Thursday, September 11, 2014

Prompts for Silko and Blake

Prompt 1

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.

Note that the words of this assignment are the same as they were last week - but they don’t mean the same thing. For this week, you have been through one detailed discussion of Storyteller, and you have read the second half of it. So you’re following the same prompt, but you are better (or at least differently) prepared for it, and should therefore approach it differently. You may, at most, borrow a couple sentences from last week’s essay if you choose to do the same prompt again - in other words, you can use a common idea, but no more.

Prompt 2

(Research) Pick one repeating character or motif in Storyteller which makes sense to research. For instance, you might start out with the stereotypes of the Navajo that Silko repeatedly invokes, or you might be interested in the Yellow Woman stories themselves. Go do moderate research from the library only - that means you must cite a book or journal article that you got from Hillman, not including encyclopedias and the like. In your blog post you should do two things:

1) Briefly summarize your research, citing your source properly - note that I am providing some quick refreshers about research in general and the MLA method of citation in particular below. The MLA method of citation is not required, but you are required to cite your source using some method of citation.

2) Begin to make an argument that uses that research, which references the text as well as the research. E.g., “Given my research on Buffalo Man, I believe we should read the ‘Cottonwood’ poems as follows.”

Note that you are under no obligation to produce a fully functioning essay: you need to do your research and begin to show how you would develop an essay from it, but you may not have the time & space to make it complete & self contained.

Prompt 3

Pick no more than three of Blake’s poems. If you work with multiple poems, I’d like to understand why you are using them together. Your job is to analyze the use of either...

a) color, or
b) a particular image (a repeating image of you are doing multiple poems) which doesn’t seem to be directly mentioned in the poem itself

… and how that color, or that image, impacts the meaning of the text.

In other words, by paying attention to that color or that part of the engraving which doesn’t seem to be referenced in the text itself, how should we read the text differently?

Citation Resources (mostly for prompt 2)

I am giving you a link to the MLA Bibliography, on Pitt’s digital library (you may need to be on campus, or to log in remotely to the digital library, to access it). For research in literary criticism, this is the usual starting point. For instance, you might load the bibliography, then conduct a search on “Silko” to see the wealth of research which is open to you.

Plagiarism and Citation: my summary

Plagiarism: Pitt’s English Department

MLA Citation: Purdue’s Page

MLA Bibliography: via Ebsco

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