October 2010 Archives

Assigned Text:

The Black Cat

Poe, 1843
Assigned Text:

The Yellow Wallpaper

Gilman, 1892
Bierce, 1891
In small groups, we will read aloud from the readings, and practice recording our voices.
Due Today:

Paper 1: Revision

Locate three current, peer-reviewed full-length academic articles (minimum 8 pages, published within the past 5 years) on any topic related to the works, authors, and/or themes we have studied in the course.  I encourage you to explore an issue you are thinking of writing about for your Paper 2, but you do not need to commit to any topic at this early stage.

Part 1:

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.

Part 2:

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?
Assigned Text:

How To Read Literature…

Chapters 11, 25
Assigned Text:

How To Read Literature…

Chapters 6, 21
We will do a peer-review exercise in class.
Due Today:

Paper 1: Draft

Assessing the Quality of Sources
The online pre-discussion activity asks you to find (in print or electronic form) one peer-reviewed academic article on Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. 

What is an Academic Journal?
n 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


Pages 33-42 of our Huck Finn text.
Assigned Text:

How To Read Literature…

Chapters 19, 20, and Interlude p. 185
Pages 138-242 (Chapters 15-28)
Bring your Paper 1 draft -- whatever its current state -- so that we can work on it in class.

Realism: Race

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)

Assigned Text:

From Sunup to Sundown

Pages 19-29 of our Huck Finn text (the one with ISBN 039598078X).
Respond to a literary argument.
Fall Break.
Pages 68-137 ("Notice" through Chapter 14) Update, 30 Sep:
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.
The "Presubmission" asks you to propose a thesis, and include quotations for both the "pro" and "con" sides of your paper.
Come to class ready to work on your thesis and presubmission for Paper 1.

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.
For your pre-discussion online activity, post your idea for Paper 1 by 5pm Monday (Oct 4).  I will post quick constructive feedback for every item that was posted by the deadline. (And you are welcome to follow up by email.)

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.)

The purpose of part 1 of the podcast is to introduce you to the way the Uncle Remus tales represent the African-American dialect. I suggest you listen to the podcast while looking at this web page.
Uncle Remus Podcast Part 1 -- Dialect.mp3 

Part 2 prepares you for the tales we'll be reading for class Wednesday, tales I through VIII of Nights With Uncle Remus.
Uncle Remus Podcast Part 2 -- Nights With Uncle Remus (I through VIII) .mp3

(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.)

Assigned Text:

Nights with Uncle Remus

Read tales 1 though 8 in Nights with Uncle Remus.

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.
A quick audio overview of what's due Oct 4 and Oct 6.

Weekly Update Oct 4.mp3

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