. A. The CREATIVE PATH
This option is meant to hone your creative skills as well as your interpretive powers. You may choose from the following ideas or propose another option. Whatever you choose, your project must deal with one of the texts from our syllabus. You may choose any assigned text from Units 1 through to our current unit.
Your project should reflect your understanding/interpretation of the text and should work to help us better understand it. There is no page requirement. Obviously, a haiku wouldn’t be long, but it is challenging.
• A recreation—This is a response to a text that requires you to essentially make it new by writing something like a prequel, a sequel, telling it from another point of view, change the time period (think Jane Austen’s Emma and Clueless), and so on. There are a lot of possibilities. What it must be is true to the original by being consistent with it.
• An adaptation—You may change the form of your text. For example, you may change fiction into a poem, a song, play, or film treatment.
• Film concept—You may translate your choice into a film treatment. You could write a description of what your film would be like (who you would cast, what mood you want, who might direct it, what themes you would pull out, what music you would use, what the set design might be like, etc.). You could focus on a scene or two or the work as a whole. You could even present this on power point if you prefer to add visual elements. If you like visual art you could create the movie poster.
• An imitation or parody— First analyze the original by breaking it down into its main characteristics. Decide what you want to save. You can imitate style or play with concept.
• A visual arts response—You could create an art project that reflects themes, or illustrates a text. People have done paintings, sculpture, collage, garments, sketches, etc. In this case, it would need to be digital or be able to be presented that way. Powerpoints may work, digital photos, etc. This option is dependent a bit upon your technological expertise. I am not responsible for getting this to me in a usable form: you are.
• Other options? Let your creativity go. Just be sure that it interacts with the text and helps us to appreciate it.
You must include a supplement that discusses how you put together your project. Take us “behind the scenes.” Why did you choose the piece? What inspired you to create your project? How did you go about it? What were your goals? What did you hope to accomplish, illustrate, demonstrate? If you think it may be unclear, be sure to demonstrate how the piece is connected to the original.
This is your chance to clarify and showcase your work. This supplement should be a separate short essay of about 1 to 2 pages. Please understand that the supplement must have substance. It is an important component of your grade.
You turn in the assignment and supplement to me as an attachment to Assignments.
A. B. The Research Path
This option requires you to write a traditional 3-4 page (plus Work(s) Cited) short paper. You must include a Works Cited even if you do not cite outside sources because you will need to properly cite the primary text. This option is meant to be an opportunity to hone your skills as a scholar, academic writer, and literary critic.
Choose one of the texts from the syllabus, preferably one that we have already read. You will need to develop a thesis (a claim about the meaning or significance of the text or a claim about the relationship between the text and a historical, cultural, or philosophical element. Remember that the main focus needs to be the text in question. What do you want to say about the text?
The topic is open. The only restrictions are:
• Your primary text must be selected from our syllabus. It must be on the reading list (Units 1-to the present unit).
• You may do some biographical, cultural, or contextual research but you must clearly tie this information to the story in question. You need to incorporate it into your interpretation and/or work through what makes that information important to our understanding of the story.
• You may not write a paper that is essentially an “encyclopedia-style” report of information. This needs to be an interpretation paper.
• Do not write a plot summary. I want analysis. Do not write an evaluation. I am not looking for a review of the text. There are sections in your anthology devoted to writing about literature. Consult them.
You must support your claims with evidence from the primary text. If necessary, you may also bring in secondary sources found through research. All texts must be properly quoted and cited using current MLA style.
If you bring in outside sources, you need to be sure that they are solid: reputable and accurate. In light of this, Wikipedia is not an acceptable source. Nor are various “free essay” sites. If you cannot tell where the material came from or what credentials are behind it, find a different source.
This is relatively short document that should explain your interests and process. Take us ‘behind the scenes” of your research paper. What drew you to the work? Why did you choose it? What led you to your thesis? Did you find anything particularly interesting during research? What would you like to clarify for us? This is basically your chance to clarify any points and to showcase your critical analysis.
Because your paper should be pretty clear, I don’t expect this to be as detailed as a supplement for the creative project. It should still demonstrate thought and care. Aim for a half page to a full page.
Remember that the supplement is still an important part of your assignment.