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Magic Essay, Research Paper

Doing this research paper didn t really help me find anything extraordinary about the word magic. I pretty much knew what the word magic meant, from the comic books I read and the television I watch. It did however, make me view the word in more depth. Don t get me wrong, I m not implying in any way that the word magic, is dull, because it is just the opposite. I m simply stating that because of my fascination with the subject of magic, I am already familiar with its background and capabilities. I chose the word magic because the concept of any human being possessing unexplainable, supernatural powers intrigues me to the point where I wish I had been endowed with those powers. If I had to choose a favorite; I would have to go with the two poems I obtained from the Concordance to Shakespeare and the Granger s Index to Poetry. It all started when we received our word list. I looked for a word that I interested me, and that I thought would be easy to find information on. I guess, for the most part I was right. All the references available in our school library were pretty easy to find; such as the Roget s Thesaurus, the Unabridged Dictionary, and surprisingly the Book of Quotations and the Concordance to the Bible. On one day there, at the St. Paul library four were down and there were four to go, which wasn t too shabby for the first day. I figured I was doing well getting half of my list taken care of before Christmas vacation, and then during vacation I would finish the job.

Well as any normal teenager would agree the plan of doing work during vacation vanished as soon the final bell rang to start vacation. On the first day back to school I took a trip to a local library near my house. I already knew that I wouldn t find everything that I needed, but I checked it out any ways. I was only able to find the Oxford English Dictionary, but luckily I bumped into my wonderful English teacher Ms. Frausto who informed me that the Uptown Whittier Library would have the sufficient amount of information I needed to complete my research. In deed, my very wise mentor was right. I did find the rest of the items I was in search of, which were a periodical, a poem, and an excerpt from a Shakespeare play. It may have taken two hours of pen biting, flipping page after page, making copies, and looking up call numbers, but I did it. I definitely worked the hardest I ve ever worked in a library working on this research paper, and I lost all my patience in the process.

The first reference I found was the Second Edition Book of Quotations published by the Oxford University. On page 366 I found the quote, There s a magic in the distance, where sea line meets the sky, by Alfred Noyes. Now, I m not too sure what the quote means, but it sounded agreeable, so I stuck with it. Before this class I had never heard of a book of quotations so my school librarian assisted me in finding it.

The next item I went for in our school library was the Third Edition Webster s New International Dictionary, by Merriam Webster. This was easy to find because of its enormity. Lucky for me my word was only on page 1358, so I didn t have to flip through to many pages. The basic definition of the word magic is: the use of means that are believed to have supernatural power to cause a particular result, considered not obtainable by natural means. Can you believe that is only one sentence of the four to five paragraph definition. It is a good thing the most generous Ms. Frausto didn t make write the definition. The only difficulty I had with the dictionary was taking that huge book to the copy machine.

The next thing I looked for in the St. Paul library was the Thompson and Stock Concordance to the Bible. I didn t even have to look for it, just borrowed it from one of my peers who already had it. On page 1034 it said my word was located in the Book of Wisdom chapter 17, verse 7. The excerpt read, A mockery, now, seemed those magic arts of theirs; ignominious the rebuff to their boasted cunning. I read the whole passage and I thinking it was talking about the prisoners in Egypt. The concordance to bible wasn t even difficult to use.

The last reference available in our school library was the Fifth Edition Roget s International Thesaurus, by Robert L. Chapman. Thanks to my helpful peers this was also easy to get to hold of. I think this was probably the next easiest reference to use next to the unabridged dictionary. I found my word on page 464. Some of the synonyms for the word magic are sorcery, wizardry, witchcraft, voodooism, shamanism, enchantment, and spellcraft. I liked looking at all the different words for magic. Some were funny looking words, like, jujuism, obeahism, wanga, hoodoo, and fetishism. I like looking at Thesauruses to see all the bizarre words there are for everyday normal words.

My next reference was the Oxford English Dictionary volume 6, by the Oxford University. For this book I had to go to I went to a small public library near my home. This reference gave me access to the word magic s origin and another more in depth definition, which I found on page 24 and 25. I wasn t able to read the information on the copy I made or even in the book because the word was right in the middle of the two pages. When I finally got a descent copy of it, I still could only read half of it because there was a big black streak going down the middle of the page. I just want to make it clear that it took me a good 45 cents to make that copy.

After the OED my friend handed me the Tenth Edition Columbia Granger s Index to Poetry. On page 2044 the index showed me different authors that wrote poems about magic. I searched the computer to find a poem book on magic, and I found a book called Poems of Magic and Spells, edited by William Cole. This book had an ample amount of poems about magic, but I wanted to find the one by John Greenleaf Whittier that the Granger s showed me earlier. The poem was called The Brown Dwarf of Rugen. This poem was about a little girl being kidnapped by trolls and taken to their underworld to be a slave. Then after years her betrothed husband went down and rescued her. This is an excerpt where my word appears.

He watched among the Nine Hills, he heard the Brown Dwarfs sing,

And saw them dance by moonlight merrily in a ring.

And when their gay-robed leader tossed up his cap of red,

Young Deitrich caught it as it fell, and thrust it on his head.

The troll came crouching at his feet and wept for lack of it.

Oh, give me back my magic cap, for your great head unfit.

Even though it was sort of a children s poem I still enjoyed the story it told.

Probably the most difficult thing for me to read was the Harvard Concordance to Shakespeare by Marvin Spevak. Now a lot of the books that I found relating to Shakespeare s plays did not have numbers of verses so I couldn t find the concordance was telling me. Luckily the Magic Poems of and Spells had an excerpt from William Shakespeare s Macbeth, act 4, scene 1, which was related to magic. This poem or excerpt was a sort of recipe or spell used by witches and warlocks. I kind of liked this, because it was kind of humorous reading the ingredients. Here is a little taste of it.

Witch: Fillet of a fenny snake,

In the caldron boil and bake:

Eye of newt, and toe of frog,

Wool of bat, and tongue of dog;

Adder s fork, and blind-worm s sting,

Lizard s leg, and howlet s wing:

For a charm of powerful trouble,

Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

When I saw this poem I knew it was perfect for my word, and that is why I chose it.

The last and most difficult reference for me to find was the newspaper or periodical. When I first chose this word I thought this would be one of the easier things to find. I thought to myself, all I have to do is find some kind of magic magazine. To my disappointment, according to the library they don t exist. I looked in the reader s guide to periodical literature. The word magic was there, but there were no magazines for it. What I did say was to look under Siegfried and Roy and David Copperfield. Luckily both Las Vegas entertainers were in the same Forbes magazine, Sept. 21 1998, under Top 40 entertainers. All these articles talked about were how much money they make, and how they make it. This wasn t what I was looking for, but it was the best I could find.

This research paper was definitely a new experience. Last year we did a research paper on a subject, but not just on a word. During this paper I learned about references I had never even heard of in my entire life. When I told my friends about this paper, they all said about the same thing. How are you going to write more than five pages on one word. I told them about all the references I had to use, and they all looked at me as if I was talking another language, because they had never heard of those types of books either. Even though this project was very time consuming it was pretty fun learning how to use these new reference books and brushing up on my library skills. Most of the things were easy to find, but the concordance to Shakespeare and the periodical were very frustrating, because for awhile I couldn t find anything. The yellow handout was very helpful in keeping myself organized. I followed it step by step, which made the actual writing of the paper much easier than I expected.


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