseʼs perceptions of her room: There stood, facing the open window, a comfortable, roomy armchair. Into this she sank, pressed down by a physical exhaustion that haunted her body and seemed to reach into her soul. She could see in the open square before her house the tops of trees that were all aquiver with the new spring life. (Chopin, 2004, p. 256) Chopin uses not only the word “open” but also “comfortable, roomy” and “new spring life” (Chopin 256). Louiseʼs recognition of the implied vitality and autonomy of her environment denotes her willingness to embrace any semblance of freedom for freedomʼs sake. Louiseʼs acknowledgement of these symbols and others, for example, “delicious breath of rain,” “patches of blue sky” and the storyʼs setting within the context of springtime and rebirth, creates an entirely different setting for the story (Chopin, 2004, p. 256). Rain in any other season would symbolize sadness, and heartache, and would depict Louise as a downtrodden sort of protagonist. Springtime brings hope to her traumatic situation. Chopin uses the word “facing” twice in the first few moments of Louiseʼs isolation (Chopin, 2004, p. 256). Chopin presents Louise as “facing the open window” and “patches of blue sky showing here and there through the clouds that had met and piled one above the other in the west facing her window” (Chopin, 2004, p. 256). As a symbol, the window limits Louise in some ways and frees her in others. The window allows Louise to view only what faces her, rather than permitting her to take in the bigger picture (256). The window also gives Louise a glimpse of what limited freedom consists, though, as Chopin alludes to through her tragic ending, limited freedom contradicts any notion of genuine freedom. Chopin demonstrates Louiseʼs power to change part of her life because the window represents only a portion of all that lies outside of Louise and that remains beyond her control.

After creating a scene of both beauty and isolation for Louise Mallard, Chopin gives us the first physical description of Louise Mallard. Through this illustration, we begin to realize the depth of repression in Louise, a young woman facing more than an isolated traumatic experience: “She was young, with a fair calm face, whose lines bespoke repression and even a certain strength.” (Chopin, 2004, p. 256). Chopin does not even allude to Louiseʼs “repression;” instead, she states it explicitly. We see where Chopin loses control of the text once more and rather than allowing another contradiction within the story, Chopin openly states the perception of Louise that she wants us to create within our minds. In this description, however, Chopin effectively conveys the sympathetic situation of both Louise and other women – young and old – in similar situations who face freedom only within a context of isolation from others and from repressors. Chopin follows her description with an observation of Louiseʼs expression that we may interpret as a warning regarding the effects of repression, sorrow and isolation: “But now there was a dull stare in her eyes, whose gaze was fixed away off yonder on one of those patches of blue sky. It was not a glance of reflection, but rather indicated a suspension of intelligent thought” (Chopin, 2004, p. 256). Louise appears to us as a shadow of her former self, as indicated by Chopin, and a victim of repression that has stolen her capacity to process all of the events of the past hour. As we begin to attribute her strange behavior to the death of Brently Mallard, we find that Louise, too, realizes that her emotions come from a place other than her sorrow. Louiseʼs inability to express herself due to societal limitations regarding her behavior – as with many women of this time – creates in her a void that seeks solitude to find what she lacks from the provisions of the social system. Louiseʼs strong dissatisfaction with her ability to express her desires and thoughts encourages us to examine the system or any institution that creates a false perception that freedom comes only through isolation for women. The transition to understanding for Louise begins as: “her bosom rose and fell tumultuously. She was beginning to recognize this thing that was approaching to possess her, and she was striving to beat it back with her will – as powerless as her two white slender hands would have been” (Chopin, 2004, p. 256). Initially, Louise fights the freedom that she realizes comes from isolation, but its influence intoxicates her after having been repressed for so long. As she “recognizes this thing that was beginning to possess her,” Chopin makes an additional reference to her youth by describing her hands once more. The allusion explains her adaptability to such a tempting offer of freedom. The prospect of freedom through isolation tempts 49

CHRYSALIS: The Murray State University Journal of Undergraduate Research Louiseʼs sensibilities regarding comfort and relief from grief, stress and expectations, and, to a small degree, Louise realizes the fallacy of such ill-gotten freedom. The physical and emotional effects of Louiseʼs newfound freedom supercede her sense of reason regarding the origin of freedom. Chopin develops a scene akin to a spiritual revival, as Louise discovers the liberating effects of freedom: “When she abandoned herself a little whispered word escaped her slightly parted lips. She said it over and over under her breath: “free, free, free!” The vacant stare and look of terror that had followed it went from her eyes” (Chopin, 2004, p. 256). Freedom becomes a sensual experience for Louise, rather than an intellectual or logical encounter. She reconciles herself to the death of her husband quite easily compared with her prior demonstration of grief: “She knew that she would weep again when she saw the kind, tender hands folded in death; the fact that had never looked save with love upon her, fixed and gray and dead” (Chopin, 2004, p. 256). In this quotation, we affirm our assertion that Louise Mallardʼs repression results from the society in which she lives, not a tyrannical husband. Chopin uses this to reinforce the blame upon the society of her time for disallowing by social convention the expression of strong emotion and personal freedom. Chopin constructs this scene in a manner that demands fast reading of Louiseʼs embrace of isolation and freedom. While Louise asserts that she loves her husband, she also begins to discard him as part of her old life – a life without freedom through isolation. She speaks of her freedom to “live for herself” and her realization regarding her husband that “she had loved him – sometimes. Often she had not” (Chopin, 2004, pp. 256-57). At this point in the story, we recognize both gender-related issues and possible questions regarding her sexuality that she had previously found herself too confined by society to ask. The physical and emotional effects of this freedom upon Louise make her death and the subsequent absence of her freedom altogether dramatic and painful. The death of Louiseʼs short-lived personal freedom of expression and realization coincides with her physical death and arrives as abruptly as does the news of her husbandʼs death in the beginning and news of his life at the end. Louiseʼs death illustrates the danger of allowing societyʼs critical flaw to take hold of oneʼs sensibilities to the point of robbing oneʼs personal liberties. As Josephine comes to the door, we realize the threat to Louiseʼs freedom within isolation, from the outside: “What are you doing, Louise? For heavenʼs sake open the door” (Chopin, 2004, p. 257). Josephine symbolizes society, figuratively beating down the door 50

of Louiseʼs newborn confidence and freedom. Louiseʼs reply brings the experience to a fevered pitch: “ʻGo away. I am not making myself ill.ʼ No; she was drinking in the very elixir of life through that open window” (Chopin, 2004, p. 257). The window emerges as a symbol again, and, when Louise finally exits her sanctuary, she finds herself far-removed from the condition of the world around her. Her emotional condition exudes joyful freedom and confidence that her flawed society had stolen from her (Chopin, 2004, p. 257). The final scene, in which the doctor describes the cause of Louiseʼs death as “heart disease – of joy that kills,” represents both the beginning and the end of Louiseʼs emancipation through isolation. Her isolation now comes through death. Chopin presents Louise as a victim of the tempting embrace of false freedom. The abrupt nature of Louiseʼs death and her subsequently complete removal from the social structure epitomizes Chopinʼs message regarding the hasty embrace of freedom through isolation or allowing the embrace to go on past its advantageousness. “The Story of an Hour” reveals Kate Chopinʻs need for catharsis, as well providing insight into a symbolic account of her personal experiences with grief. Chopin uses her protagonist, Louise Mallard, to represent the brief respite from grief that comes from isolating oneself to gather oneʼs thoughts. Chopin also exposes the dangers of seeking isolation as a refuge from repression by societal, familial, and personal obligations and expectations. We realize through the story of Louise Mallard that isolation as a temporary substitute for freedom constitutes a failure of genuine freedom on all accounts. Chopinʼs personal experience with solitude allowed her to recover from the tragedies that plagued her early adulthood and encouraged her to move beyond the freedom to explore her emotions through solitude. Louise Mallardʼs experiences contrast with Chopinʼs personal experiences in that Mallardʼs brief encounter becomes a near-religious experience with isolation that overcomes all of her sensibilities. Chopin convinces us by the end of “The Story of an Hour” that Mallardʼs experience, however short-lived, would have had a lasting impact on the way in which she views freedom. Chopin recognizes the critical flaws within the social structure and its accompanying expectations of its members. When the members of a society seek refuge from societal expectations and constraints, as Louise Mallard does in “The Story of an Hour,” a reevaluation of priorities and the expectations of the society becomes necessary. Chopin creates a skillful depiction of the dangers of seeking freedom through isolation of oneself from society and others and the inherent flaw of a society that forces its members to do so.

CHRYSALIS: The Murray State University Journal of Undergraduate Research References Caruth, Cathy (1996). Unclaimed Experience: Trauma, Narrative, and History. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press. Chopin, Kate (2004). “The Story of an Hour.” In Stuart Hirschberg and Terry Hirschberg (eds.), Discovering the Many Worlds of Literature: Literature for Composition. (pp. 255-57). New York: Pearson Longman. “Katherine Chopin” (1988). In May, Hal and Susan Trosky (eds.), Contemporary Authors (Vol. 122, pp. 101-106). Detroit: Gale Research Co.


CHRYSALIS: The Murray State University Journal of Undergraduate Research


Clay Wyatt

Class: Sophomore Major: Professional Writing Clay Wyatt was born in 1982 in Benton, Ky., and wormed his way through school until graduation in 2000. After high school, he took a three-and-a-half year break before continuing his education at MSU. Wyatt has since become involved with various on-campus organizations and currently works as a mentor with the Services for Students with Learning Disabilities.

Sixty Years of Japanese Pacifism: The Transformers始 Binaltech The Japanese, since the conclusion of World War II, have funneled their warrior heritage into their modern consumer culture. This culture includes toys, such as the Transformers, and this link between products for sale and the desires of feudal conquering can be supported by the appearances of the figures, their functions, and the economics of selling merchandise.

FACULTY MENTORS Jean Lorrah is a professor of English at Murray State University. She lives with one dog, Kadi Farris ambrov Keon, and therapy cat Earl Gray Dudley. Dr. Lorrah started publishing nonfiction professionally in graduate school but turned to professional fiction in the 1980s. She has created a series of her own, Savage Empire, a series with Jacqueline Lichtenberg, Sime~Gen, and a series of children始s books about the Loch Ness Monster with Lois Wickstrom. She created the department始s course in Fantasy, Myth and Legend, and regularly teaches the History of the English language. Terry Strieter is a professor of history. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 1977 and has been teaching at Murray State since that date. While teaching a wide variety of history courses, his specialization is France. Strieter始s research is in French and European social history; besides a book on 19th-century European art (published in 1999), he has published over 20 articles and given over 40 papers at professional conferences. In 2001 and again in 2004, he was elected by the Murray State University faculty as the Faculty Regent to the Board of Regents. Pat Wilson-McCutchen is a lecturer in the sociology program in the Department of Government, Law and International Affairs. She has taught the introductory sociology and social problems classes at Murray State since 1999. She is a Murray State alumna and has worked as a psychiatric therapist for a number of years. She has a special interest in the motivational forces that underlie human behavior.


CHRYSALIS: The Murray State University Journal of Undergraduate Research

Sixty Years of Japanese Pacifism: The Transformersʼ Binaltech Binal adj. double, twofold Tech abr. technical, technology Transform v. to change in appearance, condition, nature, or character — Torsten Abel


ʼm a Transformers toy enthusiast. My interest in them has developed over the past few years into a full-fledged collection, rivaling anything on that blurry border between normal hobbies and obsessions. Of course, no personal interest would be complete without the requisite musings to go with it, so these extra traits have manifested themselves in my participation in the amorphous, mutant appendage of any hobby or interest—the internet fan site. During my time with fellow fans, I have come to absorb quite a bit of information about Transformers toys and have ultimately contributed to the endless spiels as well. One method that I have subsequently used to “introduce” people to my hobby has been to say, “these are 60 years of Japanese pacifism.” After putting this phrase through some high mileage, I have conceded that there may indeed be something deeper to it than my usual throwaway maxims, so Iʼve set to the task of elaborating it.

Figure 1a Suit of Armor and Helmet, by Haruta Katsumitsu and Juryo Misumasa. Japan, 1700s, Edo period. Iron, silver, lacquer, leather and silk. Denver Art Museum, gift of John and Celeste Fleming.

Modern Japanese toys have become a symbolic transference of the countryʼs warrior heritage because of the abandonment of militaristic ventures following World War II. Rather than attempting to dominate the world through military avenues, Japan has preferred (or been limited to) the route of commerce, while diverting its feudal legacy into its pop culture. In the case of the Transformersʼ Binaltech line, these processes are one and the same

Figure 1b

Figure 1c

(Fig. 1a). As cars, they are the terrific examples of peaceful, placid and civil consumer designs (Fig. 1b), while being able to disguise perfectly the warrior within (Fig. 1c). Following a more thorough analysis, they become an even more convincing subject than what merely meets the eye. First, however, a brief synopsis of Japanese history tells that, during the earlier periods going all the way back to the Mongol invaders in the 13th century, a military hierarchy called the Shogunate was in power. The system can best be translated to Western analogies by making a connection to the feudal era of Europe. Peasants served under vassals of higher lords, and so on (Bulliet et al., 2001, p. 364). In this system, the samurai held resounding importance as the lowest-ranking members of the military caste and as governors of peasants. The significance of the social niche of the samurai cannot be fully elaborated here, but, in brevity, the role of the powerful warrior was absolutely respected by the majority of the 53

CHRYSALIS: The Murray State University Journal of Undergraduate Research population. According to Noel Perrin (1979, p. 50), author of Giving Up the Gun, “This was called myoji-taito, the privilege of surname and sword.”

turn into humanoid robots. The Microman sub-line “Microchange” featured a similar idea, but used smaller items for the alternate modes (tape decks, cameras, guns, etc).

The Shogunate system, however, was completely eliminated by internal means due to the United States Navyʼs showing up in 1853, demanding trade. The Japanese had sealed themselves off from most foreigners in the previous 200 years, and by doing so had fallen behind in the ability to make gunpowder weaponry (Perrin, 1979, p. 77). This did not take them long to remedy; during the Meiji restoration, Japan successfully and selectively modernized and westernized itself within 30 years (Bulliet et al., 2001, pp. 691-694). This leap of technological and cultural ability led to the defeat of the Chinese in 1895 and the Russians in 1905. The military advance was only quelled at the end of World War II (Bulliet et al., 2001, p. 847).

The Transformers, as they are now known, were created when the American company Hasbro contacted Takara with intention of using some of their toys for a new line. Most of those pre-existing toys were cobbled together under the name Transformers and then heavily advertised. According to Torsten Abel, the result was the creation of a highly successful brand of the 1980s (http://www. .

In the some 60 years since World War II, Japan has been once again a peaceful nation. But to where did all of the centuriesʼ worth of combative and industrious energy disappear? The answer, quite baldly put, is that it didnʼt go anywhere, but was instead transformed into the execution of a rapid economic recovery. As Stephen Cohen (1991, p.71), author of Cowboys and Samurai, states: Consensus, capitalism and the special circumstances of Japanʼs economic history collectively produced a system in which the samurai of the Tokugawa era seem to have been transformed into a new breed of managers and bureaucrats who guide modern Japanese corporations and government agencies. Large corporations can be seen as contemporary versions of the regional lords to whom so much loyalty was extended. This literal displacement of feudal warriors does not even get into the figurative representations in Japanese popular culture, such as seen in manga and anime. Shows like the Gundam series, GaoGaiGar and Go Lion (known as Voltron in the west) all revolve around giant, robotic warriors with varying degrees of violence and intensity ( And a symbiotic element to any animated fiction, or subculture thereof, is toys. What were to become the Transformers were made first by a Japanese company called Takara. Most of the toys from the original 1984 line debuted a bit earlier, usually in either Takaraʼs Diaclone or Microman (Micronauts) lines (Alvarez, 2001, p. 5). The Diaclones were fairly realistic, scaled-down real-model vehicles that could 54

The original fiction for the Transformers was composed and compiled by Marvel Comics, and the animated series was written in the U.S. while drawn in Japan and later Korea (http://www.wikipedia. org/ ; however, most of the lengthiest character development and org/) mythos development took place in the considerably longer run of the UK comic. The cover dates for the UK version span Sept. 20 1984 – Jan. 18, 1992, amassing over 300 issues. The U.S. comic finished with 80 issues ( Thus what was initiated in Japan by toys had become in only a few short years a truly multicultural phenomenon. Naturally, public interest in the toys within the U.S. waned because of sheer oversaturation, competition with other toy lines (GI Joe, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, etc.), and the advent of Nintendo. (The Japanese series continued along a slightly different path, but ended up withering by the early 1990s as well). Though the toy line nearly faded into yesteryear, it experienced a resurgence during the late nineties with the Canadian-written and Canadian-animated “Beast Wars” show, which lasted three seasons (or five if the followup Beast Machines is counted). Though never quite topping the popularity of the original series, the Hasbro-initiated and -designed Beast Wars line can easily be understood as successful even years later as it is the only Transformers toy line apart from the original to have figures re-released as commemorative reissues. Within the last few years, the creation of a sub-line called Binaltech (or Alternators outside Japan), based on real vehicles and complex transformation sequences, has made many collectors happy. Binaltech toys are something of a “back to the roots of Diaclone” line within the Transformer series. They feature die-cast metal parts, licensed car designs from major manufacturers, rubber tires and overly detailed interiors, and are once again designed in Japan ( They have also prodded

CHRYSALIS: The Murray State University Journal of Undergraduate Research me to wonder who, or what, the modern Japanese warrior is. My examination of the Binaltech line specifically indicates that the “neo-samurai” can be inferred in a variety of ways, some subtle, some not so subtle. The neo-samurai appears first on the cosmetic level. Certain elements of appearance alone are quite intimidating. Several of them do possess some aesthetic references to old-time samurai armor. The head of Tracks strongly resembles the helmet of some by-gone warrior, complete with ornamental horns (Fig. 2). Thatʼs not to say arbitrarily that since theyʼre toy robots they automatically must feature warrior designs. During the era of the Beast

planted by the pre-Transformers toys themselves: they all originally came with weapons. Shoulder missiles, swords, handguns, rifles and a variety of other weaponry were created before the toys ever had a backing fiction. In a less subtle example, the toy that was to become the original antagonistic factionʼs leader (named Megatron for the Transformers) transformed into a Walther P-38 pistol. Even though most of the pre-Transformer toys were more subtle about it, they, and almost every Transformer since, still came equipped with a warriorʼs arsenal. The supporting fiction (comics, cartoons, etc.) that was launched with the original line, and all the subsequent lines, has built upon this concept. The weapons that come with the toys have never been ornamental in the shows, and the warrior props of the foreground have universally had the backdrop of some greater factional conflict or war.

Wars series, which was designed in the U.S. by Hasbro, most of the figuresʼ heads resembled the animals used for their alternate forms, which is completely contrary to the first Japanese designs. Rampage looks like a crustacean (Fig. 3), Inferno Figure 4 looks like an ant (Fig. 4), Waspinator looks like a fly (Fig. 5), etc., so the head designs of the earlier (and later) figures that match more closely to helmets and faceplates should not be taken for granted (naturally, there are exceptions to both trends, but Figure 5 they are just that – exceptions). The motifs may be subtle homages to the Diaclone-era figures on the part of the designers, but the schemes used for some Binaltech heads are very distinctly drawn from Japanese samurai.

Though the original series was written in the U.S., the theme of giant robots annihilating each other is found in native Japanese anime that predate Transformers (see the previous examples of Gundam, etc.). The fundamental difference between Transformers and all the other series, however, comes from the American input of Marvel-anthropomorphism. In the majority of the other Japanese robot fictions, the robots themselves do not have personalities. Rather, as in the Gundam or Voltron series, they are all driven by human pilots. Even the pre-Transformer line Diaclone was based on this principle, too, since the toys came with small human drivers that could be attached by magnets. As it did not follow this trend, the Transformersʼ fiction offered something new to the Japanese audience while still maintaining the familiar theme of warriorsʼ conflict.

Figure 2

Figure 3

Other figures require more keen observation, but similarities to the imposing visages of warriors can still be found. Most of the models released so far feature some method of transformation that results in vehicle doors or rear wheels being splayed outward to enhance shoulder width (Fig. 6). It is not enough simply to turn a car into a humanoid robot; the robot also has to have a warriorʼs intimidating build. The second appearance of the neo-samurai is in the fiction associated with the toys. The Binaltech lineʼs story is an extension of that of the original Transformers, which has always been about conflict and strife between factions. The original series from the 1980s was written in the U.S., but the seed for a fiction of warriors was

This feature of having the robots combat each other has been grandfathered down all the way to the Binaltech line (Fig. 7 on p. 56). The Corvettes are all equipped with dual shoulder missiles, wrist blasters and hand-held weapons. The Mustangs sport handguns and swords. The Honda S2000s feature long barreled rifles and roofs that double as shields. Binaltechs not only look the part of warriors in terms of attire (so to speak), but they pack accordingly as well. Moreover, the pieces of the vehicles that are usually converted to weapons are the engines (six out of the eight molds released so far use this scheme), so the “warrior at heart” phrase isnʼt quite so abstract, either.

Figure 6


CHRYSALIS: The Murray State University Journal of Undergraduate Research appeal to collectors suggests a sufficiently healthy market that is not solely composed of children, who are most assuredly not easy on their toys.

Figure 7

Third, the niche that the toys themselves occupy situates them in relationship to the neo-samurai. Historically in Japan (and almost every culture for that matter), weapons were also regarded as works of art, to be admired and treasured as items of rare quality when not being used in battle (Perrin, 1979, p. 50). This is a tradition that also lasted much longer in Japan than Europe or America (Perrin, 1979, pp. 53-54). While the toys themselves are not particularly lethal, they are still dual effigies of art and war. It is perhaps not a subtle coincidence that Japanʼs toy culture remains such a blend of the two extremes. Japan was a very militaristic country in the period before the resolution of World War II, and obviously not so since then. With the abolition of the need to make weapons of war, lavishing artistic complexity on token warriors seems more practical. Murray Stateʼs Art Department Chair Dick Dougherty pointed out that, “The toy you showed me has some very sophisticated design and engineering skills involved in its making” (personal communication, Sept. 27, 2005). Thatʼs not to say Japan has a monopoly on toys. Takaraʼs partner, Hasbro, still markets the figures around the world. But there is an important distinction in the markets. Hasbroʼs versions of the toys are made completely out of plastic to keep the final retail price down, whereas Takaraʼs versions use die cast metal parts for the exteriors and therefore cost more than double the price of the foreign counterparts. This reflects either a strong consumer base within Japan that is willing to pay extra for figures with higher quality parts, or designers with more grandiose ideas than their American counterparts. Moreover, since the international versions are made of plastic, they are actually much safer to play with since there are no worries of damaging the value of the figure by chipping the paint. The fact that Takara uses higher quality (yet more easily marred) parts to 56 56

Finally, the toys can be interpreted as the modern samurai warrior from a purely financial point of view. Instead of conquering foreign peoples by the sword, they raid and plunder through their price tags (these figures some seven or eight inches tall cost around 50 U.S. dollars for those who choose to import, whereas the domestic Alternator versions retail at around $20), diffusing capital into Japanese businesses. Granted, Takara lets Hasbro handle all international marketing and distribution, but the toys themselves all lead back to Japan. If viewed through a realpolitik lens, this process seems quite obvious. Consumers trade money to buy the figures, and the situation changes in two ways: First, the buyers have fewer monetary resources at their disposal; second, tiny mock-samurai, blending artistry and technology, war and civility, invade foreign soil and slay the localsʼ wallets with crafty engineering and detail, paving the way for toy reinforcements. Overall, Japanʼs toys are a good example of a cultural transference of military aggression to commercial aggression. In the case of the Transformers Binaltechs, the diffusion of a warrior heritage into a modern consumer culture is easy to illustrate. In many different ways, the toys can be effectively interpreted this way, as cosmetic appearance, associated fictions, or even pieces of modern pop sculpture.

References Alvarez, J.E. (2001). An Unofficial Guide to Transformers: 1980s Through 1990s (2nd ed.).Atglen: Schiffer. Bulliet, R., Crossley, P., Headrick, D., Hirsch, S., Johnson, L., Northrup, D. (2001). The Earth and Its Peoples (2nd ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin. Cohen, S. (1991). Cowboys and Samurai: Why the United States Is Losing the Industrial Battle and Why It Matters. New York: Harper Business. Perrin, N. (1979). Giving Up the Gun. Boston: G.K. Hall.

CHRYSALIS: The Murray State University Journal of Undergraduate Research Murray State University URSA Office 329 Wells Hall Murray, KY 42071-3318 (270) 809-3192 Equal education and employment opportunities M/F/D, AA employer

Chrysalis 2006  

Chrysalis: The MSU Journal of Undergraduate Research