Sunday, August 31, 2014

Prompts for Ward and Silko

  1. Early in the 1929 section of Vertigo we receive a kind of pocket history of the United States. After thinking over this section and its relationship with the whole book in great detail, make an argument in something like this form: “the meaning of the history of America presented in ‘1929’ is x.” X, of course, is up to you. You should analyze details of images both in that pocket history of America and in other parts of the book in order to come to your conclusion. In other words, do not rely on easy generalizations - work with the details.
  2. Analyze the relationship between words and images in Storyteller as follows. Use one of the photographs to make an argument about one of the texts around it (the one before or the one behind), or vice-versa: use a text to interpret a photograph that borders it. For example, what does the photograph on page 31 teach us about the poem in which it is embedded? Note that you must have a single argument, for instance, “photograph x teaches us y about poem z.” If it is useful you might use multiple images or multiple texts, as long as you can make a single coherent argument from them, and focus on details - but you want to be as focused as possible.
  3. Using no more than two of Silko’s stories or poems (and optionally using one or more photographs), analyze the relationship between form/patterns and meaning in her work. For instance, what does it mean or why does it matter than the poem “Storytelling” is sometimes very narrow and sometimes somewhat broader and more varied? Or, what is the meaning of numbers in “Yellow Woman?” Or, why are certain poems centered? Note that I am giving examples of questions you might ask, but not of the arguments which are the answer to your questions. So an argument might end up looking something like this: “Silko centers some poems and not others because of x, which means y.”

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