Williams Baptist University English Students Present Research at Conference

Three Williams Baptist University students represented WBU at the international conference of Sigma Tau Delta, English honor society. The conference was held at St. Louis in March.  Bethany Jaques, Melanie McKuin and Warner West were invited individually to present research completed for their courses at Williams.

Three college students stand in front of a wall.

West (left in photo), a senior from Walnut Ridge, Ark., presented a paper titled, “Vampirism as a Metaphor for Sin in Stevenson’s ‘Ollala.’” Based on his research of gothic literary vampires, West argued that the condition of Robert Louis Stevenson’s characters in this short story should be viewed as a metaphor for the total depravity caused by sin.

Following graduation in May, West will attend graduate school at the University of Oklahoma on a full assistantship, to pursue both a master’s degree in English and a master’s in Library Science.

Jaques (center), a senior from Jacksonville, Ark., read her paper, “Beyond Duality in ‘Markheim.’” Her paper examined the work of Robert Louis Stevenson through a Calvinist lens. Her argument centered on examining the main character, who changes from an unrepentant sinner to follow the irresistible grace offered by a Christ-figure.

Once she completes her studies at WBU, Jaques plans to attend graduate school and pursue a career in academia.

McKuin (right), a junior from Dexter, Mo., presented “Battling Grief: Sethe Edition,” which analyzes Toni Morrison’s novel, Beloved. McKuin’s argument illustrated how the character of Sethe moves through Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’s five stages of grief to heal from the death of one of her children.

McKuin plans to attend law school to study family and juvenile law after she graduates from WBU.

All three students are English majors and members of the WBU chapter of Sigma Tau Delta. Currently, McKuin is the chapter’s president, and Jaques serves as its vice president. While attending the conference, McKuin represented the chapter at the annual business meeting, and Jaques moderated a panel of her peers presenting their work.

The Department of English at Williams offers majors in English and secondary English education.

WBU is a private, Christian university in Walnut Ridge.