Posted: November 23rd, 2022

For Doc Daimler only: Applying Literary Theory

M1A1: What is an Essay?

Write a short essays of 350 words. In preparation for these weekly assignments, you are now asked to reflect upon your own writing process and what you understand an essay to be. The essay has a long history.

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Perhaps history’s greatest essay writer, the French philosopher Michel de Montaigne, published his volume in 1575 at the height of the Renaissance. Reading any one of his Essays, will give you an excellent idea of how this form of writing can be perfected.

Ralph Waldo Emerson was an American master of the form.

M1D1: Literary Elements and “Young Goodman Brown”

For this activity you need to have read, and ideally, re-read Hawthorne’s classic story about the Salem Witchcraft era, “Young Goodman Brown.” 

Then, in a primary post of at least 300 words, identify one symbol and one image in the story “Young Goodman Brown” and explain how imagery and symbolism contribute to your understanding of the story’s theme.

M1D2: “The Dead”: Symbolism, Irony and Characterization

For this activity you will need to read Joyce’s short story “The Dead” with great care. In preparation for the discussion, read how Joyce’s’ use of snow as a symbol contributes to the reader’s understanding of the main character’s depth, as well as the story’s overall theme and design. The article is entitled: “Analysis of “The Dead”, James Joyce’s Symbolic Use of Snow. You might also want to view a superb film adaptation of Joyce’s story by John Huston.

Joyce’s characters are clearly of the round variety. They are rich, complex, and multidimensional. Please describe the characterization of either Gabriel or Greta Conroy in a minimum of 300 words. What makes them complex characters? Give at least two attributes for the character and then show how the character’s behavior exemplifies those attributes. What is your personal reaction to the character? Can you identify with the character on some level? How? Finally, how does this character help represent one of the story’s themes?

M2A1: Applying Literary Theory

In this activity you will select a literary theory and use this theory to construct an analysis of William Gibson’s story, “Johnny Mnemonic”

Begin the activity by completing the following:

· Read “Johnny Mnemonic” by William Gibson

· Select and review one of the literary theories presented in the following resources

· Modern Literary Theory

When you have completed the reading and selected a literary theory, compose a 400 word essay analyzing Gibson’s story using the critical theory you find must helpful to understanding fiction. You should make sure to highlight the theory’s main points in your first paragraph and show how that theory relates to Gibson’s story. Do not summarize the short story, but, rather, focus on how the theory you choose to work with helps explain one of the theme’s themes.

M2D1: Kafka and Justice

Before participating in the discussion activity, begin by completing the following:

· Read Franz’s Kafka’s “In the Penal Colony” 

· View a short 14 minute film adaptation of Franz’s Kafka’s “In the Penal Colony  [Video, 13 min 33 sec]

· Review an interpretation of the story by a professional scholar. This is a post-colonial reading of the story, entitled “Kafka’s Critique of Colonialism “.

Primary post of 350 words or more, analyze and describe the concept of justice in Kafka’s story “In the Penal Colony.”

M3A1: The Theme of William Faulkner’s “Barn Burning”

This activity asks you to identify a theme in a complex modern story of the deep south. Completing this activity gives you the skill necessary to write about theme in other forms of literature such as poetry and drama that you will study over the duration of this course.

Begin this activity by reading William Faulkner’s famous short story “Barn Burning. Use the module notes and readings from Module 1 to help guide your understanding of the story’s theme. Clearly, the story grapples with a universal theme of justice, but what about justice does this story focus on and how, if at all, are the complexities of this theme resolved? To help understand Faulkner’s very sophisticated narrative techniques and to see an example of a scholarly analysis of the short story, please read: Ford, M. (1998). Narrative legerdemain: Evoking Sarty’s future in ‘Barn Burning’. Mississippi Quarterly , 51(3), 527.

You can also view the following videos to help you understand the plot, characters, and narrative of this profound little story:

•  Plot of Faulkner’s “Barn Burning”  [Video, 06 min 29 sec]
•  “Barn Burning” by William Faulkner Analysis  [Video, 04 min 27 sec]
•    Shelby Foote on William Faulkner and the American South  Video, 29 min 25 sec]

When you have completed the introductory work, write a 600 word maximum essay on your understanding of the primary theme of William Faulkner’s “Barn Burning.” You should quote short passages (4 lines or less) from the story to support your argument. Of course, there are many essays on this classic story, so if you use another author’s commentary on the story, such as the one you are asked to read in this module, make sure to cite that author’s article including the website.

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