Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Leah Tyus Humanities and Social Science

Deciphering Spaces: The Mermaid and the Soul

The mermaid has been symbolic of desire and danger, beauty and monstrosity, and the human and non-human. Residing in the constant flux of paradoxes, the mermaid remains a beautiful enigma to all that encounter her. She is perceived at a distance, yet remains within close proximity because she is our reflection. As a reflection of the self, the mermaid is a product of the human imagination, reconfigured and transformed to articulate our personal reality. There is more to the mermaid that promises truth, and I hypothesize the truth is in the mermaid being a projection of the human soul. To test my hypothesis, I intend to psychoanalyze various literary texts, focusing on the figure of the mermaid and her interactions with mankind by linking the following: the symbolic depictions between land and sea, how these symbolic depictions of space attribute themselves to gender representations, and ultimately to articulate gendered spatial differences as being synonymous to the conflict between the body and soul.

Message To Sponsor

Thanks to the SURF program and the generosity of the Anselm Fund donors, I have been given an opportunity that has exceeded my expectations. The SURF program has provided me with a platform to develop myself as a literary scholar and share the inner workings of myself. The occasion by which I have been afforded enables me to actively and freely explore a topic of interest. I am truly grateful.
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Major: English
Mentor: Joseph Lavery, English
Sponsor: Anselm
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