By Arielle Feldman |
January 18, 2019
Photo Esther Reed and 1984 book cover

Technical communication student Kennedy Harkins and English alumna Ivy McKay ’17 had their research articles published in issue 10.1 of The Pegasus Review: UCF Undergraduate Research Journal. The highly selective journal, which accepts just seven articles per issue, features essays that go through a thorough editing process, with the writers receiving assistance from professors acting as mentors.

A woman and a revolution

In her essay “Esther Reed’s Political Sentiments and Rhetoric During the Revolutionary War,” Harkins compares Reed’s broadside, which urged Philadelphia women to campaign for the revolutionary war effort, to another famous, revolutionary-era literary work: Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense.” While the works had similar goals, Harkins notes the difference between Paine’s prominence in the public sphere and Reed’s in the private and the influence this distinction had.

“Kennedy did a great job juxtaposing the political rhetoric of Esther Reed and Thomas Paine,” said Dr. Mark Kamrath, English professor and Harkins’ mentor for her research paper. “It was rewarding watching her grow intellectually as a result of the dialogue and further reading, thinking and writing that occurred throughout the editing process.”

Political climate imitates art

McKay takes a different route in analysis of political rhetoric with her essay, “Donald Trump and Doublespeak: An Unsettling Precursor to the Dystopian Society of George Orwell’s 1984.” In her essay, McKay sheds light on a concerning similarity between Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and the government in Orwell’s famous dystopian novel “1984.” McKay says Trump’s self-contradictory speak mirrors the use of “doublespeak” by the government known as the Party in “1984.” McKay also discusses the possible effects of the current “Orwellian Party-like” presidential administration on the American people.

When asked what inspired her to choose the topic, McKay replied, “I’m not sure ‘inspire’ is the word I would use, since my article focuses on the current political climate of the United States, which is not exactly inspiring. As I saw blatant disregard for the truth during the 2016 presidential election, I felt that calling out the lies and lack of diplomacy was necessary. In short, it was more of an obligation than an inspiration.”

Christian Beck, English professor and McKay’s mentor, said McKay was a pleasure to work with. “She diligently incorporated suggestions and ended up producing an insightful and poignant article,” said Beck. The praise doesn’t end there; Jeff Moore, Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities, called McKay’s article “interesting, timely and thought-provoking.”

Click here to read McKay and Harkins’ articles and learn more about The Pegasus Review.

Read about more College of Arts and Humanities students who have been published in the journal.