All posts for the month April, 2010

The weblog self-critique is due on the last day of our class (see our syllabus and the form in Blackboard for more details about this assignment).

As I mentioned in class, after our last day of class I will be examining your sites as a whole, especially the list of links and the explanations of those links, your overall theme and its execution, and your Stockton Arts reaction paper. You can look at my link: “A-Z Literature Links” as a model for what the list of links aspect of your blog should look like.

I am continuing to think and rethink how the blogs might be incorporated into future LitMeth classes. I hope that you will respond here with any suggestions that you have about this assignment. Our goal is to increase your technological literacy; let me know if you have other assignment suggestions or reasons to keep this particular one.

Good luck with your final papers and exams!

Hard to believe we are closing in on the final days/daze of the semester! I’ve continued to enjoy our conversations about drama this past week. I am impressed with how each of you push yourself and each other to make connections and experiment with the reading. I especially like how we have had a chance this week to dig into this drama for a few days and uncover many different entry points into it. Did you enjoy this aspect as well? Or, do you feel we have read the drama: end of story?

Speaking of the end . . . Have you thought much about your analysis paper, yet? I’m excited to see what connections you find and readings you explore.

In closing, I can think of no better profession than to share the love of books: whether you will do this formally (as a teacher, for example) or informally (maybe by participating in a book club or adding a review to, the skills you will continue to strengthen and gain over your remaining time at Stockton will serve you well and in a variety of situations.

So, with that in mind: It is never too early to think about what you will do with the LITT degree. You might check out this site if you are looking for ideas:

Here are some thesis statements we will revise in class this week.

Select one of the following thesis statements and revise it so that it better fits the Analysis Paper Assignment:

1) The piano has several symbolic meanings in The Piano Lesson.

2) The Piano Lesson is about family history.

3) Berniece desires to keep the piano because she wants to preserve family history.

4) The Piano Lesson does not follow all three “classical unities” (time, place, and action); nevertheless, it is a great play.

5) Grace serves as a foil to Berniece’s character.

6) The Piano Lesson is a unique play because of its characterization and symbolism.

I very much enjoyed introducing the analysis paper this week: this is the type of critical thinking that many, if not all, of your papers in the Literature program will ask you to produce.

If you are interested in some web sources that can give you a “quick and dirty” definition of some of the various schools of literary criticism we’ve been studying this semester, here are two interesting sites:

These sites are fun . . . not substitutes for our Bressler text, the Bedford guide, or other peer-reviewed texts, but good places to see and browse through the different schools in one spot. You might browse through and write about some of your findings in one of your blogs. Or, try out one of these “hats” or “glasses” from your ever-growing toolbox: attempt, for example, a feminist or Marxist reading of one of the texts we’ve read or on The Piano Lesson.

Remember, your previous papers (especially the poetry and fiction close reading papers) would be considered part of the “Formalist School,” part of the New Criticism movement that hit the literary scene in the 1940s and 1950s. This “old school” method still forms the foundation of your literary analysis for the last paper. The analysis paper asks you build from this foundation to craft an argument about the text’s literary, cultural, or historical significance.

I’m always happy to chat with students at any stage in the writing process. Drop by my office hours over the next couple of weeks if you would like to talk about your approach to the analysis paper.

We’ve been focusing a lot on conventions in this class: in other words, what are the tools and methods used in the field of literary study.

Have you mastered these conventions yet?

Citation 101
If not all of the kinks were ironed out in the poetry and fiction paper, I encourage you to browse the following pages in the Norton (note: the Norton does not have the 2009 MLA updates for your Works Cited page.)

Titles (page 1128 )
Poetry Citation–Format (1163; 1170; 1180)

Still have questions? Drop by my office or ask at the Writing Center.

Citation 201
What’s the next step? How do you cite short fiction? Again, the Norton offers some help if you aren’t near your MLA Handbook. (note: the Norton does not have the 2009 MLA updates for your Works Cited page.)

Parenthetical Citation (in-text citation) (1168-1172)
Effective Quotation/Introduce Quotations (1161-1168 )

This last element is something that we have not had a chance to talk about in class. We will talk about it soon. In the meantime, read the passage on “Effective Quotation” from the Norton and think about the following:

Another key skill to develop and get in the habit of always doing in all of your papers is the introduction of quotations. Don’t let quotations stand alone. Why? Well, for starters, introducing quotations sharpens your close reading by literally connecting the quotation with your analysis.

There are two ways to understand the loss of Faith in the story.
“ ‘My Faith is gone!’ ” (Hawthorne 201). She is both Goodman Brown’s wife and an embodiment of religious faith.

There are two ways to understand the loss of Faith in the story:
“ ‘My Faith is gone!’ ” (Hawthorne 201). She is Goodman Brown’s wife and an embodiment of religious faith.

There are two ways to understand the loss of Faith in the story. For example, the line “ ‘My Faith is gone!’ ” can be understood as the literal disappearance of Goodman Brown’s wife (Hawthorne 201). We can also read this line as the loss of his religious faith, which his wife embodies.

That quotation does not support every claim made above. More evidence is needed, for example, to prove Faith is an embodiment of religious faith. However, the last example most clearly connects the quoted passage with the analysis by integrating it into the paragraph. The quotation fits into the sentence (doesn’t create an incorrect sentence) and helps the reader see that “Faith” is both a proper name and an allegorical figure.