LITR201-1403B-06 : Literature: A Reflection of Life

Aug 19th, 2014
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 LITR201-1403B-06 : Literature: A Reflection of Life

Part A: Values

What is literature, and what does it have to do with people today—especially those of you who are studying at a “technical” university? When many think of literature, they envision old, dusty, leather-bound books written about people in ages past who spoke strangely (“Hark! Who goest there?”) and wore corsets or top hats. But literature is arguably more relevant today in our bustling 21st century than ever before, and reading it can be a fun, meaningful endeavor. So open your textbook, your mind, and your heart, and experience the joy and inspiration of reading stories, poems, and plays as never before.

1.  Define literature in your own words.

2.  In what ways do you suppose reading literature might benefit people personally and professionally?

3.  What are 3 of the best pieces of fiction that you have ever read? (Fiction includes stories, novels, or poems, and not biographies, factual accounts, or how-to books.)

4.  What did you like about the 3 stories?

Your beliefs become your thoughts, 
Your thoughts become your words, 
Your words become your actions, 
Your actions become your habits, 
Your habits become your values, 
Your values become your destiny.
― Mahatma Gandhi

In this course, you are studying literature, but you are also exploring human values. Woven throughout the fiction, poetry, and drama you will be reading are considerations such as What is right? What is wrong? and What makes our lives meaningful? One way to think about values is to ask yourself, “What in my life is most important to me? Who or what do I value?” 

In 1–2 paragraphs, list 5 of your core values (e.g., family, work, health, creativity, honesty, fun, spirituality, freedom, beauty, loyalty, and so on), and explain how these values have shaped who you are now and how you feel they will continue to, as Gandhi said, "shape your destiny."

Part B: Short story, “Lust”

This assignment begins the process of exposing you to various forms of short fiction. In Literature to Go, read the short story “Lust,” by Susan Minot. In 3–5 paragraphs, discuss your reaction to the story by answering the following questions:

1.  After reading this piece, what are your thoughts about the narrator? Do you think you would feel the same way if the narrator was a male?

2.  What do you think about the title of the piece? Was the story what you expected?

3.  The author intentionally breaks up the flow of the narrative with spaces in between individual segments. Why do you suppose she chose to present the information this way? What impact does it have?

4.  Based on descriptions of places where the narrator has her experiences, where is the setting? What clues does the narrator provide to tell you more about her situation?

5.  Describe Minot’s tone. Do you think the narrator enjoys her experiences? How else do you think she feels about the boys she talks about here?

“In Literature to Go read the short story, “Lust” by Susan Minot (pp. 230 – 37) and in 3 to 5 paragraphs, discuss your reaction to the story by answering the following 5 questions (refer to listing above).

This text book will be used throughout the next few weeks please make reference to it

http://wow.coursesmart.com/9781457697159/firstsection#X2ludGVybmFsX0J2ZGVwRmxhc2hSZWFkZXI/eG1saWQ9OTc4MTQ1NzY5NzE1OS8yMzA

HOW TO RESPOND TO STORIES;

Link 1: Text: http://www.gordonstate.edu/Faculty/sraynie/how%20to%20write%20a%20literary%20essay.htm

Link 2: Text: http://www.kareyperkins.com/classes/420/420litessay.html

Link 3: Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uwcbjswsx80

Part 3

you will be analyzing two short stories, “Love in L.A.” and “A Good Man Is Hard to Find,” in terms of their similarities and differences.

Please write a comparison/contrast essay of 1200 words or more discussing the questions below. Remember to begin your paper with an engaging introduction and clear thesis statement, develop each point in the body of your paper using examples and quotes from the stories, and conclude your paper with a restatement of your thesis and closing remarks. Also, be sure to maintain your credibility by including in-text citations and a reference list correctly formatted in APA style.

  1. Setting: In many ways the two short stories are set in radically different times and places. There is, however, at least one commonality that both settings share. Discuss the differences and at least one similarity.
  2. Characters: 
  • “Love in L.A.:” Describe Jake, the main character. What kind of man is he? Is he the story’s protagonist or antagonist? Explain your answer. Describe Mariana. How does she perceive her interactions with Jake? In what ways are his intentions different from hers? 
  • “A Good Man Is Hard to Find:” Discuss the personalities and motives (i.e., what does each seem to want?) of the following characters: the grandmother, Bailey, the children’s mother, the children, Red Sammy Butts, The Misfit, and the other two escaped criminals. 
Symbolism:
  • “Love in L.A.:” Both the car and freeway are symbolic in this story. What is the deeper meaning of each? 
  • “A Good Man Is Hard to Find:” What do each of these symbolize: the grandmother’s hat, the town of Toomsboro (hint: “Toom” sounds strikingly similar to another word) and The Misfit’s car?
Themes: What are the main themes/messages of each piece? What, in other words, do you think the authors, Dagoberto Gilb and Flannery O’Connor, are trying to communicate about life and human nature in their respective stories? Tone: What does Gilb’s tone seem to reveal about his attitude toward the characters and plot in “Love in L.A.?” Likewise, what does O’Connor’s tone seem to tell us about her attitude toward the characters and plot in “A Good Man Is Hard to Find?” Irony: In what ways do the titles of both stories contain irony? Moral Codes: (A moral code is an individual’s internal set of beliefs and principles that guides their conduct toward others. Everyone has a moral code, although not everyone’s behavior is necessarily “moral” or law-abiding.) 
  • “Love in L.A.:” What is Jakes’ moral code? Elaborate on your answer, using at least two examples from the story to support your opinion. 
  • “A Good Man Is Hard to Find:” By what moral codes do the grandmother and The Misfit live by? What external influences (upbringing, faith, experiences, etc.) have shaped their codes? Discuss the “goodness” (or lack thereof) of both characters. Do they or anyone else in the story qualify as a “good man?” Why or why not? 
Final Thoughts: Literature intersects with many areas of our lives, often providing commentary on cultural norms, and—in the case of the O’Connor story—the influence of religion on individuals and societies. In what ways has reading “Love in L.A.” and “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” impacted your own views on love, “goodness” and religious faith? 

EXAMPLE

Note this example of a solid body paragraph for an essay from “sample Paper” in the textbook  pp. 18-20:

  Marriage often establishes boundaries between people that make them unable to communicate with each other. The Mallards’ marriage was evidently crippled by both their inability to talk to one another and Mrs. Mallard’s conviction that her marriage was defined by a “powerful will bending hers in that blind persistence with which men and women believe they have a right to impose a private will upon a fellow-creature” (Chopin, 2014, p. 14). Yet she does not recognize that it is not just men who impose their will upon women and that the problems inherent in marriage affect men and women equally. To me, Mrs. Mallard is a somewhat sympathetic character, and I appreciate her longing to live out the “years to come that would belong to her absolutely” (Chopin, 2014. p. 14). However, I also believe that she could have tried to improve her own situation somehow, either by reaching out to her husband or by abandoning the marriage altogether. Chopin (2014) uses Mrs. Mallard’s tragedy to illuminate aspects of marriage that are harmful and, in this case, even deadly. Perhaps the Mallards’ relationship should be taken as a warning to others: sacrificing one’s own happiness in order to satisfy societal expectations can poison one’s life and even destroy entire families.

Development of the paragraph above.

Sentence

Purpose and example

Topic sentence

Marriage often establishes boundaries between people that make them unable to communicate with each other.

Development with well-integrated citation

The Mallards’ marriage was evidently crippled by both their inability to talk to one another and Mrs. Mallard’s conviction that her marriage was defined by a “powerful will bending hers in that blind persistence with which men and women believe they have a right to impose a private will upon a fellow-creature” (Chopin, 2014, p. 14).

Analysis

Yet she does not recognize that it is not just men who impose their will upon women and that the problems inherent in marriage affect men and women equally.

Development with well-integrated citation

To me, Mrs. Mallard is a somewhat sympathetic character, and I appreciate her longing to live out the “years to come that would belong to her absolutely” (Chopin, 2014. p. 14).

Analysis

However, I also believe that she could have tried to improve her own situation somehow, either by reaching out to her husband or by abandoning the marriage altogether. Chopin (2014) uses Mrs. Mallard’s tragedy to illuminate aspects of marriage that are harmful and, in this case, even deadly.

Concluding sentence

Perhaps the Mallards’ relationship should be taken as a warning to others: sacrificing one’s own happiness in order to satisfy societal expectations can poison one’s life and even destroy entire families.

Remarks: Note that the above paragraph uses quotations and summaries sparingly.  These are used to support the essay writer’s ideas.  Please use this example as a guide for proper paragraph development.

There are TWO types of resources:

PRIMARY: the poems, short stories or plays: what is written in the textbook under the Syllabus tab; these will support your ideas and observations.

SECONDARY: what the critics say; these will enhance your analysis.

Researching for secondary sources (what the critics say) about the poems, stories and plays.

1.  Go to the “Library” link at the top of the course

2.  Click on “Find Articles and Books”

3.  Type in your key-words for searches: author’s last name and title of work.

Example Frost “Road not taken”

4.  Review the listing that comes up: you will have access to Word or PDF files of relevant articles.


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