October 2010 Archives
For each article:
a) State the author's thesis (the main idea, the debatable claim that makes the essay worth reading).
b) Include a brief quote that you found challenging, surprising, enlightening, or troubling.
c) Include full citation in MLA format.
State your understanding of the purpose of academic research. (Why does writing a college research paper involve starting with the library database, rather than using something you can find more easily on Spark Notes or Wikipedia?) Of what value is academic research to you, a student in a 200-level literature course?
What is an Academic Journal?
An academic journal publishes scholarly, peer-reviewed articles written by experts. The function of a journal is to distribute knowledge, not to make money for the publishers
1) Find a credible academic article
2) Read it
3) Blog your reaction (How did it expand your understanding of the work?)
4) On your blog, include a full MLA style bibliography citation
5) Post a link from this page to your blog entry
If you have been keeping up with your blogging, this should only
take you a short while to compile. If you've fallen behind, this
assignment is a chance for you to catch up.
Now that we have been blogging for some time, I am asking you to start thinking reflectively and critically about how the ideas you have expressed in your blog have affected your learning. As part of that process, this portfolio asks you to sort your blogging into certain categories. This exercise will help you identify areas you can target for improvement in the future.
Your blogging portfolio is not just a list. It is a claim about what you have learned so far, backed up with the blog entries you have written.
While this sample student blog portfolio does not follow the exact outline I've given you, it will give you the general idea: Chris D.Full Details (and Rubric)
The ISBN of the book we are using is version we are using is 039598078X
There are many other editions of Huck Finn, but only this one has the scholarly articles and background reading that makes up part of the assigned reading for the course.
Paper 1 is a 3-4 page paper literary close reading, formatted in MLA Style -- the same thing as the paragraphs we've been working on so far, only more in-depth.
Keep your focus narrow. Avoid extreme terms like "best" or "never" or "all." You don't have to prove that Chillingworth is the worst villain ever written; you can just claim that "Because Chillingworth's cold villainy contrasts with the warmer, more passionate flaws of Hester and Dimmesdale, [your claim goes here]."
Things to bear in mind:
- If you do compare more than one work, integrate your discussion of both works. That is,
- Rather than write two short mini-papers (such as, for example, one on The Scarlet Letter and one on Bartleby, the Scrivener)...
- ...write about themes that appear in both works (such as a moral viewpoint, the depiction of isolation, and the function of the prison).
- Your best idea might not be your first. (This means you may need to cut the first few paragraphs, or even the first few pages, to make room to do justice to the best ideas, that may only occur to you after you've spent some time -- and maybe a few hundred words -- working a problem out).
- A workshop is a time to take risks, to be bold, to stretch yourself -- but be sure you can support your claims with direct quotations from the text.
Things to think about:
Are you starting with the text, and then using it to support the meaning that you find in a specific passage? (Good!)
Are you starting with an interpretation, and looking for text to support what you already believe? (Not so good!)
Remember your thesis should be about the work, rather than about "people" or "love" or "dreams."
- People can be closed-minded. One example of closed-minded people are the Puritans in The Scarlet Letter.
(This is a claim about "people," not about The Scarlet Letter.)
- Hawthorne uses the flaws of the Puritan community in The Scarlet Letter in order to [do what?]
(The first part is an observation; to make it a paper topic, you would need a claim that's complex enough that it's worth defending.)
- Just as the flaws of the Puritan community make Hester into an admirable character, the flaws of Hester as a mother (as Hawthorne describes them) provide Pearl with the independence, strength, and sensitivity that prepare her for her role as a new Romantic heroine.
(This thesis is about the work, not about the Puritan faith, "people," or "motherhood." You can see what structure the paper would take -- one brief section on how Hester is shaped by the Puritan community, another brief section on Hester's weaknesses as a mother, and then longer sections on independence, strength, and sensitivity, and a conclusion that argues Pearl is a romantic heroine.)
Part 2 prepares you for the tales we'll be reading for class Wednesday, tales I through VIII of Nights With Uncle Remus.
(There are two podcasts, but I am treating them as a single assigned text. You don't need to respond to both separately.)
Text to go along with Part 1 (there is no separate text file to go along with Part 2 of the podcast -- for that, refer to Nights with Uncle Remus itself.)
I'm most interested in what you have to say about stories 5 through 8, since I say less about them during the podcast. But you are welcome to chose your quote from any of those stories.
As with all assigned texts, remember to blog a brief quotation, post a link from the course website to your blog, and post 2-4 comments. Your blog portfolio assignment will also give you the opportunity to show evidence that you can also link from your entry to the course website, to your peers, and to relevant material you find online. The bare minimum, however, asks simply for a brief quotation and a statement of what you would talk about if called on during class.