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University of Alberta
Helen Frost

Clinton Richardson Home English 123 – Literature in Global Perspective Notes Course Outline (Helen Frost) 1. Tuesday, January-07-14 (Introduction) 2. Thursday, January-09-14 (An Interview with Wole Soyinka, Literary Analysis, World Literature) 3. Tuesday, January-14-14 (1 short response, colonialism, White Burden) 4. Thursday, January-16-14 (Goodbye Africa) 5. Tuesday, January-21-14 (In-Class Assignment) 6. Thursday, January-23-14 (Survivor) nd 7. Tuesday, January-28-14 (2 short response, Writing Workshop) 8. Thursday, January-30-14 (First Screening of Avatar) 9. Tuesday, February-04-14 (Second Screening of Avatar) 10.Thursday, February-06-14 (Avatar Discussion) 11.Tuesday, February-11-14 (The Collective Treasures) 12.Thursday, February-13-14 (Writing Successful Paragraphs, Peer Editing) 13.Tuesday, February-18-14 (Reading Week) 14.Thursday, February-20-14 (Reading Week) 15.Tuesday, February-25-14 ( White Fantasy – Black Fact) 16.Thursday, February-27-14 (Plagiarism, Citation, Gordimer – Is There…) 17.Tuesday, March-04-14 (District 9 Screening) 18.Thursday, March-06-14 (District 9 Screening and Discussion) 19.Tuesday, March-11-14 (District 9 Discussion and Writing Workshop) 20.Thursday, March-13-14 (The Song of Bullets) 21.Tuesday, March-18-14 (Girls at War) 22.Thursday, March-20-14 (What do I Remember of the Evacuation, Antd Bib) 23.Tuesday, March-25-14 (An Introduction, Swimming Lessons) 24.Thursday, March-27-14 (Writing Workshop, Peer Editing) 25.Tuesday, April-01-14 (Final Exam, Class Evaluation, Swimming Lessons) 26.Thursday, April-03-14 (A Habit of Waste) Clinton Richardson Home 27.Tuesday, April-08-14 (Practice Exam, Short Questions) Tuesday, January-07-14 Helen Frost HC4-34 [email protected] Course Outline Thursday, January-09-14 Vocab 1. Secession – the withdrawal from the Union of 11 Southern States in 1860-1861 that led to the formation of the Confederacy and the beginning of the Civil War 2. Clannishness – inclined to stick together as a group and exclude outsiders 3. Caucus - a closed meeting of people from one political party, especially a local meeting to select delegates or candidates 4. Chauvinism - unreasoning, overenthusiastic, or aggressive patriotism 5. Inimical – unfavourable to something 6. Incarceration - to put somebody in prison 7. Erudition - knowledge acquired through study and reading 8. Heresy - an opinion or belief that contradicts established religious teaching, especially one that is officially condemned by a religious authority 9. Erroneous - incorrect, based on an incorrect assumption, or containing something that is incorrect 10.Fallacy - something that is believed to be true but is erroneous 11.Laudable - admirable and worthy of praise 12.Diaspora - the dispersion of the Jews from Palestine following the Babylonians' conquest of the Judean Kingdom in the 6th century bc and again following the Romans' destruction of the Second Temple in ad 70 13.Subjugation - the act or process of bringing somebody, especially a people or nation, under the control of another 14.Fastidiously – demanding: the act or process of bringing somebody, especially a people or nation, under the control of another 15.Discern - showing good judgment and good taste Short Response Example • 100-150 words • 1 thing should be making a claim, statement, or argument about the text • Theme • Textual evidence – quotes to claim your point • Structure • Analysis Clinton Richardson Home • Make very clear claims and interpretations of the text Literary Analysis: An Introduction Common Errors: • Close reading is not speculation, it is based on careful analysis of your object of study • Students often try to discern the character’s motives (or judge the character’s actions as if the character was a corporeal being) • Students try to discern the author’s intentions • Making moral judgements on a character’s behaviour Close Reading • 3 Steps: 1. Understanding 2. Noticing 3. Explaining Understanding • Understanding the surface meaning of the text is your starting point. However being able to accurately summarize and paraphrase the text does not stand in for textual analysis (this is a common error). Noticing • This requires sensitivity to small scale textual nuance. The details of the language used. Thus you need to pay attention to diction, punctuation, syntax and form as well as plot and character • This might mean discerning patterns in the text. For Example: What words are repeated? Or noticing language choices that seem out of place =, unfamiliar, strange or surprising. Explaining • “Explaining is about moving beyond what is interesting and on to what is significant” (Wright). At this point it is up to you to construct a cogent argument based on the author’s linguistic and aesthetic choices. This does not mean discerning authorial intention! Rather it is about tracking patterns, themes, motifs in the text, in order to make an argument about how meaning is made in the text. World Literature Introduction • The idea of world literature has a long history • Writing produced outside the west was ignored Colonialism • A practice of domination, which involves the subjugation of one people to another – Kohn • Material conquering of land Imperialism vs. Colonialism Clinton Richardson Home • Imperialism is driven by ideology, operated from the center as a policy of state. Colonization is economically driven (has to do with settling elsewhere). For example the appropriation of land and space. (Robert Young) Wole Soyinka • White Man’s Burden – Eurocentric ideology *Homework* • Short response Monday • Read “White Man’s Burden” • Read “Real White Man’s Burden” Tuesday, January-14-14 Vocabulary 1. Euphemism - a word or phrase used in place of a term that might be considered too direct, harsh, unpleasant, or offensive Key Terms: 1. Colonialism – conquer another land for resources and space for market 2. Imperialism – driven by centralized ideology of expansionism 3. Colonial Ideology – ideas to justify the arbitrary economic imperatives, economically driven (white man’s burden) (religious salvation) (paternalism) The White Man’s Burden – Ridyard Kipling • Take up the white man’s burden and send the best of their country to dark, uncivilized places of the earth • Imposing civilizing behaviours and institutions and end famine and disease • Rich and powerful have obligation to help and assist, but there is racial superiority • The native peoples are seen as “sullen peoples, / half-devil and half-child” • Colonialism drives imperialist impulses • Kipling offers warnings to those who sought to undertake imperialism • Those who worked in the colonies must grow up quickly and understand that they will work hard and perhaps not earn the frequent and unfettered praise they might have expected Context • Published in response to a crucial debate regarding the future of US imperialism, specifically in the Philippines Discussion Questions • Kipling portray subjects – “captives’ need” “half devil and half child” • Burden of giving up best men to civilize and expand. Burden is necessary to veil the threat of terror Clinton Richardson Home The ‘Real’ White Man’s Burden – Ernest Crosby • Satire – a literary genre of mode that used irony, wit and sometimes sarcasm to expose humanity’s vices and foibles • Title implies unmasking of ideology • Questions who actually bears the burden of colonialism 1 Short Response – The Real “White Man’s Burden” In the sarcastic poem “The Real ‘White Man’s Burden,’” Ernest Crosby contrasts the expansionist-supporting poem, “The White Man’s Burden,” by exemplifying anti- imperialist revulsion and using extreme examples. Crosby’s parody was published almost immediately after the publication of Kipling’s poem, which suggests Crosby’s strong disagreement about the way imperialism and expansionism is presented by Kipling. This quick, satirical response proposes the distaste for cultural imperialism by bringing up the negative issues of colonization like “politics and fraud,” and “electrocution chairs.” (Crosby). He begins every stanza with “Take up the White Man’s burden,” and follows with clever sarcasm that in some cases even lessens the technological impression of the Philippines. Using this line at the beginning of every stanza, and making sarcastic comments about how the people are “behind the times,” and “savage,” Crosby is able to contrast Kipling’s poem with a strong and opinionated response. Edward Said on Orientalism • Said asks us to think about the effects or representation • Cultures are represented as ahistorical – static • Who has the power to produce knowledge? • Stereotype *Homework* • Read Goodbye Africa Thursday, January-16-14 Vocabulary 1. Liminal - belonging to the point of conscious awareness below which something cannot be experienced or felt. To be in between two places (threshold moment) 2. Manichean – contrast between black and white / good and evil (Jan Mohammed) Goodbye Africa Historical Context Clinton Richardson Home • After the Berlin Conference 1885, often known as the Scramble for Africa, the U.K. Government established a settler colony in Kenya in 1895 • Colonialism in Kenya was characterized by: land appropriation for colonial settlers and administration; powerful settler population and economy with aspirations for independence from Britain that met with great resistance; heavy taxation of the local inhabitants helped fund colonial administration; both forced and waged labour (often coerced through the system of taxation. • Resistance to colonization – the Mau Mau Ngûgî wa Thiong’o • He produces narratives that bear witness to the “historical experience of colonialism” • Can be best understood, “as a continuous – often agonized – search for narrative forms that might best represent the complex culture of postcolonial Africa Discussion Questions • What do the opening paragraphs tell us about colonial settler culture? o Servants, gender roles (men not in the kitchen), normal (drinking coffee), marriage problems o Social hierarchy • Why does Ngugi split the narration between the husband and wife? Can you pick out a few key quotes in which the husband and wife give alternate interpretations of events? o To split the sides and get both points of view of the marriage (problems) o The shamba boy’s perspective is absent o The husband and wife have different perspectives of social hierarchy, (wife has sympathy for Africans, husband is embarrassed he was replaced by a black person) • Discuss the first description of the “shamba boy.” What words suggest the power relationship between the two men? o Initially represented as an ideal native, ideal colonial subject, nice, submissive, childlike, model of his type • Why is laughter repeated throughout text? o Laughter goes against the colonial view of what they are trying to do o If you are anxious, weak, and endanger of collapse, laughter can be very powerful o Colonial anxiety – protagonist is afraid of being weak and emasculated • Quote to represent or undermine colonial ideology o “Was it wrong for us, with our capital, with our knowledge, with our years of Christian civilization to open and lift a dark country onto the stage of history? *Homework* Clinton Richardson Home • Read Survivor, short response Tuesday, January-21-14 Writing Tips • Don’t start with abroad statements • Be clear, do not try to be eloquent • Avoid using excessive adjectives • Only make statements you can use examples to prove • Do not use contractions or colloquial language In-Class Assignment Thursday, January-23-14 Survivor – Lorna Goodison • Allegory - a work in which the characters and events are to be understood as representing other things and symbolically expressing a deeper, often spiritual, moral, or political meaning • Expresses a deep sympathy for diminished people • Concerned with painful aftermath with colonization and slavery • Transatlantic Slave Trade – Elizabeth, movement of African slaves through the Atlantic, often stopping in the Caribbean. Slaves were violently stripped from their countries. • Middle passage – particularly violent • Aftermaths – what is left behind in the wake of violence and how do we find ways of carrying on and making do – living on and continuing o Concern within survivor Diction that reflects colonialism • “strangers” – coming in to colonize • “they took them all” • “savages” natives are referred to as savages because they are seen as uncivilized • “mourning” – of the loss of culture • “over the bone flute music and the dead story it tells, listen for grace songs from her ankle bells” - Culture revitalization • “seeds stored” – hope • Colonists are so consumed with taking – they cannot reproduce the culture o “God is with ribs” – they broke the ribs • Begins with a very barren image of decay, ends with hope of cultural revitalization o Decay/destruction vs. birth/regeneration Clinton Richardson Home • “Laying waste” desolation of culture and natural environment • The woman is concerned with the connection of her child but also the connection with the land “seeds” • Strong image of potential and possibility – second half of the poem • Relationship between decay and birth “one remaining barrel of rain” – reproduce to become fertile again • Ankle bells and grace songs suggests that the woman is the starting point to the regeneration of culture, but also as the ability to create new ways. o Female figure is given a lot of power and is resilient • Why does Goodison use “Survivor” for the title? o Not only about hope, but also resilience o Survivor acts in order to survive vs. a victim who is acted upon *Homework* • Short response to 1 of the 3 articles on Avatar (eClass) Tuesday, January-28-14 nd 2 Short Response – “Avatar: Return of the natives” InSlavoj Žižek’s article “Avatar: Return of the natives,” the division of fantasy and reality play a large role in the analysis and dissection of James Cameron’s “Avatar.” The cultural critic compares Cameron’s work to other Hollywood films such as “The Matrix,” and “Dances with Wolves.” Both these films have examples where the protagonist is set in ordinary circumstances (reality), but also immersed in situations that are unfamiliar, yet appealing (the fantasy). In “The Matrix,” Neo finds himself caught in between reality, and the fantasy life within the matrix. In “Dances with Wolves,” Dunbar is situated within the Aboriginal’s lifestyle, something completely different from what he is used to. Just like these two films, Avatar uses the roles of fantasy and reality to help explore the controversial ideological division between the human’s and the Aboriginals of Pandora. These two forms, the fantasy of living as one of the Na’vi, and the reality of destruction of the planet and its inhabitants, serve as the main theme of Avatar. Problems with In-Class Assignment • Not enough literary analysis (close reading) • Not making a clear argument or point Close-Reading To do To Avoid • What is the point? • Author’s intentions • Why is this quote significant? • Make assumptions about • How does it act as proof? characters emotions or intentions How to Write a Good Thesis Statement Clinton Richardson Home - The first step to making a clear argument • Never begin an essay with a general broad statement – what argument are you making? What is a Thesis? • A thesis statement is a none or two-sentence condensation of the argument or analysis that is to follow • Makes a claim • Takes a position Why write a good thesis statement? • It allows you to distill, better organize and develop your argument • It provides your reader with a guide to your argument • A strong thesis indicates you know what you are going to argue o Direction • Give the reader some guide to what they are going to be reading – roadmap provided by thesis and introduction Understand the Writing Task • In order to write a successful thesis statement you need to determine the nature of the writing task • Which of the following skills you are being asked to apply? o o Analysis o Argumentation o Comparison o Interpretation o Evaluation • • How do these activities differ from one another? • Distil the topic into a single specific question • Avoid rephrasing the essay question as your thesis statement – not very specific What is a good thesis statement? • A good thesis statement will usually include the following four attributes: 1. Take on a subject upon which reasonable people could disagree (it makes a claim others may dispute) 2. Deals with a subject that can be adequately treated given the nature or scope of the assignment 3. Express one main idea 4. And assert your conclusions about a subject Evaluating your own thesis statement • Do I answer the question? • Have I taken a position that can be opposed by others Essay Writing Workshop Why Quote? • You must remember the purpose of quoting • In literary analysis, your paper develops an argument about what the author is doing. About how the text “works.” You use quotations to support this argument; that is, you select, present, and discuss material from the text specifically to Clinton Richardson Home “prove” your point – to make your case – in much the same way a lawyer brings evidence before a jury • Use quotations to support your assertion, not merely to state or restate your claim. Don’t Quote: • To “retell” the story • To convey basic information about the text • For the sake of filling up space • Assume the reader knows the text Incorporating quotes into sentences: • Use an introducing phrase orienteer plus the quotation – this will introduce or contextualize the statement: o Ex.) In the opening of “A modest Proposal” Swift states his intention to “[prevent] the children of poor people in Ireland from being a burden to their parents or country” (298) • An assertion of your own and a colon plus the quotation: o Ex.)Through animal imagery Swift objectifies the poor, when he states that: “quote…” • An assertion of your own with quoted material worked in: o Ex.) As Brady elucidates, the ideal wife subverts her “needs” in favour of her husbands, ensuring that he is “satisfied” Clarity and Precision • Introduce a quote by indicating what it is meant to show Some Basic Guidelines: • Do not use two quotations in a row, without intervening material of your own. • Indentation: o Prose or verse quotations less than four lines long are not indented o Indent “longer” quotations in a block about ten spaces in from the left margin; when a quotation is indented, quotation marks are not used Thursday, January-30-14 Avatar (1 screening) • “sooner or later, you always have to wake up” • “those savages are threatening the whole operation” Tuesday, February-04-14 Avatar (2nd screening) Clinton Richardson Home Thursday, February-06-14 Essay Draft • About 700 words • Does not need to be edited th • Due February 13 Avatar • “noble savage” – Rousseau • “Going Native” • Links to Pocahontas and Dances with Wolves • Sully is able to listen to his body in ways that the scientists could not because he is an empty cup • Subtle reinforcement of racial hierarchy – Jake Sully learns to become true warrior in three months. He leads and saves the Na’vi people because they are in need of help and he has already earned this superiority recognition • Taking an unserious movie very seriously • Follows a rubric • Media produces an ideology that normal people are not aware of Zizeck • Concerned with problematic relationship between reality and fantasy • What is ugly disappears through the workings of fantasy • Complains about the “going native” fantasy and how Jake Sully has mastered everything about the culture in such short period of time Goodfox • Cameron is purposely trying to parallel Dances with Wolves (metatext) • Put the story in modern terms to critique the genre as a whole • Avatar used by many people who associate with it as an example to what is happening to them Heath Justice • Allowed for that good feeling by not being able to connect to the characters, or be in their positions. • Numerous ways to make the movie more enjoyable o Instead of focussing on Jake Sully, focus on Grace (more ambiguous characters) • Text homogenizes characters that are good and bad. (very finite between what’s good and bad) What is the most convincing article? • Heath Justice – visual experience • Goodfox – analogies of USA’s political policies (oil in Iran) Neo-Liberalism • Wendy Brown – increased privatization of government and military Clinton Richardson Home Tuesday, February-11-14 Bessie Head – The Collective Treasures Bessie Head • Apartheid – immorality act o Made having interracial relationships illegal with consequences • Born in a mental institution because her mother had an affair with a black man • Mixed racial heritage in a nation that did all it could to separate white and black people • Went into exile by South African government for political writing • Interested in world making o Ways in which women make way for themselves in society o Looking for ways in which gender roles can provide more equality, not necessarily the gender roles themselves The Collective Treasures • Why does it begin with the end? o Structured as a flashback to give a sense of perspective and context (woman’s perspective) – she is part of a particular context of gender inequality o The suspense isn’t necessarily the most important part o The meaning is what should be focussed on by the reader, not trying to rush through to the end of the story • How is community represented in the beginning? o “The prison was a rehabilitation centre where the prisoners produced goods which were sold in the prison store; the women produced garments of cloth and wool; the men did carpentry, shoe-making, and vegetable production.” o “And so the woman Dikeledi began phase three of a life that had been ashen in its loneliness and unhappiness. And yet she had always found gold amidst the ash, deep loves that had joined her heart to the hearts of others. She smiled tenderly at Kebonye because she knew already that she had found another such love. She was the collector of such treasures • How is the relationship between men and women described? o “Our men do not think that we need tenderness and care.” – Men think women are just for appealing them. • 2 Versions of Men represented (what form of masculinity does Bessie Head support?) o Man that is “broadly damned as evil.” – compared to dogs, bulls, and donkeys  Has no sense of consequences o Man that is a “poem of tenderness.” – gentle, considerate and caring  Concerned with responsibility • How does use of animal imagery support her argument? Clinton Richardson Home o Comparing a man to an unintelligent animal supports her argument that she disagrees with these type of men o Animal vs. human intimacy – animals are just instinctive as with humans there is some sort of relationship of love or desire o Masculinity has turned into this through ancestors in history and their place in the household over women • Images to describe the considerate man o River flowing – life giving (flow of water) Thursday, February-13-14 On Paragraphs (Writing Successful Paragraphs) • Edit for Clarity, Logic, and Coherence Why Focus On Paragraphing? • Good paragraphing assists your readers in following your writing and the trajectory of your ideas • You may have fantastic ideas but if those ideas aren’t presented in an organized fashion you will lose your readers and thus fail to achieve your goals in writing which is inevitable to communicate as clearly as possible. The Basic Rule • Use one idea per paragraph • If you make a transition to a new idea, you need to move to a new paragraph • You may have a few points in a paragraph as long as they are all connected to the same topic or idea. If elaborating on an giving evidence for these points gets too long, then it may suggest the need for each point to be a separate paragraph Elements of a Paragraph • Unity o The paragraph should only concern itself with a single idea • Coherence o This is the trait that makes your paragraph easily understandable to readers o Includes use of logical bridges, similar ideas, begins with information that readers expect, and ends with new information o Verbal bridges: key words repeated across sentences, transition words • Topic Sentence o Try to put your topic sentence at the beginning of the paragraph if possible o The topic sentence sh
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