March 2, 2009

Week 7: As I Lay Dying

1) "As I Lay Dying" is written from the perspectives of 15 different characters. From this, we sometimes see conflicting opinions or interpretations of a single event or character. How does this add more depth to the novel?

2)From Question 1, try and find a moment where characters describe the same event or character in a different way. Briefly explain the situation, then tell us what you think the "real truth" is. Why do you think so?

3) Take one character from the novel and write an in-depth description: what do you think of them? What are they trying to accomplish in the novel? What is their opinion of the other characters? etc?

4) Anything else?

February 26, 2009

Week 6 Dubliners/ As I Lay Dying:

February 23, 2009
Week 6: Dubliners

Hey, I realize we've been looking at Dubliners for quite a while now, so I'll give you some options:

1) Look at the last story of Dubliners, "The Dead," and try and look in detail at the theme of past and memory. If you need some direction, the speech that Gabriel gives at the dinner party is full of big ideas to explore.

2) Now might be a good time to write an entry outside of the book. For example, Joyce has said that he's trying to make a portrait of Dublin as he knew it in this book: how does the way he presents the city help to show us the history and culture of the time? How is this similar/different to the way we learn in a history course? Which is more interesting/accurate?

3) If you'd like, start reading the first few chapters of "As I Lay Dying" and respond to that. What are your first impressions?

4) As always, any other subject is fair game.

February 11, 2009

Week 4: Beggar Maid/ Dubliners

1: Since we didn't get a chance to talk about everyone's group question/discussion on Tuesday, you can post your Beggar Maid question and discuss the different points and opinions found in your group.

2: Dubliners is like the Beggar Maid in that it is a collection of short stories brought together around central ideas and themes that (hopefully) come together to equal a novel. The diffierence is Dubliners focuses around more characters, but all in roughly the same time-frame. Do you see this structure as an effective one? Why or why not?

3: There's a lot of big themes coming up in these first few stories, including death, religion, and children (especially their relationships with older people). Maybe expand and explain what's happening with one or more of these themes.

4: A lot of these stories are intentionally ambiguous, and there's a lot that can be read into these stories. Particularly the endings. James Joyce is known for "epiphanies" in his stories. What do you think of the use of epiphanies?

5: Anything else you can think of? Write away!

February 3, 2009

Week 3: The Beggar Maid

The Beggar Maid

1. Unlike the last two books, The Beggar Maid can be considered a collection of connected short stories. Does this change the way you read the book? Do you think this style is more or less effective than the continuous narratives found in The Road and Waiting for the Barbarians?

2. We’re seeing a lot of big subjects in these first few stories, including beating a man to death, multiple cases of rape, incest, and other violent acts. With that said, it seems as if this violence isn’t the point of the book. Why do you think Munro includes this type of material in her stories? Do you think it’s an effective technique?

3. This book seems really interested in place. By that, I mean that the town itself seems like a strong, changing character as we proceed through the book. If you want, build off this idea: what do we learn from the town as a character, how do you see it changing throughout the stories?

4. Other thoughts, questions, things you’d like to address in class?

January 11, 2009


Welcome to ENGL 1701. Each week, we will be making posts on the blog about our assigned readings. Each student will be expected to make a post of approximately 150-200 words and it will be due an hour before the start of the Tuesday lecture. In addition, I'm asking that everyone responds to at least one blog post before we meet for our discussion section.

Here's some ideas for what to write about:

1)Questions you have about the reading. Did a character act in an unexpected way, did the plot take a turn you didn't anticipate?

2)Compare and contrast the readings. How does our reading of "Beloved" connect with "The Road?" How do "Maus" and "Fun Home" use the graphic novel form to convey different meanings?

3)Connect the readings to your life/educational experience. Look for ways to connect these books of "fiction" to our culture and society. For example, how does "Maus" line up with the way the Holocaust is taught in a history course? Which is more effective?

4)Anything else you can think of! We can use these blogs in a creative/fun way, just make sure to bring up a good discussion point or two that will get our class room discussions going.