The primary thrust of this assignment is to propel you to engage in effective research, to understand the scholarship taking place with regard to what you are reading and writing about, and your demonstrating that you can effectively engage not just the assigned readings, but the scholarship as well. To this end, the writing assignments consist of a one source literature review.
The piece of scholarship you work with should be taken from the SFCC Library database JSTOR. The essay must be a minimum of 10 pages. If you want to combine two sources to meet the 10 page threshold, that's fine.
- Find a piece of scholarship to work with and print it out
- Annotate the scholarly source with an eye toward summarizing it
- Weave the annotations together to form the summary. At the beginning and halfway through each summary paragraph, acknowledge the scholar with something such as "Scholar writes . . . " but use the person's name.
- Once done with the summary, decide which elements of it to address, what light it shed on the original. Develop response paragraphs accordingly, along with an appropriate introduction and conclusion
Click on the "read more" link to see all of the assignment.
There is a maxim about literature I picked up somewhere that could be seen as a way to get a better sense of what is seen to be happening in Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice. That saying is this: "Literature is an expression of a political philosophy, a reflection of the ideal standard for society and government."
Suspend disbelief however much is necessary and take this statement to be true. If it is, what does can we determine about the time and place of the play's composition and presentation? What does it tell us about the people involved, whether playwright, actor or audience? What do those bits of the film we watched indicate about how we (those of us alive today, in this class) might be different? In answering these questions provide some passages from the play to illustrate your points and compare what you think those passage would have been taken to mean in Shakespeare's day and what they could be to be taken to mean today. When you have posted your journal, be sure to respond to two of your classmates and to one response to your journal. Post your journal over the weekend and have you response done by Wednesday.
Using the information in the handout on comedy, derived from Tuesday's PowerPoint material and attached here, describe what you find to be the most interesting aspect of the play within the context created by those ideas on Shakespearean comedy. You can look at the various elements of comedy Frye describes, the placating notions attached to carnival and the title of the play, or you might look up something else regarding comedy that you've previously encountered. You decide. Whatever you do, open by explaining why you think it of interest or importance to look at the play through your chosen lens. After that, be sure to provide at least two specific examples to illustrate what you are discussing, along with act, scene and line citations, which look like this: (1.2.45-67). You can do it the "old fashioned" way if you like: (I.ii.45-67). Conclude by explaining why it is instructive to look at these concerns. As usual, have your journal posted by midnight Sunday and respond to at least two journals and to one response to your journal by midnight Tuesday. Happy reading and writing!
I'm home sick today, so no class. Please have read through Act II for Tuesday and have reactions charts for both days. And don't forget journals. See the "how to journal" and "how to respond" directions to the left of this message.
For your first journal, I'd like you to examine whether the sonnets are a literary exercise or that they are biographical. If you want a little help in informing your argument, here is something from the Shakespeare's Sonnets site: Introduction to the Sonnets. In developing your examination, illustrate each point you make with specific passages from at least one sonnet. Once you have posted your material, respond to two other readings, and respond to a response to your reading. That makes for a total of three responses. If you run out of time, respond to another's response to someone else's reading. Deadline for readings is midnight, Sunday. Deadline for responses is midnight Tuesday. (Heads up: A new journal assignment will be posted each Wednesday from now on, with journals due by Midnight Saturday and responses due by midnight Monday.)
Will.i.am PowerPoint attached. Click on the link.
Reaction charts should be typed and will be collected at the end of the class session where the assigned readings are discussed, For the PowerPoints from this week, click on the "attachments" lin at the bottom.
Reaction Charts are an informal writing-to-learn assignment, serves several purposes. One,is to insure that you read all the assigned readings, for you can’t write a reaction chart unless you do. Also, these charts should help you organize and articulate your responses to the various readings, and they also provide valuable information to me.
Reaction charts should have two parts. For the first part, use the following format to give me a general sense of your response to the day’s reading:
+ aspects of the reading you found particularly engaging, interesting, effective, etc.
- aspects of the reading you found ineffective, frustrating, or problematic
? questions you have
The second part of the reaction chart is more analytical. Here I’d like you to identify a passage that you believe plays an important role in the reading, one that deserves analysis. Look at what it is you think the chosen passage does and means. Be prepared to explain in class why you chose this passage since we will refer to these charts in discussion. Also, in this second part, write one question for possible class discussion. This should be a question that provokes thought in some important way.
Whenever a reading is scheduled to be discussed on your course calendar, a reaction chart is due. I will collect the reaction sheets at the start of class because the information you provide helps me anticipate important issues and questions that we need to address. You must word process/type reaction charts.
Phone: Office 533-3572
Student Drop-in Hours: 1:00-3:00 M-Th afternoons and by appointment; otherwise, check my office door schedule for available times. Please feel free to email me with questions. Seriously. I mean it.
Required Text: Perkins and Perkins. The Norton Shakespeare (based on the Oxford Edition): Essential Plays * The Sonnets. 2nd ed.
Official Course Description: Students read, analyze, interpret and evaluate Shakespeare’s plays and also sonnets. In addition, they learn about the historical, cultural and social milieu in which Shakespeare wrote his works. Students develop strategies for breaking Shakespeare’s language barrier and learn to analyze plot, character, imagery and theme. Prerequisite SFCC only: recommended minimum reading placement score: COMPASS 80, ASSET 40.
Unofficial course description: We will read, discuss, and write about Shakespeare and Elizabethan culture. In doing so, we'll examine the role of literature and the shaping of a nation and national identity as it applies to our lives through a look at such things as Puritanism, the Reformation (and Counter Reformation), and the role of the arts in culture and society. To make this happen, we'll look at Shakespeare's drama and sonnets to develop some understanding of our Anglo-Saxon cultural & heritage. We will be exploring a variety of questions, including, but not limited to:
- What makes Shakespeare worth our time and trouble?
- What do we get from reading/acting dramas in general and Shakespeare in particular?
- How is contemporary (as in today's) life reflected in or understood through the reading of Shakespeare?
- Who is Shakespeare and does it matter?
- Why read Shakespeare? What is the point of all this?
As members of the class, you are to completely read all material as assigned prior to listed discussion dates, to have completed journals, to tweet questions, to take part in discussions, to complete writing assignments that focus on the readings and topics under discussion and to complete assigned projects. You should budget at least 15 hours a week for the course (10 hours outside of class for reading, writing, and working).
I hope to help you enjoy and understand what we read, provide you will some tools for increased understanding of the literature you read (or at least an idea of where to find material that will help you increase your understanding), and help you to formulate and express your thoughts--written and spoken--concerning Literature and why it matters in the world at large. Keep in mind I am not some oracle of Literature. I prefer to explain what people do not understand and to provide background and context for what we will read and let you puzzle things out as much as possible. Don't expect me to lecture on and explain what writings "mean." I don't have all the answers to what we will read (assuming such answers exist). This does not mean that a piece of literature means whatever you want it to mean; interpretations need to be based on specific elements and their contexts within the text. However, I have considerable experience reading, studying, interpreting, and criticizing literature. This I will share with you.
Let’s just say I hate grading, period. Grading takes a bunch of the fun out of a class such as this one. When I grade, my approach is to be as friendly a reader/grader as possible and give you the best grade that is reasonable given the work submitted. I also like to keep things simple, but it doesn't quite pan out that way.
Literature Review 1: 100 pts
Literature Review 2: 100 pts
Reaction Charts: 50 pts
Journals: 50 pts
Final Exam: 50 pts
Drama Club Project: 50 pts
Seminars: 50 pts
The final grade were be determined by the percentage of points earned out of the total possible.
You will earn the bulk of your grade in the latter stages of the class, when you should know more and be able to earn better grades.
Attached you will find the study guide for the final. You MAY not use it when taking the actual final. You will also NOT be able to use the text during the final. There should be no trouble opening and printing the study guide. If you do have trouble, let me know.
For your final journal, I'd like you to reflect on the readings that we encountered over the course of the quarter. You may recall that we briefly went over the course's learning outcomes (which can be found attached to the syllabus). Those outcomes are posted just below. For this journal, I'd like you to write about the three outcomes you think are likely to stick with you for the long haul. For each of those, provide a specific example to illustrate why that is the case. For instance, the first outcome is about increasing your understanding, appreciation and enjoyment of American literature. If you write about this, describe how this came to be, what readings or coursework helped make this happen, and why you think it will remain with you. As always, respond to at least two other journals and to at least one response to your journal.
- To increase your understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment of literature in general and early American Literature in particular;
- Use the language and techniques of literary criticism when analyzing early American literature;
- Develop an appreciation of the skill and creativity of diverse authors of early American literature;
- Demonstrate an understanding of the history and development of American literature from the roughly 1400 to 1865 through historical, social, cultural, sexual and gendered contexts;
- Draw justifiable inferences about other races and/or cultures without stereotyping or use of ethnocentric bias through the study of diverse authors of early British literature;
- Develop awareness of the implications of race and/or culture when looking at moral problems and societal conflicts between pre-Colombian and antebellum eras in American as projected through early American Literature;
- Develop knowledge and understanding of America primarily, along with some of England, France, Canada and perhaps Africa as a culturally diverse societies as expressed through early American literature;
- Develop knowledge and understanding of other expressions of diversity such as class, gender, and/or religion in/through early American literature;
- Listen to and understand individuals and respond respectfully to their points of view;
- Enjoy reading and learning about the various incarnations of early American Literature and early America.