BIU English 106 Slide set #5: Nov. 19 - Dec. 5Introduction to Literary Forms and Critical Writing I Dr. Daniel Feldman firstname.lastname@example.org
Writing Blurbs 6• I tend to think of fiction as being mainly about characters and human beings and inner experience, whereas essays can be much more expository and didactic and more about subjects or ideas. If some people read my fiction and see it as fundamentally about philosophical ideas, what it probably means is that these are pieces where the characters are not as alive and interesting as I meant them to be. --David Foster Wallace, novelist
Citation• What is citation? – Reference to a book, paper, website, or author quoted in a scholarly work.• Why cite?
Why cite?What few undergraduates grasp, given that money is paid in exchange for their heads being cracked open and education poured in, is that you don’t purchase ideas with tuition. The people you read actually own their ideas, and deserve credit for them. Think of it as idea rental: you are free to use any ideas you want, but you must distinguish between an idea, or point of analysis, that is actually yours and one that has been offered up by someone else whose book you have read.Potter, Claire. “If I Had College-Age Children.” The Chronicle.com. 7 Dec. 2011. Web.
Why cite?“Your research paper is a collaboration between you and your sources. To be fair and ethical, you must acknowledge your debt to the writers of those sources. If you don’t, you commit plagiarism, a serious academic offense” (Hacker 376).Hacker, Diana and Nancy Sommers. A Writer’s Reference. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2011. Print.
What is plagiarism?1) Failing to cite direct quotations and borrowed ideas.2) Failing to enclose borrowed language in quotation marks.3) Failing to put summaries and paraphrases in your own words. (ibid.)
Plagiarism or Not?The great fear of the Romans was of revolt. . . . For many Romans it was impossible to see a Jew bearing arms as anything but an incipient uprising, complete with arson, murder, pillage, and rapine. The empire was haunted throughout by a deep and horrible fear of insurrection. – From Cornish, Dudley Taylor. The Sable Arm. Lawrence: UP of Kansas, 1987. Print. – [The source passage is from page 158.]• Historian Dudley Taylor Cornish observes that many Romans were so terrified of revolts that the sight of armed Jews filled them with fear (158). – Plagiarized?
Plagiarism or Not?The great fear of the Romans was of revolt. . . . For many Romans it was impossible to see a Jew bearing arms as anything but an incipient uprising, complete with arson, murder, pillage, and rapine. The empire was haunted throughout by a deep and horrible fear of insurrection. – From Cornish, Dudley Taylor. The Sable Arm. Lawrence: UP of Kansas, 1987. Print. – [The source passage is from page 158.]• Many Romans found it impossible to see a Jew bearing arms as anything but an incipient uprising complete with arson, murder, pillage, and rapine. – Plagiarized?
Plagiarism or Not?The great fear of the Romans was of revolt. . . . For many Romans it was impossible to see a Jew bearing arms as anything but an incipient uprising, complete with arson, murder, pillage, and rapine. The empire was haunted throughout by a deep and horrible fear of insurrection. – From Cornish, Dudley Taylor. The Sable Arm. Lawrence: UP of Kansas, 1987. Print. – [The source passage is from page 158.]• Historian Dudley Taylor Cornish asserts that "for many Romans it was impossible to see a Jew bearing arms as anything but an incipient uprising complete with arson, murder, pillage, and rapine" (158). – Plagiarized?
How does one cite?MLA parenthetical styleTwo parts: 1) Parenthetical citations in essay 2) Works cited list after essay
How to cite by page #• 1) Sample statement in essay text: – Medieval Europe was a place both of “raids, pillages, slavery, and extortion” and of “traveling merchants, monetary exchange, towns if not cities, and active markets in grain” (Townsend 10). » Close quotes, place author name and page number in parentheses with no additional punctuation, final period punctuation. – Townsend argues that Medieval Europe was a place both of “raids, pillages, slavery, and extortion” and of “traveling merchants, monetary exchange, towns if not cities, and active markets in grain” (10).
How to cite by page #• 2) Sample standard reference for works cited list: Townsend, Michael. The Story of the Soil. Princeton: Princeton UP, 2001. Townsend, Michael. “Medieval Betrayals: Land Plots and Empire.” The Journal of Medieval Literature 21.1 (2001): 7-26.
How to cite by URL/title• 1) Sample citations in essay where possible: – Kurosawa’s Rashomon was one of the first Japanese films to attract a Western audience. – Chan considers the same topic in the context of Hong Kong cinema. » Essay provides maximum available information without parenthetical citation. » Often preferable to include a name in the text. – The utilitarianism of the Victorians “attempted to reduce decision-making about human actions to a ‘felicific calculus’” (Everett). » Author cited but no page number available.
Sample citations by URL/title• 2) Sample references for digital / film sources in works cited list: – Chan, Evans. “Postmodernism and Hong Kong Cinema.” Postmodern Culture 10.3 (2000): n. pag. Project Muse. Web. – Everett, Glenn. “Utilitarianism.” The Victorian Web. 11 Oct. 2002. Web. – Kurosawa, Akira, dir. Rashomon. Daiei, 1950. Film.
Use Quotations Judiciously• When the quotation is especially vivid or expressive.• When technical accuracy is necessary.• When it is important to cite a contentious perspective verbatim.• When the experts words lend gravitas to an argument.• When the quotation’s exact words pertain to your analysis. – (Hacker 380)
EndingsYes, the newspapers were right: snow was general all over Ireland. It was falling on every part of the dark central plain, on the treeless hills … falling, too, upon every part of the lonely churchyard on the hill where Michael Furey lay buried. It lay thickly drifted on the crooked crosses and headstones, on the spears of the little gate, on the barren thorns. His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.
EndingsMen like poets, rush into the middest, in medias res, when they are born; they also die in media rebus, and to make sense of their span they need fictive concords with origins and ends, such as give meaning to lives and to poems. The End they imagine will reflect their irreducibly intermediary preoccupations. --Frank Kermode, The Sense of an Ending
EndingsWhat human need can be more profound than to humanize the common death? When we survive, we make little images of the moments which have seemed like ends; we thrive on epochs.It reflects our deep need for intelligible Ends. We project ourselves—a small, humble elect, perhaps—past the End, so as to see the structure whole, a thing we cannot do from our spot of time in the middle.
EndingsWhat human need can be more profound than to humanize the common death? When we survive, we make little images of the moments which have seemed like ends; we thrive on epochs.It reflects our deep need for intelligible Ends. We project ourselves—a small, humble elect, perhaps—past the End, so as to see the structure whole, a thing we cannot do from our spot of time in the middle.Arbitrary chronological divisions are intemporal, but we project them onto history, helping us find ends and beginnings.
PlotPlot as I conceive it is the design and intention of narrative, what shapes a story and gives it a certain direction or intent of meaning. We might think of plot as the logic or perhaps the syntax of a certain kind of discourse, one that develops its propositions only through temporal sequence and progression.
PlotNarrative is one of the large categories or systems of understanding we use in our negotiations with reality, specifically, in the case of narrative, with the problem of temporality: mans time-boundedness, his consciousness of existence within the limits of mortality. And plot is the principal ordering force of those meanings that we try to wrest from human temporality. --Peter Brooks, Reading for the Plot
Elements of Narrative• Mimesis: the representation or imitation of reality; the verisimilitude of literature• Sjuzet, or Story: the order of events presented in the narrative discourse • “What we are told”• Fabula, or Plot: the order of events referred to by the narrative. • “What really happened” – BUT: We only know FABULA/PLOT from SJUZET/STORY!!!
For Wed, 1.12• For Wednesday 1.12 – Read: Byatt, “The Thing in the Forest” and Brothers Grimm, “Little Red Riding Hood” • Via email • Byatt, on reserve in library for photocopying• Writing for next Monday, 12.12 – 2-3-page essay on plot structure or genre in “Indian Camp,” “Happy Endings,” “Thing in the Forest,” or Memento
Writing Blurbs 7“The most important thing to learn in college is … how to use an ellipsis correctly.…Invariably the student who does so is a top performer who comes to class prepared, does the work without complaining, engages in thought-provoking discussions, turns in assignments on time, and does not grumble about the workload. That does not mean that all students who use the ellipsis incorrectly are dolts or troublemakers—not so. But there is often a consistent, less-than-full effort apparent in their work.” --Franci Washburn
Beginnings“Beginning are fun” --why?• “Once upon a time”• “There was/were once”
Genre• Genre -- A category of artistic creation, as in literature, characterized by similar form, style, conventions• Examples: Fairy tale, realist novel, Gothic novel, romantic comedy, thriller
What are the conventions of fairy tale?• Vladimir Propp, The Morphology of the Folktale, 1928 (trans. English 1968) – Владимир Яковлевич Пропп • «Морфология сказки» (Ленинград, 1928) – 7 (or 8) types of “Actants,” characters – 31 (or 32) types of “functions”
Assignment for Mon., Dec 52-3-page essay (~600 words) on genre or narrative:• How does Byatt’s “The Thing in the Forest” exploit and challenge the genre of fairy tale?• How does Atwood’s “Happy Endings” exploit and challenge the genre of romance?• How do the beginnings and/or endings of one of this week’s readings influence your analysis of the text? – E.g.: How does the first (and last) line of Byatt’s text influence your understanding of the story?
Assignment for Mon., Dec 52-3-page essay (~600 words) on genre or narrative:• How does the plot structure of any one our readings this week affect the verisimilitude (“believability”) of its characters?• “I think there are things that are real--more real than we are,” says one of the characters in “The Thing in the Forest.” Such as what? How does narrative contribute to notions of what is real? What is invented, imagined, and real in narrative? Use examples from this week’s readings.
Number the Narratives: A few last words on genreThe narratives of the world are numberless. Narrative is first and foremost a prodigious variety of genres, themselves distributed amongst different substances – as though any material were fit to receive man’s stories. Able to be carried by articulated language, spoken or written, fixed or moving images, gestures, and the ordered mixture of all these substances; narrative is present in myth, legend, fable, tale, novella, epic, history, tragedy, drama, comedy, mime, painting (think of Carpaccio’s Saint Ursula), stained glass windows, cinema, comics, news item, conversation.
Number the Narratives: A few last words on genreMoreover, under this almost infinite diversity of forms, narrative is present in every age, in every place, in every society; it begins with the very history of mankind and there nowhere is nor has been a people without narrative. All classes, all human groups, have their narratives, enjoyment of which is very often shared by men with different, even opposing, cultural backgrounds. Caring nothing for the division between good and bad literature, narrative is international, transhistorical, transcultural: it is simply there, like life itself. (79)Barthes, Roland. “Introduction to the Structural Analysis of Narratives,” in Image-Music-Text. London: Fontana, 1977, p. 79.
New Genres?• Genres without beginning or end – Prequels – Soap operas• Hybrids • e.g. Byatt’s “The Thing in the Forest”
Narrative Closure “Taboo” By Enrique Anderson Imbert (1966) His guardian angel whispered to Fabian, behind hisshoulder:“Careful, Fabian! It is decreed that you will die the minuteyou pronounce the word doyen.”“Doyen?” asks Fabian, intrigued.And he dies.
Narrative Closure “Bedtime Story” By Jeffrey Whitmore“Careful honey, it’s loaded,” he said, reentering the bedroom.Her back rested against the headboard.“This for your wife?”“No, too chancy. Im hiring a professional.”“How about me?”He smirked. “Cute, but who’d be dumb enough to hire a lady hit man?”She wet her lips, sighting along the barrel. “Your wife.”
Writing Blurbs 7Writing can be a pretty desperate endeavor, because it is about some of our deepest needs: our need to be visible, to be heard, our need to make sense of our lives, to wake up and grow and belong. It is no wonder if we sometimes tend to take ourselves perhaps a bit too seriously. --Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird
Midterm Writing Tips• Analyze, don’t summarize! – Write for your colleagues and classmates• Writing is the closest thing to telepathy… ..but only when written. Invisible writing does not communicate!
Midterm Writing Tips• Review use of commas, semicolons.• Use narrative present: “Byatt challenges,” “the protagonist believes,” “the reader assumes”• Indent paragraphs: use the Tab key.• Format reminders: double-spaced, name and page # on every interior page
Midterm Writing Review1. People that live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.2. People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.3. People, who live in glass houses, shouldn’t throw stones.
Midterm Writing Review1. Romances are entertaining, they are full of exciting adventures.2. Romances are entertaining; they are full of exciting adventures.3. Romances are entertaining; for they are full of exciting adventures.
Memory and Narrative• Narrative-->Character – Narrative links successive, potentially random events or actions into a causative, coherent chain • Story creates a frame for events. – Character links actions and events to a consistent psychology. • Character creates an agent for action.
Memory and Narrative• Is character a product or prerequisite of narrative? – Can character (or story) precede a text?
Self and Story• Narrating “I” versus narrated “I”• Memory-->Story-->Self--> “I” through time Autobiography?
AutobiographyThe living author of a narrative can in no way be mistaken for the narrator of that narrative. --Barthes, “Structural Analysis” 52
Creative Nonfiction• Although it sounds a bit affected and presumptuous, “creative nonfiction” precisely describes what the form is all about. The word “creative” refers simply to the use of literary craft in presenting nonfiction—that is, factually accurate prose about real people and events—in a compelling, vivid manner. To put it another way, creative nonfiction writers do not make things up; they make ideas and information that already exist more interesting and, often, more accessible. • Lee Gutkind, editor, Creative Nonfiction journal
Creative Nonfiction• “Though often reading like fiction, [it] is not fiction. It is, or should be, as reliable as the most reliable reportage, although it seeks a larger truth [my italics] than is possible through the mere compilation of verifiable facts, the use of direct quotations, and adherence to the rigid organizational style of the older form.” • Gay Talese, new journalist, Fame and Obscurity
For Monday 10.12• Writing assignment on character and voice – How does a narrative’s voice or point of view affect your reading of it? – How is character produced? – How would you describe a significant story or episode in your life or which you witnessed?