Week1 | Literature homework help

Discussion 1 

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Describe your personal relationship to literature and to reading. Begin by considering the meaning of literature. What does the term literature mean to you? What makes something literary in your own mind? If literature means different things to different people, who defines what is and what is not literature?

 

Next, reflect on your relationship to reading and literature. What kind of reading engages/interests you? What about that writing draws you in? Do you find meaning in reading certain writing? If so, describe the satisfaction you draw from this process. Also consider how you read. Do you, for example, take notes or mark text as you read, or do you simply absorb the material on a page?

There are no right or wrong answers to your response. This discussion is an opportunity to reflect on what literature is to you, as well as to consider the many meanings that literature may have for others in the class. 

Initial posts must be 200 to 300 words in length and posted by Day 3. Respond to at least two of your classmates’ posts. In your response, indicate what you have learned from your classmates’ answers and share how their responses have improved your understanding of the importance of editing as you  work through your final drafts this week. Be specific in your responses. Response posts must be 125 to 200 words in length and posted by Day 7.

 

Discussion 2

 Review the key literary terms and concepts presented throughout Chapters 1 and 2. (See the end of each chapter for a glossary of terms.) Choose at least four of these terms to discuss in your post. Then, find examples of these concepts in the readings from this week. Explain how these examples demonstrate each literary concept as well as the effect which the given technique or form has on a reading of the respective text.

Initial posts must be 200 to 300 words in length and posted by Day 3. Respond to at least two of your classmates’ posts. In your response, indicate what you have learned from your classmates’ answers and share how their responses have improved your understanding of the importance of editing as you work through your final drafts this week. Be specific in your responses. Response posts must be 125 to 200 words in length and posted by Day 7. 

 

 Assignment 

In two to four double-spaced pages (excluding title and reference page), analyze one of the literary works from this week’s readings, by completing the following:

  • Explain why the literary work captured your interest, using terms and concepts from the text to support your explanation.
  • Describe one of the analytical approaches outlined in Chapter 16, using details from the text to support your interpretations.
  • Evaluate the meaning of the selected literary work, using the analytical approach you described.
Your paper should be organized around a thesis statement about the selected literary work and the approach you are using to analyze the work. All sources must be properly cited. The paper must include a separate title and reference page, and be formatted to APA (6th edition) style. 

The paper must be two to four pages in length (excluding the title and reference page), and formatted according to APA style. You must use at least two scholarly resources (at least one of which can be found in the Ashford Online Library) other than the textbook to support your claims and subclaims. Cite your resources in text and on the reference page. For information regarding APA samples and tutorials, visit the Ashford Writing Center, within the Learning Resources tab on the left navigation toolbar, in your online course.

Carefully review the Grading Rubric for the criteria that will be used to evaluate your assignment

 

 

Review the key literary terms and concepts presented throughout Chapters 1 and 2. (See the end of each chapter for a glossary of terms.) Choose at least four of these terms to discuss in your post. Then, find examples of these concepts in the readings from this week. Explain how these examples demonstrate each literary concept as well as the effect which the given technique or form has on a reading of the respective text.

Initial posts must be 200 to 300 words in length and posted by Day 3. Respond to at least two of your classmates’ posts. In your response, indicate what you have learned from your classmates’ answers and share how their responses have improved your understanding of the importance of editing as you work through your final drafts this week. Be specific in your responses. Response posts must be 125 to 200 words in length and posted by Day 7. 

 

Welcome to Introduction to Literature (ENG 125)

 

Hopefully you’ve read my instructor’s introduction which covers my background and how I view this course. In this document, I will discuss the books you will be using over the next five weeks (textbook, dictionary, and writer’s guide(s)) before moving on to some comments on literature, and ending with some recommended reading. 

[0. ASSIGNMENT OVERVIEW 
In two to four double-spaced pages (excluding title and reference page), analyze one of the literary works from this week’s readings, by completing the following:

 

  • Explain why the literary work captured your interest, using terms and concepts from the text to support your explanation.
  • Describe one of the analytical approaches outlined in Chapter 16, using details from the text to support your interpretations.
  • Evaluate the meaning of the selected literary work, using the analytical approach you described. ]

 

 

 


I. THE BOOKS

 


Your Textbook: (or, Every decision matters: how much is up to you.)

 

As your textbook is going to be with you long after you finish this class, it’s important to understand how to get the most of it, and exactly what went into it. Literature textbooks are different in that even while striving for some semblance of objectivity, authors’ and editors’ tastes have a far greater influence on the final product than in other subjects. 

For example, in a basic geometry book, the author must start with points and lines lest theorems and postulates about triangles have no foundation; and without triangles, there is no trigonometry, etc. A reordering or omission of certain of materials is not an option. Literature is different: do you subdivide by form (i.e. poetry, drama, and prose), approach it chronologically (Gilgamesh, Homer, Sophocles, Dante, Milton…), within a specific tradition (for which we will use the common but outdated terms occidental and oriental), according to–often overlapping–purpose (religious, nationalist, political, purely “aesthetic”)…? You will see that the book’s author mixes them up, dividing the book mostly according to format, but sprinkling in works of other genres as appropriate. And then of course, there is the daunting task of selecting authors and works within those subdivisions. Consider this: in his landmark Lectures on Russian Literature, Vladimir Nabokov writes:

 


I calculated once that the acknowledged best in the way of Russian fiction and poetry which had been produced since the beginning of the last century runs to about 23,000 pages of ordinary print. It is evident that neither French nor English literature can be so completely handled. (p.1)

 


One country. Fewer than 200 years. 23,000 pages. We’re covering more physical and chronological territory in five weeks and far fewer pages. 

Selection matters.

 


Unlike some anthologies, written and edited by committee, we have a single name, R. Wayne Clugston and a purpose: this volume was specifically designed to provide an introduction to literature for students of courses similar to the one you are in. Clugston, after all, is a founder of Bridgepoint Education, Inc. the parent of Ashford U. In a laudable and uncommon act of transparency in an anthology, Clugston provides a “The Summary and Selections” section appearing at the end of most units reemphasizing why a particular work appears. Even so, if there’s one thing beyond the core lessons I want you to take away from this class it’s this:

 


Professor Moskowitz’s Rule of 2+
Never judge an author until you have read at least two or more highly dissimilar works from him or her.

 


It is extremely rare that one work of an author is the most representative, best-known, most-respected, and most useful (as in a classroom setting).

 

 

 

Your Writing Guides (and a way to jump start your close reading skills):

 


Ashford recommends the Little, Brown Compact Handbook, Sixth Edition by Jane E. Aaron andWhat’s the Rule?®: A Simple Guide to Perfect Punctuation, Great Grammar, and Superb Sentences and Style, Second Edition by Kathy Sole. Both of these books are incorporated into the Ashford Guide for Academic and Career Success.

 


The 
Ashford Writing Center also has a number of useful references including the latest APA guidelines and sample papers. Additionally, the university now offers Writing Reviser (accessible under Learning Resources). As I mentioned with your textbook, every decision matters, especially in creating literature. It is understood that at first you may not notice things like verb tense, sentence length, variety of transitions, and other stylistic issues while dealing with “big picture” items such as plot, characterization, and setting. Nevertheless, this tool provides a means to increase your awareness of such matters.

 


Even though the writing reviser exists primarily to help you with essays, running any piece of writing—including the short stories—through it and playing 
with the various highlighting tools will help train you to pay attention to the actual language, not just the message.

 

 

 

 


Literary Criticism: (Is it all about perspective?)

 


There are many approaches to reading literature and your book only lists some of the most prominent. Some theories have clear distinctions between them, while others overlap to the point where it seems only the names are different. Those of you who’ve studied religion may be reminded of examining different sects and wondering why a specific schism occurred and how the followers on either side could be so devoted to the differences when they have so much in common. It’s no coincidence that many scholars believe that the rise of literary criticism and of literature itself is a direct result of the decline in the power of the clergy. (Chapter 1 of Terry Eagleton’s Literary Theory: An Introduction,discusses this in depth.)

 


At this point in your studies, critical theory should inform your reading, but not dominate it. The moment you lose focus of the text, you might as well discuss many angels can dance on the head of a pin (The answer to which is entirely dependent on what the band is playing and how much the angels have had to drink). My suggestion: let the text and your personal interest guide you.

 


For example, take Charles Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities, a novel set during the French Revolution of 1789. When I read it, all I could think was that by changing the names to those ending -ovich, -ovna, -sky etc., many scenes could be transplanted with ease to a novel about the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia–an event that happened after Dickens’s time, and over a hundred years after the novel’s setting. So, from this initial impression, I could approach my criticism from a historicist perspective with a biographical slant (How much of Dickens’ work was colored by the European revolutions of 1848?) a reader-response approach (Has my undergraduate work—I was a Russian Literature major—permanently colored my view?) a Marxist response (What does the novel say about shifting relationships in the underclass during crises?) a Feminist perspective (From Lilith to Eris to Madame Defarge–how are women identified with discord and violence?), etc…

 

As I will repeat in the next few weeks:

 

  1. All questions are good. Questions that lead to further, deeper questions are even better.
  2. “Is this good?” and “Do I like it?” are legitimate questions, but in an academic setting they need to be followed by “Why?”
  3. When in doubt, go back to the text itself. Never let the argument or analysis supersede the object of the discussion.

 

 

 

On “Reading Literature: Decline and Fall”: (or, Can we be adults in the culture war era?)

 


A promise:

 


I will not use any of the following terms, or variants of them if at all possible. And if I do, it will be intending their denotative definitions alone: 

anti-Semitism, Crusades, fascism, feminism, imperialism, misogyny, multi-culturalism, political correctness, racism, and socialism. 

I’m sure I’ve forgotten some but I think I’ve made myself clear.

 


Why? Because their use is almost always the product of inadequate or sloppy thinking. All of them are important concepts we should explore without hindrance when we feel they are applicable, but as soon as that label appears, intelligent conversation tends to vanish. Nevertheless, we’re to going to strive to be better than that.

 


Remember, art that is not in some way provocative (not necessarily controversial) socially or politically is not art, it is craft. Remember the discussion of selection: everything we read, is selected from a multitude of applicable works, both more and less controversial. Same goes for my suggested readings at the end of every guidance.

 


Your takeaway point: The most offensive things in academia are sloppy thinking and rage replacing reason.

 

 

 

This week’s authors: Chopin, Thurber, Updike, Chopin, Carver et. al.

 


Especially at the beginning of class, it’s important that your first read of the material is not colored by my opinions. They will come in the form of questions in the discussion boards and announcements, but it is important that you have the first word.

 

Finally, two thoughts on literature itself:

 


1. Note that I’ve not forced a capital L on literature. It is an art form, but not one that should be viewed in a glass case, at a distance. You need to get your hands dirty: peel away sentences, characters. Touch it. Examine bits and pieces. Insult what you read if need be–but always ask yourself why.

 


2. Just as you have the freedom to examine what we read in a way you never could a painting or a statue—even with advanced X-ray equipment—I want you to think of the author’s freedom. To create the final product, the writer uses cheap supplies compared to those employed by visual artists; and needs not worry about instruments or back up musicians, actors, directors, producers, or a multi-million dollar budgets. Think of the writer’s freedom to revise and perfect. To break the rules of what the audience may expect. To stay true to one’s vision. To have fun. Most importantly: to fail spectacularly and do it all over again. We will discuss this more as the course progresses.

 

 

 

III

. RECOMMENDED READING

 

  • Keesy, Donald. Contexts For Criticism.

 

Keesy takes three works of literature (which vary by edition) and presents full-length scholarly articles interpreting them according to differing approaches. You will notice that many of the scholars spend as much time addressing each other as much as they do the particular work. This should not discourage you from graduate-level literary study, but prepare you for what you may encounter.

 

  • Barash, David P. and Nanelle R. Barash. Madame Bovary’s Ovaries: A Darwinian Look at Literature.

 

This book discusses a newer approach to reading literature and is aimed a much wider audience than Keesy’s volume. The reader need not have any background in literary theory, or even the works discussed, though familiarity with Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, and Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Othello will certainly enhance the experience.

 

 

In addition to the captivating main story, Winchester provides concise but fascinating descriptions of the uncontrolled evolution of English (compared to the languages with rule-determining organizations such as French’s Académie française or Spanish’s Real Academia Española
as well as principles involved with dictionary composition. 

 


(Rule of 2+ suggestion)

 

  • Chopin, Kate. The Awakening. Bayou Folk. A Night in Acadie.
    The first item is her canonical novel, with similar themes to those found in “The Story of an Hour.” The latter two are collections of short stories which showcase her knowledge of the Acadian people and their lives.

 

(Alternate format suggestion)

 

 

 

 

Works Cited:Nabokov, V. (1981). Lectures on Russian Literature. New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich.

 

 

 

That’s it. Your turn now. I’ll see you in the discussion boards.

 

Prof. Moskowitz

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