OUTSIDE PAPER ASSIGNMENTS FOR LITERATURE CLASSES
Purpose of the Assignment
To show that you can take a fairly complex piece of literature (not covered in class and new to you) and apply the techniques of analysis used in class to write a paper demonstrating how all parts of the work (characters, incidents, style) unite to create an artistic whole around given ideas or themes or attitudes the author is trying to present.
1. A single novel or short story (play, if a drama lit. class; poem if a poetry lit. class) of the period covered in class. Check with me if you're not sure if your choice is appropriate or adequate or acceptable.
2. A combination of two or more stories (or plays or poems according to the class taken) used for contrast or comparison of an idea or ideas presented. You may use works covered in class as part of your contrast and comparison material as long as the major focus of your paper is on some new work not covered in class.
3. A comparison and contrast within different media (e.g., short story to a film or play) as long as the major focus is on the genre (fiction drama, or poetry) of the course at hand. In a course (such as American Lit. or European Lit.) where a country or time period rather than a specific genre is stressed, any genre may be chosen as long as the major focus is on a written work (rather than a film or live play production) since the course is on literature in its written form.
4. If a particular writer's themes and styles particularly intrigue you, you may attempt to write an original short story, parable, or chapter for a novel (play or poem if applicable) copying his style and idea content. Your original story must be accompanied by an analysis of how your work is a parody or serious copy of the writer you are dealing with. This analysis must be included if you make this choice since it will enable me to give you maximum credit for your analytical awareness (which is the major focus of this course since this is not a creative writing course) even if you do not have a great deal of writing talent.
Five-seven typewritten pages. If you have less or more pages, don't worry, but don't pad. However, if you're on the short side, be sure you have been as specific as possible and have included adequate examples to have covered all relevant parts of the work at hand.
Points to Remember:
1. Write the paper with a person in mind who has supposedly read the work, but who doesn't understand it. You are attempting to clarify for him or her what the idea of the story is and how the parts support it. Give plenty of examples explaining why they are relevant. Don't assume information is obvious; point out how and why your examples back up the points you are presenting.
2. Be idea oriented. Don't waste time summarizing or retelling the story.
Begin with themes within the story (e.g., In (Name of Story) . (Name of Author) is dealing with the themes of , , and .)
Then show how all parts of the story relate to these themes (characters, incidents, style).
3. Choose a work of some merit that is a challenge to you so you will grow by attempting it.
4. Get started NOW.