Monday, November 29, 2010

Final Project: All Aunt Hagar's Children Group Power Point Presentations

Final Project: All Aunt Hagar’s Children Group PowerPoint Presentations
(20 points)

The members of each group will focus on one of the sets of linked themes listed below, and will analyze those themes as they are manifested in one of the short stories from Edward P. Jones’s short story collection All Aunt Hagar’s Children. Each group must read two stories assigned by me, and must choose one for the presentation. 

In addition, each group is expected to link their presentation to at least one other author whose texts explore their linked themes, and utilize them in the overall presentation. As some of these themes overlap, you may also interweave some of the other relevant thematic discussions from other readings done during the semester into this group presentation.

Your major theme should be considered as the central, controlling idea of your piece—again, if you find that other themes of significance are surfacing and converging with your major theme as you develop your project, please note them. Your thesis should reflect your theme in a clear, well-articulated manner.

Linked themes:
1) Alienation and community
2) Education and intellectualism
3) Faith and religion
4) Gender relations, sexism, sexual exploitation, and sexuality
5) Justice and injustice
6) Radicalism and rebellion

You are encouraged to use video, film, photographs, text (including quotes from the text), and other documents to create a PowerPoint presentation of your work (maximum10 minutes in length). 

You must include a slide listing the “Credits,” i.e., the specific contribution made by each group member. In addition, you must create a Works Cited Page as the final slide of your presentation, using MLA-style. Refer to the MLA Style Guide on the course blog for MLA-style compliance. At our final class meeting, the group members will present their projects.  I encourage you to be as imaginative as possible with these presentations. 

Below is a list of the criteria for your PowerPoint, adapted from a rubric adapted from a former colleague.

Final Project Rubric for PowerPoint Presentation Photo-documentaries and Essay

The following categories provide a clear list of the elements that are expected in each group’s project, regardless of its form and purpose.  Use these criteria as a tool that will enable you, as the designer, to produce persuasive communication by means of innovation, creativity, and polished reflection.  Each of the categories is worth 4 points, for a total of 20 points of the final grade.

GROUP NAME_____________________________________

Thesis and Purpose:                                                                           Points_____

How clear is your thesis?  Is the topic compelling and relevant not only to your own interests but to an issue of larger significance?  How well do the images (photos, film, or other visuals) illustrate both the thesis and its related ideas in a cogent manner?

Composition:                                                                                      Points_____

Does the project follow a logical flow of thought?  Do these ideas transition well and are they well-supported by both visual and interpretive qualities?  Is the project free of grammatical errors and does it show familiarity with simple, compound, and complex sentence structures?  Can it be used as a model for other students in the future? 

Technical Image and Quality/Audio Recording and Editing:                   Points_____

How well have you operated your camera, produced high-quality digital files, or created high quality images?  This also includes how well you utilized the basic elements of photography, including lighting and composition, to make or choose the most interesting photographs possible.  Do the photographs demonstrate a variety of images and perspectives?  Do they seem to illustrate or create a pattern of thought?  How well have you recorded (or integrated) sound, including ambient sound and interviews, and how will have you edited the packaged product if sound is not provided?  How does the overall final project look, including captions, titles, transitions, audio, and image?

Caption Information and Presentation:                                                Points_____

Is there a clear integration of the visual and written composition of the final project?  How well have you complemented your images with written text?  How does the written text (approximately 750 – 900 words) act to amplify and enhance the quality of the project as a whole?  Are original insights supported by relevant research in your written text or is it merely expository? 

Individual Performance:                                                                      Points_____


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Literary Analysis Essay #4: Morrison's The Bluest Eye

Angela Davis, b. 1944

Literary Analysis Quiz #4 – Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye
No late essays or make-ups will be allowed!


Write an essay of between 350-500 words (MAXIMUM!) in answer to the following question.  Please follow standard essay-writing principles—strong thesis statement, thoughtful, well-reasoned, organized, and fully-developed argument, supporting details, and proper grammar. 

I am not asking you for your opinion in the absence of reasoned analysis, although you are free to include a final personal observation at the end of your essay. For this quiz, please paraphrase and include only page numbers, MLA-style. Ex: (54). Please base your response on textual evidence and quotes from the text.
This essay must be TYPED and DOUBLE-SPACED, per MLA format. Cite specifically to the source, using standard MLA-style documentation. Any paper that is not MLA-compliant (proper heading, title, citation style) will lose automatically lose 1 point. 

Here is the question:

In author Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, shame and internalized racial self-hatred are motivating factors in the actions of some of the major characters we meet. Discuss how these self-destructive factors manifest themselves in two (2) of the following characters: Junior, Pecola, Geraldine, or Cholly. 

 *For each 10 minutes that you are late to class, 1 point will be deducted from the essay.

Film Screening 11/30 and 12/2: Marlon Riggs's "Black Is...Black Ain't"

Marlon Riggs, 1957-1994
It's necessary to constantly remind ourselves that we are not an abomination. --Marlon Riggs

This Tuesday and Thursday (11/30 and 12/2), we will view Marlon Riggs's 1994 documentary Black Is...Black Ain't. Here is a link to some more information about Marlon Riggs, his life, and his work:

Marlon Riggs, The Museum of Broadcasting 

So much of my life has been about self-effacement, pretense, masquerading, concealment, and indirection. --Marlon Riggs

Below is a poem by Audre Lorde (1934-1992). Here is a link to more information on Lorde, her life, and her work:  

Audre Lorde, 1934-1992
Audre Lorde: Voices from the Gaps


is the total black, being spoken
from the earth's inside.
There are many kinds of open
how a diamond comes into a knot of flame
how sound comes into a words, coloured
by who pays what for speaking.

Some words are open like a diamond
on glass windows
singing out within the crash of sun
Then there are words like stapled wagers
in a perforated book—buy and sign and tear apart—
and come whatever will all chances
the stub remains
an ill-pulled tooth with a ragged edge.
Some words live in my throat
breeding like adders. Other know sun
seeking like gypsies over my tongue
to explode through my lips
like young sparrows bursting from shell.
Some words
bedevil me

Love is word, another kind of open.
As the diamond comes into a knot of flame
I am Black because I come from the earth's inside
Now take my word for jewel in the open light.
                                                           --Audre Lorde 

Guidelines for ENG 238 Research Paper

Ralph Waldo Ellison (1914-1994). Novelist, essayist, literary critic. Author of Invisible Man, Juneteenth, and Three Days Before the Shooting, and the essay collections Shadow and Act and Going to the Territory.

Novelist, essayist, professor, and literary critic Toni Morrison (b. 1931)

You will write a final research essay of 5-7 pages, allowing you the luxury of extended thought and discussion of a dominant theme in one of the major works we have read this semester (Ex: The Heroic Slave, Our Nig, Passing, The Bluest Eye). This essay, worth 30% of your final course grade, will be written utilizing Modern Language Association guidelines.

ABSTRACT: You must present a 1-paragraph abstract of approximately 75-100 words summarizing the paper topic and how you plan to proceed, detailing the following: why you chose it; what you intend to examine; what library resources you intend to use to complete the assignment.

DUE DATE FOR ABSTRACT: Thursday, 12/9.

RESEARCH PAPER: For your essay, you may want to focus on one of the major themes we have discussed during the course of the semester.

SAMPLE THEMES: abolitionism, accommodationism, adventure, aesthetics, alienation, childhood, class distinctions, colorism/color consciousness, community, corporeality, education, equality, family, femininity, feminism, freedom, gender roles, hypocrisy, individuality, integration, intellectualism, interracialism, law, literacy, masculinity, morality, passing, poverty, race relations, racism, radicalism, rebellion, religion, repatriation, responsibility, revolution, science, segregation, separatism, sexism, sexual exploitation, sexuality, slavery, stereotyping, violence. Some of these themes overlap—your thesis should reflect your theme in a clear, well-articulated manner.

The paper will follow MLA guidelines in matters of form (for complete MLA style, click at left on course blog), and it will contain a Works Cited page, in-text citations to those sources, and a complete outline.  YOUR PAPER WILL BE GRADED ON CONTENT AND MECHANICS (see Student Checklist for Papers).

You must use a total of ten (10) in-text citations from at least five (5) sources, in any combination, for your essay.

For this final research paper, YOU MAY NOT USE the following as sources, as they are NOT considered scholarly works: SparkNotes, Wikipedia,* CliffsNotes, ClassicNotes, Enotes, GradeSaver, or any other student guides.  

*A Wikipedia entry may NOT be used as a source—however, if the “Source” section of a Wikipedia entry contains a scholarly work (a journal article or academic book) that you want to quote in your paper, you are free to retrieve the work from the library (hard copy or from a database) and incorporate it into your paper.

WORKS CITED PAGE: You must present a Works Cited page of sources (books, journal articles, newspaper articles, media sources, Internet sources) used in your research paper.  The page will consist of no fewer than five (5) outside sources.  At least three (3) of the sources must come from scholarly books or articles on the main topic.  Internet sources can comprise no more than two (2) of the sources.    

OUTLINE: An outline is required as part of the grade for the research paper.  This outline must directly correspond to the research paper.

DUE DATE FOR FINAL PAPER: Thursday, 12/16 at BEGINNING OF CLASS (10:00 am.)*



Friday, November 12, 2010

Literary Analysis Quiz #3: Nella Larsen's Passing

 African American girl, full-length portrait, seated on stool, facing slightly right. Photo by Thomas E. Askew. From Types of American Negroes, compiled and prepared by W.E.B. Du Bois, v. 1, no. 59. Part of the Paris Exposition of 1900.

No late essays or make-ups will be allowed, per the syllabus.
Write an essay of between 450-500 words in answer to ONE of the following questions.  Please follow standard essay-writing principles—strong thesis statement, thoughtful, well-reasoned, organized, and fully-developed argument, supporting details, and proper grammar. This essay must be TYPED and DOUBLE-SPACED, per MLA format. Cite specifically to the source, using standard MLA-style documentation. 
1)    In her introduction to Nella Larsen’s Passing, critic Thadious M. Davis writes that “…Larsen represents passing as a practical, emancipatory option, a means by which people of African descent could permeate what W.E.B. DuBois termed ‘the veil of color caste.’”

Question: How is this idea of “freedom” exemplified in the novel?

2)    Critic Deborah E. McDowell writes: “In Passing, understanding that Irene Redfield, from whose perspective much of the novel is told, is an unreliable narrator, is key to understanding the novel. Equally important is the function of Clare and Irene as doubles, a strategy that undermines Irene’s authority as the center of racial consciousness, and uncovers the issues of sexuality and class that an exclusive focus on race conceals.”

Question: The metaphor of “passing” accrues several layers of meaning. What are they? How do they relate to each other?

3)    “[Irene] was caught between two allegiances, different, yet the same. Herself. Her race. Race: The thing that bound and suffocated her. Whatever steps she took, or if she took none at all, something would be crushed. A person or the race. Clare, herself, or the race. Or, it might be all three.”

Question: Clare’s death at the end of Passing remains mysterious—was she killed, did she jump, or did she accidentally fall to her death? Where do you locate Irene in the outcome of the novel? Make a case for your theory after reading the above quote.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Passing, Hollywood-Style!

What follows are two scenes from the film adaptations of novelist Fannie Hurst's Imitation of Life (clip misspells "imitation"). The first version, made in 1934, stars African American performers Louise Beavers (Delilah) and the luminous Fredi Washington (Peola) as the mother and daughter, respectively. The second adaptation, filmed in 1959, features Juanita Moore (Delilah) as the long-suffering mother, and Susan Kohner (Sarah Jane) as her daughter. Interestingly, Susan Kohner is a white actress passing as a black woman passing as a white woman in this version.

Imitation of Life, 1934. Delilah (Louise Beavers) and Peola (Fredi Washington).

 Imitation of Life, 1959. Annie (Juanita Moore) and Sarah Jane (Susan Kohner).

Friday, October 8, 2010

Harriet Wilson's Our Nig

"Only the BLACK WOMAN can say "when and where I enter, in the quiet, undisputed dignity of my womanhood, without violence and without suing for special patronage, then and there, the whole Negro race enters with me."--Anna Julia Cooper, A Voice from the South, 1892

1861 photo of girls in the school yard of the Colored Orphan Asylum, located at 5th Ave. & 43rd St. in New York City. 

As I mentioned in class, Wilson's autobiographical novel melds the two most popular literary genres of the 19th century: the slave narrative and the sentimental novel. 

I would like you to consider how this novel fits in with the other works we have read this semester, or other works you may have read outside of this class (written during the same era), and to think about the following questions:

  • How does this novel compare with other works--what are the similarities, and what are the differences? 
  • What is significant about the prefatory note that precedes the beginning of the story? 
  • What major themes emerge in this novel? 
  • What is Harriet Wilson's motive for writing Our Nig that sets her apart from her (white women) contemporaries?
  • How do you "read" race, gender, and class in Our Nig?
I would like you to think about these questions as you read. Please read up to Chapter Seven (7), and make some notes on passages of significance to you!
All best,
Prof. Williams