I designed the following writing projects for a Freshman Composition Seminar in Literature of the Supernatural. The seminar featured a reading list of literary works with a supernatural theme drawn from a variety of countries, cultures, and historical periods.
LIBA102 Sections 16 & 17 SPRING 2004
You will have four writing projects based on course readings. Due dates for three of the projects are listed on the syllabus. Due dates for the fourth project, which will be based on your oral report, will be assigned individually. The projects will include some elements of research and will require you to relate course readings to other multimedia materials.
Rough Drafts: For each of the first three projects, you will create a rough draft that is at least 2-3 typed pages (10 or 12 point font, double-spaced) with an additional Works Cited page for documenting research materials. Your classmates and your instructor will critique your rough draft in a peer response session to provide suggestions and advice for revising your project. Dates of peer response sessions for each project are listed on the syllabus.
Final Drafts: Following the peer response session for your rough draft, you will revise your project to a final draft. Final drafts should be at least 4-5 typed pages (10 or 12 point font, double-spaced) with an additional Works Cited page. All research documentation should follow the MLA style detailed in Chapter 35 of the Simon and Schuster Handbook for Writers, pp. 180-209 in the Quick Access handbook, and in the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (5th edition)--we will review this documentation style in class.
For each project, you may choose one of the following assignments (you may use each type of assignment only once):
Find THREE or more websites related to one of the assigned readings and write an essay review of the websites answering the following questions: How is this site relevant to our course material? What kinds of information does the site provide about the author, work, or themes we are studying? How is the site organized, and is the organization useful? What types of links does the site provide to other materials, and are the links pertinent and useful? How does this site contribute (or fail to contribute) to your understanding of the author/work/themes? What is your evaluation of the reliability of this online source? (See pp. 557-559 in the Handbook for Writers or pp. 158-159 in Quick Access for suggestions on evaluating online sources). Your essay should include not only an evaluation of each website but also some comparison between the three websites.
Research Requirement: Be sure to include a Works Cited page that documents the websites you reviewed. IMPORTANT: While conducting your research, don't forget to write down the URL of each website, the date you accessed it, the webpage title, the author (if provided), and the date the page was last updated (if provided). You will need to include this information on your Works Cited page. Your documentation of the websites should follow the current MLA format for citing Internet sources (see Handbook for Writers pp. 568-569; 587-591; and Quick Access pp. 190-191; 204-209). For help in conducting online research, see Chapter 34 of the Handbook for Writers or Chapter 25 of Quick Access.
Write an essay comparing one of the works we have read with any pop-culture adaptation of the work BESIDES FILM ADAPTATIONS. You may choose from comic books, artwork, photography, music, etc. How does this version adapt the literary original to meet the needs of a different medium, and how does this adaptation contribute to our understanding of the original?
If you choose to use artwork, analyze at least three pieces of art related to the literary original. How do the pieces reflect themes, character types, or settings relevant to the literary work? Support your answer by referring to specific examples from the literary work and specific features of the artwork (colors, light/dark imagery, positioning and arrangement of figures in the picture, aspects of the setting, physical appearance of characters-facial features, clothing, body language, poses, etc.). If the artwork depicts a specific scene from a poem or story, how does the artwork interpret the scene? Do you agree or disagree with the artist's interpretation of the scene? Why or why not? You're welcome to use any art you find, but several relevant pieces of art are posted on our course website in the EXTERNAL LINKS section on the "LIBA102 Artwork Page" <http://www.olemiss.edu/courses/engl390/art2.html>.
Find at least two reliable sources of information related to the artwork or pop culture adaptation about which you are writing (for instance, if you are writing about artwork, you could find biographical sources about the artist or historical sources about the artist's style; if you are writing about a musical adaptation, you could find a review of the musical or an interview with someone involved in making the musical). These may be electronic or printed sources, but they should be reliable sources (see the section on judging the reliability of online sources in the Handbook for Writers, pp. 557-559, or Quick Access, pp. 158-159). Cite from the two sources within your essay to further support your thesis.
Be sure to include a Works Cited page listing your primary sources (the original literary work and the adaptation-artwork, comic, music, etc.) and the two secondary sources.
Write an essay analyzing the use of ONE of the supernatural motifs we've discussed in at least TWO works we've read. The works must be by TWO DIFFERENT AUTHORS. For instance, you could compare/contrast the vampire motif in Bram Stoker's Dracula and Nancy Kilpatrick's "La Diente"; or consider the madness motif in Edgar Allan Poe's "The Black Cat" and Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper"; or analyze the doppelganger motif in Stevenson's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Mary Shelley's "Transformation." How would you compare/contrast the two authors' treatments of the chosen motif? How is each author's treatment of the motif determined by that author's cultural/historical perspective or personal experience?
Find three scholarly research sources related to the literary works you have chosen and cite from the sources within your essay to support your thesis. Your sources should include at least two works (articles, essays, or books) of scholarly criticism about the literary work you've chosen. You may also include a biographical source about the author or a historical source about the period when the work was written. Works of scholarly literary criticism are critical treatments of specific literature written by professional literary scholars (those who have published books and articles on literary subjects). Internet websites written by students would not qualify as scholarly criticism. While you may use reliable Internet websites for historical or biographical sources, at least ONE of your works of scholarly criticism must be a BOOK and one must be a PERIODICAL (an article from a journal). You can locate books related to your topic by searching the university library's online catalogue of books and checking a book out of the library. Periodical articles can be found by doing a search for your topic in the library's online databases. You can find bibliographic information about relevant articles in the MLA International Bibliography or EbscoHost databases and then look up the articles at the library in print or microfiche form. In some cases, the EbscoHost database provides full texts of articles that you can read online and print without visiting the library.
For tips on conducting successful library research, see chapter 33 of the Handbook for Writers or Chapter 24 of Quick Access.
Oral Report Writing Project
For our fourth writing project, you will work in collaboration with a group of students to deliver an oral presentation about a film related to one of the works we will read and write an essay based on your oral presentation. The instructor will assign specific topics for this project individually and provide videos of the assigned films. The essay and your oral presentation should answer the following questions: What are the similarities and differences between the film and the original literary work? How does the film deal with themes and characters central to the literary original? How does the film re-interpret the original work to reflect the cultural values of the historical period in which the film was made? Do you feel that the film provides a viable interpretation of the literary original?
Note: Often a film adaptation will make significant changes to the plot or characters of the literary source while remaining true to its central themes. Also a film adaptation might critique the literary source by reinterpreting the literature from a new perspective (for instance, the movie The Bride, loosely based on Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, reinterprets Shelley's novel from a feminist perspective by focusing on the experiences of a female creature created by Frankenstein). In these ways, even if the film is significantly different from its literary original, it can still provide a viable interpretation of the original that helps us re-envision the literary source in new and enlightening ways.
Oral Report Instructions:
You and your partners will present a 10-minute oral report about your assigned film. Your report should answer the questions about the film listed above and incorporate materials from the two required research sources (see Research Requirement below). In addition, the report should include the following two elements:
1) A brief clip from the film. A TV/VCR or DVD player will be available for your presentation. Choose a short clip (not more than 5 minutes) from your film that illustrates some of the points you will make about the film in your presentation. Be sure to introduce the clip with an explanation of what is happening in the film at that point and follow up with an analysis of how the scene illustrates your ideas about the film.
2) An additional visual aide. Accompany your presentation with an additional visual aide to help your audience assimilate your presentation's content. For instance, you can create a PowerPoint presentation, poster, or handout that outlines the central points of your presentation (the instructor will provide a computer and projector if you choose to do a PowerPoint presentation). Or if you have access to production stills from the film, you might distribute pictures of key characters or scenes from the film to help your audience visualize your ideas about the film.
For tips on creating an effective oral presentation, refer to chapter 44 in the Handbook for Writers or Chapter 64 in Quick Access.
After delivering your oral presentation, you and your partners should collaborate to write a single essay (4-5 typed pages) answering the questions about the film listed above. Essay due dates will be determined in consultation with the instructor (generally, the essay should be submitted approximately a week following the oral presentation). All members of the group should contribute equally to the research and writing of the essay, and all should proofread and approve the final draft before submitting it to the instructor.
Tips on Collaboration: Protect yourself! Don't rely upon your partners to submit the final draft of your project without keeping your own backup copy. It is wise for EVERY member of the group to keep a copy of the complete writing project. YOU ARE ALL RESPONSIBLE for making sure that a final draft reaches the instructor, and all members of your group will receive a single grade for the project. Therefore, it is to your advantage for you and your group to establish a fixed schedule for collaborating on and submitting the essay. Before writing the essay, divide your responsibilities for writing and research and choose specific sections of the essay for each group member to write. In addition, as you combine your sections of the essay, you should work together to proofread and revise the sections into a finished whole. (For more tips on collaborative writing, see pp. 60-62 in The Handbook for Writers). Your essay should also incorporate the following research requirements.
You should incorporate within your oral presentation and your essay relevant materials from two secondary sources (sources may be electronic-Internet, CD-Rom, Electronic Databases-or printed sources):
1) Find one professional review of the film and cite from it briefly within your oral report and your essay. Do you agree or disagree with the reviewer's comments? Photocopy or print the review to hand in with your essay.
2) Sometimes the features of a film are influenced by the past work of the filmmakers involved. Locate one article, interview, or book about one of the filmmakers (or performers) involved in making the movie you are analyzing and cite at least once from this source within your essay and your report to provide further support for your thesis. Photocopy or print out the relevant portions of the source to hand in with your essay. As you read the background information about the filmmaker, consider the following questions for your essay.
(A) What information does this source give you about the filmmaker? How does it characterize or describe the subject as a person and a filmmaker?
(B) What information does this source give you about the filmmaker's past work? How does the source characterize the filmmaker's body of work (what are the major characteristics of this filmmaker's past work)?
(C) How is the filmmaker's past work different from or similar to his/her work in the film you are analyzing? Does this film seem to fit into an identifiable pattern in the filmmaker's career as a whole? Based on this background information, do you think the filmmaker's past work has influenced the film you are analyzing? How does the filmmaker's background determine the interpretation that this film adaptation provides of the literary original?
Be sure to include a Works Cited page listing your primary sources (the literary work we read and the film/TV adaptation) and your secondary sources (the film review and the background information source).
Items to be submitted to the instructor when the essay is due:
1) Final draft of your essay with Works Cited page
2) Any notes or rough drafts used to create the essay
3) Photocopies of the two secondary sources
4) Copy of the visual aide used in the oral presentation
5) Any notes used during the presentation
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