Blog Post 14: Lost and Found

Warning!!: Based on what happens in our reading for Monday and what I’m asking you to write about here, I imagine that spoilers will abound in people’s posts to this thread. So while you should address the specifics of this directly in what you write, please, do not read what others have written here before you either read for Monday or make your own post. 

And now back to our show…

Hi everyone,

To be deliberately vague (see above), the novel takes a sudden turn in our reading for Monday, so for this blog post you should reflect on that and put it in the context of the novel as a whole and the issues we’ve been discussing and thinking about: how does what happens relate to and/or shift what we’ve been saying about narration and narrative/authorial control? About gender roles and power dynamics? About the genres and narratives this novel is addressing? About how these things relate and intersect, or about other issues that seem significant in the novel to you?  You’re welcome to reflect on the significance of this section’s narrative developments in any way that seems important to you, as long as you do so through a close examination of text from this section and connect it to larger issues and questions in the novel.

Reminder: your response should go in the comments section for this post — click the “Leave a Comment” link at the top of the post. It should be at least 250 words, and is due by midnight on Sunday, December 4th. After class on Monday, you should return to this thread and post a response to one classmate’s post by class time Wednesday the 7th. If you have any questions, let me know via email.

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Blog Post 13: Missing Connections

Hi everyone,

Hope your heads have cleared from the intertwinings and doublings of Poe’s story yesterday and that you’re seeing your ways towards some downtime over break soon. Obviously there is no response post due tomorrow, but here’s a thread for first day with Gone Girl next Monday when we come back.

As I mentioned yesterday, this final text of the semester presents something of a shift from our path up to now: Flynn’s novel takes place in a realistic, contemporary world, without anything supernatural or otherworldly in it. Part of our task with this text (both in class and in the final paper) will be to make it part of our larger ongoing conversation by connecting it to the rest of our material, so I thought it would be helpful to use this blog post to start that thinking. In your post, you should engage our first chunk of the reading in some way that connects it to the questions and concerns of an earlier text from the semester. You should ground your connection in some of our usual quotation and close analysis of Flynn’s writing (although you don’t need to directly quote the other text you’re connecting it to here). Use that quotation and analysis to make a connection that points at something larger — rather than comparing two characters, for example, think of how and why Flynn and another author address a conceptual issue or question in similar and/or different ways.

One more rule: If you happen to read ahead, or if you’ve seen the film of this novel — please, no spoilers!!

Happy reading and happy break — see you all next week.

Reminder: your response should go in the comments section for this post — click the “Leave a Comment” link at the top of the post. It should be at least 250 words, and is due by midnight on Sunday, November 27th. After class on Monday, you should return to this thread and post a response to one classmate’s post by class time Wednesday the 30th. If you have any questions, let me know via email.

Blog Post 12: What’s in a Name?

Hi everyone,

Nice job again today pulling together so many ethical and narrative strands of The Road in our last dicussion. On Monday we’ll look at our last piece of short fiction for the semester, Edgar Allan Poe’s “William Wilson.” Poe’s story thinks through a different kind of Other than anything we’ve looked at so far this semester — one that seems strangely like the self…

So for this blog post, you should focus in on and analyze some specific passage of the story as a way of thinking about the larger issues raised by the doubling that’s at the heart of this story: what does it mean to have a double — both for this specific narrator and more broadly? What’s particularly significant about this kind of double? What questions does this dynamic raise for us as readers — what do we have to think about when we confront such a double, both in terms of this particular text and in terms of larger issues of identity, presence, embodiment, humanness?

Reminder: your response should go in the comments section for this post — click the “Leave a Comment” link at the top of the post. It should be at least 250 words, and is due by midnight on Sunday, November 20th. If you have any questions, let me know via email.

Blog Post 11: On The Road Again

Hi everyone,

We covered some interesting ground today, leaving all sorts of things to pick up and think about further next week — questions of ethics and survival; of humanity, inhumanity, and animality; of progress, evolution, and decline; and of how the gendering of the novel and its characters might or might not shape how we think about these things. So for this blog post, you might think about how any of these issues continues to develop in the section we’ll discuss on Monday. Or you’re also welcome to address any other issues,whether they be related to these or separate. The only requirement here is that you ground your thinking in some quotation and close analysis of material from this section — show where and how the issues you’re discussing play out in the specific text of the novel.

Have a good weekend — see you all Monday!

Reminder: your response should go in the comments section for this post — click the “Leave a Comment” link at the top of the post. It should be at least 250 words, and is due by midnight on Sunday, November 13th. After class on Monday, you should return to this thread and post a response to one classmate’s post by class time Wednesday the 16th. If you have any questions, let me know via email.

Blog Post 10: Quotations and Questions

Hi everyone,

As a way of starting our thinking about McCarthy’s The Road, this blog post is largely open-ended much as our some of our other recent ones have been, with a little bit of structuring and direction to help us raise issues in the text for Monday. In your post, you should do two things:

  • First, focus in and do a little quotation and close analysis of one passage from this first chunk of the text to talk about its significance in terms of larger issues in the novel — what seems to be important in the section you choose, and how does McCarthy make that happen in his language? Our collective goal here should be to cover as much ground as possible, so look through what’s been posted before you start writing, and if someone has already written on the passage you’re interested in, try to take your analysis of that piece in a different direction or write about another section of the text.
  • Second, you should pose two specific analytical questions for us to think about in our discussion. Think of these as jumping-off points for our larger group thinking — these can focus on moments or issues you find puzzling, or larger ideas you think are important to discuss. These questions can come from the passage you write about, but they don’t necessarily have to.

We’ll use some of this material in class to structure how we think through the first section of the text — I’m interested to see what everyone brings to the table!

Reminder: your response should go in the comments section for this post — click the “Leave a Comment” link at the top of the post. It should be at least 250 words, and is due by midnight on Sunday, November 6th. After class on Monday, you should return to this thread and post a response to one classmate’s post by class time Wednesday the 9th. If you have any questions, let me know via email.

Blog Post 9: Passages

Hi everyone,

As I mentioned at the end of class today, our reading for Monday presents us with another kind of challenge in this challenging novel. Just as we’re becoming more adept at grappling with the narrative, historical, and ethical questions of Morrison’s writing, we’re confronted in this section with a different kind of experimental writing that seems to raise many of the issues we’ve been talking about so far — memory, trauma, family dynamics, ownership and control — in a new and different mode of writing.

So for this blog post, you should spend some time thinking and writing about the experimental sections that appear towards the end of our section for Monday. Here are a few things you might consider: what’s it like to read these? How do we have to read these differently from the rest of the novel (or from novels overall, for that matter)? What seem to be the important features here in terms of form and style? You’re also free to respond to these pieces in whatever critical, analytical way seems useful to you, as long as you ground your thinking in some quotation and close analysis of the text there.

Reminder: your response should go in the comments section for this post — click the “Leave a Comment” link at the top of the post. It should be at least 250 words, and is due by midnight on Sunday, October 30th. After class on Monday, you should return to this thread and post a response to one classmate’s post by class time Wednesday the 2nd. If you have any questions, let me know via email.

Blog Post 8: Rememories

Hi everyone,

Since people have been doing a nice job pursuing their own interests and lines of thinking in the blog recently, I’m going to make this first post on Beloved open-ended and up to you again. There’s lots to think about in this first section of the novel — the question of what Morrison is doing with time, memory, and history is certainly one important thing we’ll discuss Monday, so you might write on that if it interests you. But feel free to focus on whatever seems significant as something that would allow you a way into thinking about the larger issues of the novel. The only fundamental requirement here is that you ground your thinking in close analysis of specific language from the novel — think about the larger questions and issues that Morrison’s rich prose opens up and what seems significant in it to you. Have a good weekend, and I’ll see you Monday!

Reminder: your response should go in the comments section for this post — click the “Leave a Comment” link at the top of the post. It should be at least 250 words, and is due by midnight on Sunday, October 23rd. After class on Monday, you should return to this thread and post a response to one classmate’s post by class time Wednesday the 26th. If you have any questions, let me know via email.

Blog Post 7: Dismantling Bodies

Hi everyone,

Nathanael West’s A Cool Million, our text for Monday (following the flipped schedule for next week I mentioned today), offers us a different direction in which to take our thinking so far about fiction, narrative, and the monstrous — West’s novella takes place in a world that lacks the fantastical elements that have defined the texts we’ve read so far, but is perhaps no less monstrous in its own way.

I’m going to make this first post on this text open-ended — you’re welcome to engage our reading for Monday along whatever lines intrigue you, as long as you frame your response in a critical, analytical way and ground it in quotation and analysis of some specific material from the text. One way to approach it might be to think about where and how we might find monstrosity in this text, and what West is doing with monstrosity as a narrative and social tool. But there are lots of other issues to explore here as well — I’m intrigued to see what everyone makes of this material!

Reminder: your response should go in the comments section for this post — click the “Leave a Comment” link at the top of the post. It should be at least 250 words, and is due by midnight on Sunday, October 16th. After class on Monday, you should return to this thread and post a response to one classmate’s post by class time Wednesday the 19th. If you have any questions, let me know via email.

 

Blog Post 6: Changes

Hi everyone,
Hope you’re having a good weekend so far. Our text for this week, Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis, introduces us to a different social and historical context and a different kind of narrative world, so let’s use this blog post to set up some foundational thinking about how it’s addressing some of our continuing concerns: what seems to be important about monstrosity in this text? What characterizes it here, and what issues does it seem to be addressing? large
You’re free to pursue these questions in whatever way seems relevant and important to you, as long as you work directly with the language of Kafka’s story to develop your thinking.
Happy reading, and paper-writing — let me know if you have any questions as you’re working on things.
Reminder: your response should go in the comments section for this post — click the “Leave a Comment” link at the top of the post. It should be at least 250 words, and is due by midnight on Sunday, October 9th. After class on Monday, you should return to this thread and post a response to one classmate’s post by class time Friday the 14th (remember this is a changed date due to the Wednesday holiday). If you have any questions, let me know via email.

Blog Post 5: Clowning Around with Dracula

Hi everyone,

As promised in class today, here’s an open-ended thread for writing about our next section of Dracula for Monday’s class. Feel free to post on whatever seems significant to you in this section, either continuing what we’ve been discussing or addressing new issues that interest you — there’s lots to say about some of the key concepts we discussed today (as well as the ones we didn’t), and lots of other issues to explore as well.selin-gureralp_apostcardfromandy_fiction_ind_1 Just make sure that you ground your thinking in close analysis of specific language from this section of the novel. Enjoy!

Reminder: your response should go in the comments section for this post — click the “Leave a Comment” link at the top of the post. It should be at least 250 words, and is due by midnight on Sunday, October 2nd. After class on Monday, you should return to this thread and post a response to one classmate’s post by class time Wednesday the 5th. If you have any questions, let me know via email.