Archive for ‘Interpretation and Purpose’

Assigned Topics on Viewing the Movie Doubt

by   |  02.24.10  |  Film and Visual Art, In-Class Writing Assignments, Interpretation and Purpose, Rhetoric & Persuasion (Argument)

As a comment to the blog post, please write a paragraph or two in response to the topic you selected to cover when viewing the movie Doubt as follows:

  • Describe your selected topic
  • Explain aspects of your topic another viewer may have missed
  • Explain how your observations help you understand the rhetorical purpose of the film

Freedom to Interpret – Reading for Wednesday

0 Commentsby   |  02.23.10  |  Announcements, Film and Visual Art, Interpretation and Purpose, Nonfiction (Essays), Thesis

For Wednesday, please print a copy of Roland Barthes’s very short (3-page) essay “The Death of the Author” from the Link below and read the essay before class. I encourage you to annotate your copy of the text—underline key lines or phrases, write notes in the margin, and be able to articulate the thesis of the essay.

The Death of the Author

Also, please be prepared in class on Wednesday to discuss the topic you selected for on the viewing guide for the movie Doubt.

Assignment for Monday February 22

0 Commentsby   |  02.20.10  |  Interpretation and Purpose, Rhetorical Analyses, Short Stories

For Monday, please print a copy of “The Lottery” from the Link below and read the story before class. I encourage you to annotate your copy of the text—underline key lines or phrases, write notes in the margin, identify key themes, and be able to articulate the purpose of the story.

If you would like to replace your grade on an RA you may have missed, you may upload an RA on “The Lottery” to the Files Dropbox before class on Monday, or you may turn in a hard copy in class on Monday.

“The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson

Writing Assignment for Friday Feb 19

0 Commentsby   |  02.18.10  |  Interpretation and Purpose, Nonfiction (Essays), Rhetoric & Persuasion (Argument), Rhetorical Analyses

Linked below is an excerpt from a book-length work of nonfiction by Annie Dillard titled An American Childhood.  I would like you to treat this piece as if it were a complete essay for the RA due on Friday February 19:

from An American Childhood

When reading, consider the rhetorical strategy of the essay, the essay’s primary argument, and pay particular attention to the identity of the speaker.  This work also takes a major turn at one point in the essay that significantly changes the interpretive landscape of the piece.

Podcast on Writing About Literature

by   |  02.01.10  |  Interpretation and Purpose, Other Resources, Polls, Rhetoric & Persuasion (Argument)

Optional: I wanted to provide another resource that should be helpful when preparing to write Major Essay #1 (and future essays). Consider listening to Lecture 16 by Daniel Coffeen from a course on rhetoric at another university.

Caution: The speaker in this podcast sometimes uses language that we do not affirm (profanity), which may be offensive. As such, listening to this podcast is not required.  However, the content in the podcast may be quite helpful to most undergraduate writers. This podcast provides practical advice on the goals of writing about texts and the posture of a writer when writing about texts. If you choose to listen to the podcast in your free time or while exercising, you can download it to your iTunes library.

Note: This speaker discusses texts other than the ones we have read, but the advice in the podcast could be applied to an essay about any text. It’s just an optional resource that is available on the web from iTunes.

Group Exercise on Poetry Analysis

by   |  01.25.10  |  In-Class Writing Assignments, Interpretation and Purpose, Poetry

As a group, choose one of the poems in the reader from pages 297-309 and write a response to the following:

  1. Name or describe the identity of the speaker and the title of your selected poem.
  2. Provide evidence from the poem that supports your claim about the speaker’s identity.
  3. Describe the occasion of the poem (the event or situation that is taking place in time).
  4. Describe the rhetorical purpose of the poem (or the human experience of the poem).
  5. Describe the tone of the language used in the poem.
  6. Describe how the tone of the language contributes to the meaning/purpose of the poem.
  7. Provide evidence of language from the poem that creates the tone defined in #5.
  8. Write the names of the writers in your group.

Poetry Analysis

Tags:

0 Commentsby   |  01.24.10  |  Announcements, Interpretation and Purpose, Poetry, Rhetorical Analyses

Part of the reading assignment for Monday includes poetry.  Poetry analysis may be new to most undergraduates, so to help you become more comfortable when writing about poetry, please read this Two Page Handout on Poetry Analysis.

Group Exercise on “Parker’s Back”

by   |  01.22.10  |  In-Class Writing Assignments, Interpretation and Purpose, Rhetoric & Persuasion (Argument), Short Stories, Thesis

As a group, please write a response to the items below on “Parker’s Back” as a comment to this blog post.

  1. What are some specific issues (questions) this story raises about relationships?
  2. Write a possible thesis (position) claim about the story’s purpose regarding human relationship.
  3. Exactly how does the story text accomplish its argument or purpose you identified in #2 above.
  4. Include the names of your group members.

If not already addressed in your responses to the items above, try responding to the following questions: More »

Theology and Marriage in “Parker’s Back”

0 Commentsby   |  01.20.10  |  Interpretation and Purpose, Short Stories

The short story “Parker’s Back” presents spouses who have remarkably different perspectives of the divine. Sarah Ruth seems obsessed with following abstract codes of regulations that she associates with her religious identity. In contrast to Sarah Ruth’s obedience to doctrine and law, Parker’s experience of God centers on the incarnational image of a person who is perceptable to the senses and who has “eyes to be obeyed” (527). Considering these differences, how might a writer compose an essay about the complex relationship between Obadiah Elihue Parker and Sarah Ruth?

Below is an image of the famous icon Christ Pantocrator (“Christ, Ruler of All”), which could fit the story’s description of Parker’s Christ tattoo, with its “haloed head” and “all-demanding eyes” (522):

Christ the Saviour

A Respectable Triangle?

0 Commentsby   |  01.20.10  |  Interpretation and Purpose, Short Stories

If you plan to write about “A Respectable Woman” for Essay #1, consider some of the following differences between Mrs. Baroda’s relationship with her husband and her relationship with Gouvernail: More »

Writing About Short Stories; “Die Grosse Liebe”

0 Commentsby   |  01.15.10  |  Interpretation and Purpose, Rhetoric & Persuasion (Argument), Short Stories

Writers of stories spend time creating cultural universes, and they ask us to experience these universes as readers.  These cultural universes are shaped by carefully selected details in the stories—particular language, particular images, and particular spaces.   Every word, every detail in a text functions as an argument—an argument that attempts to alter the experience of readers.

On Friday, we’ll look at additional details in “Die Grosse Liebe” and what effects those details have in the story’s performance:

One of the most interesting questions to ask when writing about texts is simply, “How?”

  • How does the story perform its argument?
  • How does the story accomplish its purpose?
  • How does the story’s language cause readers to experience certain effects?
  • How does a certain detail interact with other details in the story, and to what effect?
  • What kind of cultural universe is presented in this story?  And how does the story create that kind of universe?

Here’s a clip with selected images and audio from the movie described in the short story: