Instructions for Group 2’s First Blog Response

prairie in Effigy Mounds National Monument, Io...

Prairie in Effigy Mounds National Monument, Iowa. Image via Wikipedia

For this blog response, you have a few different writing options. Choose only ONE of these topics to write your response. Be sure to make it clear which question you chose in the subject line of your post. Remember, this blog response is for Group 2 only!

  1. Give an analysis of how wilderness functions in The Pioneers and/or A Tour on the Prairies. Some questions you may want to consider are: How is wilderness represented/valued (for example, as Eden, evil, sacred, pure, threatening, etc)? What are the “politics of wilderness” (Garrard 77) of the text; in other words, how is wilderness a site of gender, class, and/or racial struggle? Who or what is included/excluded in the text’s conception of wilderness? If you are writing about both texts, do they portray wilderness in similar or different ways, and what is at stake in these similarities/differences?
  2. Give an analysis of how the death of animal(s) is depicted in The Pioneers and/or A Tour on the Prairies. Some questions to consider include: What is the purpose of animal death in the text(s)? What emotions does it evoke in the reader and for what purpose? What attitude(s) toward animals/animal life is represented by the depiction of its death? How is this event used to reveal, promote, or condemn human qualities/actions? Is the animal death related to issues of identity, such as gender, race, class, and sexuality? To what extent does animal death validate or deny a commonality of experience shared by human and nonhuman entities? What kind of language is used to convey animal death, and what are the implications of that language? If you are writing about both texts, do they portray animal death in similar or different ways, and what is at stake in these similarities/differences?
  3. Give an analysis of how prairies are depicted in Washington Irving’s A Tour on the Prairies and either William Cullen Bryant’s poem “The Prairies” or the journals of Lewis & Clark. What do prairies represent to each of these writers? How does a change in literary form (from creative nonfiction to poem, for example) affect the representation of the prairie landscape? What feelings/thoughts does the prairie illicit? How do the writers depict changes to the prairie landscape as a result of westward expansion? How do issues of identity (like race, class, gender, religion, etc) influence their depictions of the prairie? What is at stake in the similarities/differences in these authors’ depictions of the prairies?

Remember, your posts should follow these requirements and guidelines:

  • Posts must be at least 300 words.
  • Posts must include at least one quote from the text. If you are writing about both texts, then you’ll need at least one quote from each as support.
  • Stay focused on answering the prompt question above. Avoid repeating the question and be as specific as possible in your answer.
  • Please note that you do not need to answer every “thinking question” I have posted (the questions after the bold directive). These are just options, so you could focus on one or a few. Avoid writing a response that looks like a Q & A or laundry list of answers to these smaller questions; make sure your response flows smoothly and has unity.
  • Your response should make an argument, not summarize the text.
  • Use specific moments from the text(s) to support and illustrate your argument.
  • Be sure to introduce, quote, cite, and comment on all quotes.
  • Don’t forget to tag your posts! Before adding a new tag, check the “choose from the most used tabs” menu to make sure it is not already listed.

Group 2, your blog response is due by class time on Tuesday, September 13.

Group 1, blog comments are due by class time on Thursday, September 15.

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