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Lecture 11

ENG252Y1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 11: Transcendentalism, Deductive Reasoning, Dramatization

Course Code
Robert Mc Gill

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ENG 252 Lecture Canadian Literature
Student: N.W. Recorder: N.A.
- 1 -
Essay Writing
This Thursday, you will have an opportunity to work on your outline in tutorial.
You only have an hour, however, so you should come prepared (i.e. a skeleton of
an outline, or at least a thesis). The outline is due the next Thursday (Nov. 2nd)
and the essay is due Nov. 23rd.
We have a protocol for integrating quotes into your essay, and this is part of the
guidelines for essay writing. Make sure your citations conform
Guide to Essay Writing
All the essays you write should have an argument. You should not be just
summarizing for describing
Your essay should have a thesis, usually near the end of the introductory
paragraph. Announce your central claim up front, and then provide evidence
and elaboration
This should advance a claim on your own interpretation of the text. I want to
see evidence of your critical thinking and engagement with the text.
The thesis should be debatable, and not descriptive or too self-evident. Your
argument should provide the reading with new insight, backed by textual
You can use inductive or deductive reasoning, as long as it is appropriate to
your point and to the thrust of your argument. A synectic approach may be too
difficult for texts of this length. You can use a particular scene to establish
themes or ideas, and then take this into the rest of the text, but make you
argument as quickly as possible.
The outline is due Nov. 2nd. This should include a working thesis, and topic
sentence for each body paragraph (basically, mini-theses for each body
paragraph), and 3-4 pieces of textual evidence for each body paragraph.
o If we use quotes, do we also need a sentence to elaborate?
I want to see evidence that you have thought about what claim is connected to
a piece of evidence. One danger of doing an outline in advance is that students
fool themselves that they have already done all the logical linking. You still
have to think about and articulate how they all come together.
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ENG 252 Lecture Canadian Literature
Student: N.W. Recorder: N.A.
- 2 -
I have refined my theme of femininity in Wacousta to the idea of “savage”
What is the significance of Ellen Halloway’s transformation into
Wacousta’s savage? How does here characterization reflect the novels
broader thematic concern with questions of colonial government
This sets up my discussion, and how it will proceed to end up as. The shape of
you argument will be determined by your argument, but it should be clear
I have a topic sentence for body paragraph #1, and then some textual evidence
to support the claim (Ellen’s reaction to Frank’s execution reflects a
breakdown of gender norms that are meant to govern women’s behavior).
I note a piece of textual evidence, and also note what role it will play in
supporting the claim of the paragraph. These pieces of textual evidence still
need to be connected and related
You examples can come from separate scenes, such as the scene where we see
Ellen at Wacousta’s campfire.
The guide then gives some other examples of theses, with an exercise in
distinguishing between descriptive and argumentative statements.
You are not required to use secondary sources. If you choose to, then you must
make sure you cite them appropriately both in the body of the paper and in the list
of works cited. Make sure your sources are scholarly
Integrating direct quotations should not be “plopping” them in the middle of a
sentence. There are some tips for truncating and altering quotations.
Films are treated as tests in MLA, so use those conventions. If you want to write
on film, we expect a close “reading” of the film itself.
The Post-Confederation Period
We are now moving on to a period of intense nation-building in the post-
Confederation period.
In 1867, the colonies of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and the Province of
Canada joined to form the Dominion of Canada. This came from a growing
sense of distinctness, and from anxieties about American encroachment.
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ENG 252 Lecture Canadian Literature
Student: N.W. Recorder: N.A.
- 3 -
Even after Confederation, there was an ongoing debate about the annexation
of Canada to the US. There was also some antipathy, and anxiety about the
influence of American culture
In 1870, the government acquired Saskatchewan, Alberta, and BC in order to
prevent them from being annexed to the US. This inaugurated the settling of
the Canadian West. In 1881, the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway was
considered by many as the birth of the Canadian nation, and the unification of
the people
At this point, many felt that Canada was developing a distinct identity, apart
from both Americans and the British. This was the period that gave birth to
the conceptual categories of Canadian literature and authors. Anglo authors
became dedicated to creating a tradition that was distinctly Canadian.
Roberts was born in New Brunswick in 1860, and his first collection of poetry
was published in 1880. This had a profound influence on poets of the time,
and was instrumental in bringing together the group of poets ????
They were influenced by British romantic poets (like Woodsworth and Yeats),
and American transcendentalist poets. The Canadian poets considered literary
tradition as important for the formation of national identity.
Roberts turned to Canada’s distinct natural environment. He was fascinated by
the Maritime regions in particular (especially the Tantramar (?) region). He
also inaugurated the Canadian tradition of the animal story, which became a
staple of Canadian short fiction.
A perennial question in the development of Canadian literature is how Canada
can be defined as a distinct cultural entity, and this continues to this day.
In Roberts’ poetry, he sees nature as an almost divide entity (influenced by the
pantheism of other traditions). It has the power to impress the human mind
with deep inspiration and a contemplative kind off wisdom. He references
nature’s “redemptive power” in one essay.
Roberts remarks on poetry shows that moments in close connection to nature can
create “spots of time” that we can return to in order to nourish and repair our
minds in times of strife.
Roberts draws inspiration from the permanence of the seasonal cycles, and
from the kinship of all life
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