Due: Monday, November 16
Length: 10-15 pages
2 critical articles on the literary piece or specific topic you choose
MLA paper format and MLA documentation (www. purdueowl.edu)
For this assignment, choose one of the topics below or create your own topic and get my approval for it at least 2 weeks before the due date. The goal is to analyze a text or texts, not to summarize them. You will want to use specific passages from the text(s) you are analyzing to support your thesis as well as use the critical articles you choose to help you do this.
Critical articles in literature focus on current discussions about specific works, writers or literary theory. They analyze a specific text or texts or provide literary theory that can be applied to your analysis of a text (s). Use these as you would use evidence in any type of research paper to help you support your thesis idea. Alternatively, you can argue against someone else?s interpretation of a text (one you find in an article). Biographical information, brief book or article reviews or summaries are not critical essays that analyze literature. You can certainly use sources that provide background information, but they will not count as one of your two critical sources. Use these as you would use evidence in any type of research paper to help you support your thesis idea.
Critical articles on literature can most easily be found via the library site. Project Muse is a database that includes many journals that will contain critical articles. Using Google Scholar or the Quick Search box on the library home page can also be useful. If you need help finding critical articles, ask a reference librarian for help.
You can find some examples of effective student papers on our web site that include one or more critical articles to help you see some how this works. These appear at the bottom of Week 6. You can always ask general questions about the paper assignment in class or make an appointment to talk to me about your topic, research, etc. I?m happy to help you in any way I can.
Begin by choosing an early 20th century women writer. There is a good list at this site: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norton_Anthology_of_Literature_by_Women
Each writer has an active link that will take you to a biography and a list of her works. Some of the works during this time period can be accessed on-line. For others, you will need to go to the library or order books on-line. Do this early since research always takes longer than you think it will. Next, choose one of the essay options below or create your own and get my approval 2 weeks in advance.
1. Choose a text or texts and discuss what makes it/them ?Modern.? Since we have already discussed this at length about the texts on our syllabus, choose one we have not talked about or one that appears after March 10 on our syllabus. Using the DeShazer chapter on ?Literary Modernism? and our discussion of it, clearly reveal what makes the text(s) you?ve chosen a modern text(s). Consider form and content and how they relate to modernist tenants.
Some questions to consider: Does the work conform to modernist ideas about writing? Or does it/do they conform in some ways and not others? If the latter is the case, consider why the writer has chosen the form and content she has. What can she say this way that she could not say with a different form and or content?
2. Choose two or three texts and reveal how they work together to provide a more complex understanding of a topic, genre, group of writers, etc. For example, you could use ?Trifles? and another play by one of the women who was part of the Provincetown Players. Then you could reveal your insights about what they say together about women during the time period, about the topics the Provincetown Players engaged, etc. You could use a comparison/contrast organization.
3. Explore the relationship between one of the works we?ve read and the group of writers and artists that the author was involved with, e.g., the Provincetown Players, the Bloomsbury Group, the Paris expatriates, or those who were part of the Harlem Renaissance.
Some questions to consider: How do the intellectual interests of the group appear in the creative piece? Or does the writer push against the general interests of the group in some way? Why is this significant? How does this perhaps change the way literary historians have/still characterized the group? For example, has the group been defined in terms of male interests and experience so that accounting for female experience would alter the way we have traditionally viewed the group interests and aesthetics?
4. Choose a work that engages a topic that was relevant during the time period, 1900-1945. Find other ?texts? that deal with the topic. These texts could be visual (magazine ads, war posters, movies, etc.); they could be from intellectual magazines or popular magazines of the time such as The Crisis, The Masses, The Liberator, Women?s Home Companion, McCalls (the first three are intellectual journals, the second two are popular women?s magazines from the period) newspaper articles, etc.
Show how the literary text deals with the topic in a similar or different way than another or other texts from the time period. Some topic ideas: women?s sexuality, gender and race issues (views popular at the time about African Americans and women, e.g.), women and work, the New Woman, women as writers or artists. These are just a few of the many topics you could focus on.
Some questions to consider: Was the writer pushing against popular ideas of the time? Challenging them? Conforming to them? Creating a forward-looking ideal or an unrealistic view? Conforming in some ways and not in others? What does this juxtaposition of texts tell you about the role of the literary text? About the difference in widely held views and those of a particular writer? Finally, why is this important?