Tag Archives: Instructions

Blog Post #10 – After Dark

A few weeks ago, I asked whether you all wanted to write on anything of your own choosing or whether I should make a prompt for blog post #8 on A Small Place.  Since the class was almost evenly split between the two choices, I came up with a prompt that asked you to write about the function of the library in Kincaid’s A Small Place.

However, for your final blog post I want each student to write on whatever they want regarding Haruki Murakami’s After Dark.

As usual (and for the final time this semester) make sure to do the following:

  • Give your post a good title.
  • Add tags (keywords) to the post.
  • Posts must be at least 250 words.
  • Posts must include at least one quotation from Murakami’s text.
  • Stay focused on your point.  Avoid repeating yourself.  Remember to clarify the importance of your post.  Don’t just tell us that something is “important”; rather explain why it is important.
  • Make an argument.  Don’t summarize the text.
  • Use specific moments from After Dark to support and illustrate your argument.
  • Be sure to introduce, quote, cite, and comment on all quotations.

This response is due before class on Thursday, April 7th. Blog comments (at least 2) are due before class on Tuesday, April 12th.

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Instructions for Blog Post #8 – A Small Place

Kincaid’s focus on the library in A Small Place is an important aspect of the text.  She tells us that she read books as a small child, even stole some.  So, she personally feels some connection to the library, but there is a more important connection she makes between the library and the whole nation of Antigua.  What is the connection she is making?

How does the library act as a microcosm (and an extended metaphor and a symbol) for Antigua?  It is not simply that the library shows the never-changing, always-the-same mentality of some people on the island, but it does something more?

Think about who goes to libraries, what types of people, and how such people use the libraries.

**Do not argue that the library is simply a symbol of nothing changing for the good in Antigua.

As always:

  • Give your post a good title.
  • Add tags (keywords) to the post.
  • Posts must be at least 250 words.
  • Posts must include at least one quotation from Kincaid’s text.
  • Stay focused on answering the prompt. Avoid repeating the question and be as specific as possible in your answer.  Remember to clarify the importance of your post.  Don’t just tell us that something is “important”; rather explain why it is important.
  • Make an argument.  Don’t summarize the text.
  • Use specific moments from Atwood’s book to support and illustrate your argument.
  • Be sure to introduce, quote, cite, and comment on all quotations.

This response is due before class on Thursday, March 17th. Blog comments (at least 2) are due before class on Tuesday, March 21st.

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Instructions for Blog Post #7 – The Handmaid’s Tale, part ii

The end of Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale has a section entitled, “Historical Notes on The Handmaid’s Tale.”  In your blog post #7, write a post responding to the “Historical notes on The Handmaid’s Tale.”

What do you make of this section of the book?  How does this challenge the rest of the book (the previous nearly 300 pages)?  What is the function of having THIS ending (i.e., the historical notes)?  What would the text be like had Atwood omitted the historical notes?

The usual list of criteria is below:

  • Give your post a good title.
  • Add tags (keywords) to the post.
  • Posts must be at least 250 words.
  • Posts must include at least one quotation from Atwood’s text.
  • Stay focused on answering the prompt. Avoid repeating the question and be as specific as possible in your answer.  Remember to clarify the importance of your post.  Don’t just tell us that something is “important”; rather explain why it is important.
  • Make an argument.  Don’t summarize the text.
  • Use specific moments from Atwood’s book to support and illustrate your argument.
  • Be sure to introduce, quote, cite, and comment on all quotations.

This response is due before class on Tuesday, March 1st. Blog comments (at least 2) are due before class on Thursday, March 3rd.

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Instructions for Blog Post #5 – Kafka

This week we’re reading two short stories from Franz Kafka, “In the Penal Colony” and “A Hunger Artist.”  For your blog post #5, I would like you to respond to one of the following four prompts.

  1. Besides simply being an old, worn-out apparatus, what is the reason, do you think, for the machine or apparatus breaking apart in “In the Penal Colony”?
  2. How do you read the officer from the story “In the Penal Colony”?  Is he the bad guy, the good guy, or neither?  Is he a zealot, a victim of circumstance, or a pitiable character?
  3. According to each story, the hunger artist as well as the executions performed by the apparatus on the penal colony had huge crowds.  People would come to watch the execution or the hunger artist all day.  Now, no one watches the executions nor the hunger artist because the hunger artist’s art and the execution are, simply, no longer valued.  Why do you think there has been such a change?
  4. How would you read these stories if the genders were different?  What if the explorer or the condemned were a woman in “In the Penal Colony”?  Or if the artist in “A Hunger Artist” were a woman?

As usual make sure to do the following:

  • Give your post a good title.
  • Add tags (keywords) to the post.
  • Posts must be at least 250 words.
  • Posts must include at least one quotation from the Kafka texts.
  • Stay focused on answering the prompt question you choose. Avoid repeating the question and be as specific as possible in your answer.  Remember to clarify the importance of your post.  Don’t just tell us that something is “important”; rather explain why it is important.
  • Make an argument.  Don’t summarize the text.
  • Use specific moments from Kafka’s short stories to support and illustrate your argument.
  • Be sure to introduce, quote, cite, and comment on all quotations.

This response is due before class on Tuesday, February 15th. Blog comments (at least 2) are due before class on Thursday, February 17th.

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Instructions for Blog #4 – The Island of Doctor Moreau

H.G. Wells’ The Island of Doctor Moreau could be categorized into many genres: Victorian, science fiction, satire, dystopia, Gothic, adventure novel, or even scientific discourse.  How does reading Moreau differ when you read it as one of these genres over the others?  Does Prendick’s actions (or the tale itself) make more sense if you think of it as a Victorian text or as a Gothic text?  Science fiction? Satire?  How does genre play in this story.

In your post #4 on Moreau, choose a “genre” that you believe Moreau fits, and then defend that choice with textual evidence and analysis, i.e., use quotations from the text (citing them, of course) and analyze those quotations to prove your choice.

Think about our class discussion regarding plays, adventure novels, and fairy tales.  What was difference between the plays, The Tempest and An Enemy of the People, and the novel Robinson Crusoe (and perhaps the novella The Death of Ivan Ilych)?  What was the difference between the plays and the fairy tales we read, especially when you think about the fairy tales being a text “written down” and a text “told” or performed?

As usual make sure to do the following:

  • Give your post a good title.
  • Add tags (keywords) to the post.
  • Posts must be at least 250 words.
  • Posts must include at least one quotation from The Island of Doctor Moreau.
  • Stay focused on answering the prompt question above. Avoid repeating the question and be as specific as possible in your answer.  Remember to clarify the importance of your post.  Don’t just tell us that something is “important”; rather explain why it is important.
  • Make an argument.  Don’t summarize the text.
  • Use specific moments from Moreau (or other texts if applicable) to support and illustrate your argument.
  • Be sure to introduce, quote, cite, and comment on all quotations.

This response is due before class on Tuesday, February 8th. Blog comments (at least 2) are due before class on Thursday, February 10th.

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Instructions for Blog #3 – An Enemy of the People

Sorry for these instructions being posted later than normal.

By Tuesday (2/1/11), we will all have finished An Enemy of the People.  This play has so much in it!  It’s about the “liberal-minded independent press” and the “compact majority.”  It’s about individual rights (what rights each of us has as citizens); it’s about government, environmentalism, business, capitalism.  It’s about being ostracized in a community (i.e., being alienated or estranged).  What do you think this play is mostly about?

For blog post #3, write a post that answers the following question: What it is An Enemy of the People about, according to you?

Questions that might help get you thinking:  What, in your opinion, ultimately leads to the problems in the town and their baths?  Is it the business aims of the tourist industry (competition with other spa towns), or is it the business aims pertaining to the tanneries?  Is it democracy, namely the ability to vote in people like Peter Stockmann as director/mayor?  Or is it something else?  Do any of the characters act immorally or unethically?  Would you have done things differently if you were Peter, Thomas, or someone else?

As usual, your posts should follow these requirements:

  • Give your post a good title.
  • Add tags (keywords) to the post.
  • Posts must be at least 250 words.
  • Posts must include at least one quotation from Ibsen’s play.
  • Stay focused on answering one of the prompt questions above. Avoid repeating the question and be as specific as possible in your answer.  Remember to clarify the importance of your post.  Don’t just tell us that something is “important”; rather explain why it is important.
  • Make an argument.  Don’t summarize the text.
  • Use specific moments from Ibsen’s play (or other texts if applicable) to support and illustrate your argument.
  • Be sure to introduce, quote, cite, and comment on all quotations.

This response is due before class on Tuesday, February 1st. Blog comments (at least 2) are due before class on Thursday, February 3rd.

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Instructions for Blog Post#1

Last week, we read Shakespeare’s The Tempest, and we brought up some key issues about racism, class, colonialism/imperialism, violence, and even government, as well as metaphors for the island: the island as… (according to Shelby’s Discussion Leading) a vehicle for separation, a vehicle for conflict, and a vehicle for questioning.

We also talked about how the island functions as a smaller version of a country.  For example, there are no actual indigenous people on the island.  Sycorax, whom we never meet and is often thought a “native of the island,” and Caliban are actually emigrants in exile from Algiers, and so are Prospero and Miranda emigrants from Milan.  The rest of the cast is either from Naples or Milan, too.  Yet on this island of  populated by 15 people, we clearly see an upper class of royalty, numbering 6, and the other 9 people are either servants, counsellors, or slaves.  A question to think about is “how does separation or estrangement/alienation play a role in light of their situation?”

In this week’s reading of Robinson Crusoe, I want you to think about some of these themes–separation, slavery, government, violence, colonialism, and any others you might be interested in.  What values do the characters from Robinson Crusoe (or the text itself) share with The Tempest?  What’s similar between these two texts?  What’s dissimilar or completely different?

In your blog post, you should focus on only 1 or 2 of those themes (also known as tropes), and give a detailed analysis of the connections between the two texts, however focusing primarily on Robinson Crusoe.

Your posts should follow these requirements:

  • Posts must be at least 250 words.
  • Posts must include at least one quotation from Robinson Crusoe, though you may quote more from the text (and also from The Tempest, but your one required quotation can’t be from The Tempest).
  • Stay focused on answering the prompt question above. Avoid repeating the question and be as specific as possible in your answer.  Remember to clarify the importance of your post.  Don’t just tell us that separation is an “important” trope; rather explain why, with textual evidence and logical thinking, separation is important.
  • Your response should make an argument, not summarize the text.  In this case, your post should link a connection between The Tempest and Robinson Crusoe.
  • Use specific moments from Robinson Crusoe to support and illustrate your argument.
  • Be sure to introduce, quote, cite, and comment on all quotations.  For example, don’t just quote a passage from Robinson Crusoe and hope that your readers understand what you mean by using that specific quotation.  Introduce the quotation (e.g., “This passage occurs when the main character goes to the neighboring island…”), cite the text using MLA style, i.e., author’s last name and page number (e.g., Defoe 22), and finally explaining why the quotation proves your point (e.g., “We can see in the text that Crusoe’s reaction constitutes a racist way of thinking…”).

This response is due before class on Tuesday, January 18th. Blog comments (at least 2) are due before class on Thursday, January 20th.

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Welcome to our class’ blog!

Hi all!

This is the course blog for our LIT 2120, section 3616, for Spring 2011.  Through this blog, you will be doing a minimum of two things:

  1. responding to questions I pose for our readings throughout the semester, and
  2. you will also be commenting on your fellow students’ responses.

In order for us to have successful class discussions, you need to be prepared to discuss the material fully, to think about it acutely, and — most importantly — to talk about it clearly.  Thus, our course blog is a space where you can form your analyses, questions, and thoughts about the readings.  Not only will you be posting about, say, Shakespeare’s The Tempest, but you’ll also be reading and responding to other students’ thoughts about The Tempest or Kafka’s “In The Penal Colony” or some classic fairy tales.  This blog will be a place to write about both how you felt about a piece of literature but, more importantly, what you thought about it.

Finally, if you haven’t already, you need to sign up for a WordPress.com account — don’t create your own blog since you will be posting on this one. Instead, sign up for an account only. Note the e-mail address you use to sign up, as I will need it to add you as a contributor to this blog.

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