The University of Texas at Austin
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Cody Lee

Cody Lee

Cody’s undergraduate research topic is Nature, Divinity, and Ecology in Cormac McCarthy’s The Crossing.

“I think people underestimate how much research good fiction writers, such as [Cormac] McCarthy, actually do.”

Faculty Supervisors: Dr. Don Graham and Dr. Heather Houser, English

Briefly describe your research project.

I discuss the ways in which Cormac McCarthy places a spiritual and moral importance on ecological processes to assert a state of naturalness as divine in The Crossing. Much of my project is concerned with the figure of the wolf in the novel and its relationship to the protagonist.

How has participating in research affected your undergraduate experience?

It has enriched it tremendously. Working closely with professors and the extensive research itself is something I wouldn’t have done otherwise. Apart from making me more disciplined, it has also instilled a sense of confidence and accomplishment in me. It provided me a way to channel my passion for writing and literature.

What surprised you during the research process?

While at times arduous, it was really an enjoyable experience and incredibly rewarding.

Do you think getting involved in research will be helpful to you in the future? If so, how?

Absolutely. I am seriously considering graduate school, and this experience gives me an advantage. It will also help with any creative projects I wish to pursue. I think people underestimate how much research good fiction writers, such as McCarthy, actually do.

What advice would you give to incoming and current students about getting involved in research?

Do it, but make sure you choose a project you are passionate about. That sounds trite, but it is really important to do it because you care about the project, not to fill a requirement or boost your résumé. The process will be far more rewarding and the final work will be more valuable that way.

Research Week showcases the exciting work of undergraduates across campus and highlights opportunities for students interested in getting involved. Co-sponsored by the Senate of College Councils and the School of Undergraduate Studies, Research Week takes place April 15-19 this year. Take a look at the online schedule of events to find out more about Research Week events. To celebrate undergraduate research and creative activity, we’re highlighting five profiles of student researchers.