Posts Tagged ‘instructions’

Group 2’s 6th and Final Blog Post

For your last blog post, pick one of the following options:

  1. Do you agree with Selden Whitcomb’s argument about the trajectory American literature and its treatment of nature by the turn of the 20th century? Why or why not? Use examples from any of our reading this semester to illustrate your points. Feel free to also bring in your knowledge of American literature from other classes or other sources.
  2. Write a response in which you assess Whitcomb’s analysis of either Hector St. John de Crevecoeur or William Cullen Bryant. In your response, you should both reference Whitcomb’s text and cite textual evidence from either “What is an American?” or Bryant’s poetry to support your claims.
  3. Which arguments made during the “Nature Faker Controversy” do you find most convincing? In your response, explain and defend your position. You may want to consider citing from last week’s Seton reading to further illustrate your points.
  4. What criteria does Mabel Osgood Wright propose for “good nature writing?” Do you agree with her criteria? What would you add to her list? In other words, how would you define “good nature writing?”

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 1, your blog response is due by class time on Tuesday, November 29. Group 2, blog comments are due by class time on Thursday, December 1.

Group 1’s 6th (and Final) Blog Post

For your last blog post, pick one of the following options:

  1. Choose one quote from John Berger‘s “Why Look at Animals” that you find interesting, confusing, problematic, surprising, or otherwise compelling. In your response, work closely with the quote. Why did it stand out to you? If you chose a quote that you found confusing, use the response to work through your confusion. If you found it interesting or compelling, explain why. If you choose this option, choose a long quote (a few sentences). Type your quote at the top of your post, then follow with your 300-word response (the quote is NOT considered part of the minimum word count). Be sure to give the page number for your quote in parentheses. You are not required to bring in additional quotes for the response if you choose this topic.
  2. Write an analysis of the depiction of animals in either P.T. Barnum’s The Wild Beasts, Birds and Reptiles of the World: The Story of their Capture (1889) or Wild Animals I Have Known (1898) by Ernest Thompson Seton.
  3. Write an ecocritical analysis of Barnum or Seton. This is a very open prompt, so you can focus on any trope of your choosing.

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 1, your blog response is due by class time on Tuesday, November 15.

Group 2, blog comments are due by class time on Thursday, November 17.

Group 2’s 5th Blog Response

Headshot of Louisa May Alcott (November 29, 18...

Louisa May Alcott, Age 20. Image via Wikipedia

For this blog response, write an ecocritical analysis of Louisa May Alcott‘s “Transcendental Wild Oats,” Harriet Prescott Spofford‘s “Circumstance,” or Sarah Orne Jewett’s “The White Heron.” Your blog post should focus on  an ecocritical reading of only ONE of these stories. As you know, there are many directions you can take with this, but here are some questions you may want to consider:

  • How does the story conceptualize nature? What are the characters’ relationships to nature?
  • What ecocritical tropes do you see at work in this text (pastoral, wilderness, georgic, ecological Indian, apocalypse, etc) and how do they function? (NOTE: If you do decide to go this route, you should focus on only one trope for such a short response.)
  • How (or, to what extent) do the characters’ experiences with nature differ, and in what ways are they similar?
  • In what ways do gender, race, and/or class difference influence the way characters experience and/or conceptualize nature in the story?
  • How is this story influenced by its historical/cultural context, especially regarding environmental issues of the era? (See the syllabus for dates of publication and the resources tab for helpful links).
  • If you had to argue that this story had an environmental message, what would it be?

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. Is.
  • 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 bulleted 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. If some summary is asked for in the prompt you chose, keep that summary brief and concise.
  • 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.
  • Don’t forget your Works Cited!

Group 2, your blog response is due by class time on Tuesday, November 8.

Group 1, blog comments are due by class time on Thursday, November 10.

Group 1’s 5th Blog Response

Nature preservationist John Muir with US Presi...

Nature preservationist John Muir with US President Theodore Roosevelt on Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park, 1906; 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 1 only!

  1. Write a response in which you consider how the apocalypse trope functions in either George Perkins Marsh’s The Earth as Modified by Human Action or John Muir’s “The American Forests.” Possible questions to address include: What type of apocalyptic rhetoric does the author use–tragic or comic? For what purpose? Do you find this rhetorical strategy successful or problematic and why?
  2. Write a rhetorical analysis of John Muir’s article “The American Forests.” What is Muir’s purpose in writing this article? What are his main arguments? What strategies does he use to appeal to the reader? How does Muir use the rhetorical triangle (logos, pathos, and/or ethos) to convince the reader of his position? How/where does Muir anticipate and rebut counter-arguments? Do you believe these writing strategies are successful? Why or why not?
  3. Discuss the portrayal of wilderness in both Muir and Marsh’s texts. Think about the various meanings of wilderness that Garrard describes–do you see any of these definitions at work in Muir and Marsh’s texts? How do each of these authors conceive of wilderness, and what role do humans play in it? What views do they share and where do they diverge?
  4. Find a contemporary newspaper or magazine article that relates to an idea in Muir or Marsh’s text OR illustrates how the apocalypse trope functions in relation to environmental issues today. In your response, explain the connection between the article and the readings, making sure to quote from each to showcase the connection. Besides giving a BRIEF summary of the article and thoroughly explaining the connection to the readings, be sure to also address the significance of the connection. You are also required to include a link to the article in your post.

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 more than one text, then you’ll need at least one quote from each as support. If the question you chose asks for more than one quote in the instructions above, then be sure to follow those instructions.
  • 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. If some summary is asked for in the prompt you chose, keep that summary brief and concise.
  • 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.
  • Don’t forget your Works Cited!

Group 1, your blog response is due by class time on Tuesday, November 1.

Group 2, blog comments are due by class time on Thursday, November 3.

Apocalypse Trope in Jon Stewart’s “Earth” (Example Topic Brainstorming Post)

This is an example post with comments for the topic brainstorming activity. You should use this as a model for your own posts and comments. However, do not add any comments–this is NOT a student’s actual paper topic. Also, please note that this topic would not be approved for this course (remember, you must write about at least one 19th century text). Again, this is just a model.

 

For my final paper, I plan to write about how the apocalypse trope functions in Jon Stewart’s Earth (The Book). I chose this topic because I am a fan of The Daily Show and also because I am interested in how environmentalism is portrayed in pop culture. Stewart’s book is a significant example because of the popularity of his show, especially among younger viewers, which has garnered some controversy. For example, many people discuss whether this show has become the primary/only source of news for its viewers and whether this is a good or bad thing. If this is true, then Stewart’s treatment of environmentalism has a significant impact on his viewers and is worth exploring. Also, I think that the mix of comedy/satire with political issues makes this portrayal of environmentalism stand out among other pop culture representations.

Stewart’s book is set up as an explanation of earth upon its discovery by aliens after human extinction. What I already know about apocalypse is based on the Garrard reading, which discusses the positive and negative aspects of environmentalist’s adoption of apocalyptic rhetoric. I want to apply this idea to assess whether Stewart’s use of apocalyptic language in the book ends up being positive or negative for environmentalism, and how (or to what extent) the use of humor changes the effect of the use of apocalyptic language. I also think that Fredric Jameson’s ideas will be useful, because Stewart’s imagined readers are aliens, but his intended readers are humans (more specifically, his viewers), so it seems that Stewart tries to make the earth strange to its readers in order to make certain political points.

Here are some questions I’ve come up with so far:

  1. Does the effect of apocalyptic language change when it is mixed with comedy/satire?
  2. How do the environmental aspects of this book compare with Stewart’s coverage of environmental issues on The Daily Show?
  3. Does Stewart accurately represent environmental issues?
  4. What impact does Stewart’s book seek to have on the political consciousness of its readers, and is this a successful strategy? Why or why not?
  5. Have environmentalists tried to use humor to appeal to audiences in the past? If so, has it worked? Why or why not?

Topic Brainstorming Exercise

To complete the topic brainstorming exercise online, please complete the following two steps:

PART 1: First, post a blog that contains the following info by the end of class time on Thursday, October 27:

In the subject line of your blog post, state your final paper topic. Remember that your topic should be both your analytical focus and your primary text(s). Example topics that illustrate both analytical focus and primary text(s) are “the wilderness trope in Cooper’s The Pioneers” or “Environmental Utopianism in Thoreau’s Walden” (see final paper assignment sheet for more examples and info). Your topic should look something like this and be stated in the subject line.

The body of  your post should answer these 3 sections. Spend 5 minutes freewriting on each of these:

  1. Why are you interested in this topic? (In other words, you have a lot of freedom to choose a final paper topic, so why did you pick this one? What is interesting about it? What makes it significant?)
  2. What do you already know about this topic? (What do you already know about your analytical focus? How/where do you see this analytical focus at work in your text(s)? What key moments in the text(s) do you want to focus on in your analysis? )
  3. List questions that you would like to answer by investigating this topic further (these should literally be questions and they should be numbered).

PART 2: Second, comment on 10 of your classmates’ blog posts by 11:59 pm on Friday, October 28.

Your comments should include the following:

  1. Let the person know which question you find the most interesting (it could be one of the author’s questions, or one a commenter added to the list).
  2. Add a question of your own to the person’s list (continue the numbering system the original author began. For example, if the person listed 4 questions and no one else has commented yet, then yours would be #5. If the person listed 4 questions and two commenters added a 5th and 6th question, then yours would be #7).
  3. Feel free to add anything else that you think would be helpful to the person.

That’s it! I will add an example post for clarification (titled “Apocalypse Trope in John Stewart’s Earth) complete with an example comment, so look to it as a model for what you should be doing.

Additional Info:

  • Extra comments over the required 10 will be considered extra credit.
  • Be sure to add comments to posts that are looking a bit low on feedback.
  • Once we are finished with this exercise, you should choose one of the questions (or a few related ones) as your focusing question for the paper. Keep it in mind when researching and developing your thesis/analysis.

Grading:

This assignment will count toward both your attendance and class participation grades.

Attendance: First, completion of both parts of this assignment counts as your class attendance for Thursday, October 27. Each part of the assignment counts for 1 class period (remember that we have a 2-period blog on Thursdays). So, Part 1 (posting a blog on your final paper topic) counts as 1 class period, and Part 2 (commenting on 10 students’ posts) counts as 1 class period. In order to fully attend class on Thursday, you need to complete both parts of the assignment. Failure to do so will result in being marked absent for 1 or both course periods (depending on how much of this assignment you skip).

Participation: The quality of your blog posts, and especially the quality of your comments to each other, will be taken into consideration regarding your overall class participation grade for this class. For those of you who have not been participating regularly in class discussion, this is an alternative opportunity to participate well and help improve your participation grade. For all students, this is a great opportunity to really get some helpful feedback on your ideas for the final paper. My previous students have found this activity immensely helpful in choosing and developing their final paper topic, even if they ended up changing their topic. Remember that the helpfulness and success of this activity depends on each student’s active and thoughtful participation.

Group 2’s Fourth Blog Post

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.  In her introduction to Writing the Trail, Deborah Lawrence argues that “women’s western writings create conflicting versions of the myth of the American West” (3). What are the typical myths of the American West? After reading Eliza Burhans Farnham’s California: In-doors and Out, do you agree with Lawrence’s argument? Why or why not? What, if any, conflicting versions of this myth does Farnham’s text offer?
  2. In her chapter on Eliza Burhans Farnham, Deborah Lawrence makes several arguments regarding the function of nature/the environment in Farnham’s narrative. In your response, choose one (or a few) of these arguments to critically consider. Do you agree/disagree with her assessment of Farnham’s text? Is there an ecocritical analysis that is missing or underdeveloped in Lawrence’s chapter? Use quotes from Farnham’s text to support your argument.
  3. Write a response in which you analyze Farnham’s use of the word “natural” and how it functions in her text. What behaviors, roles, actions, etc are considered “natural” and why? What value system does Farnham set up with the use of this word? How does Farnham use the term “natural” as part of her rhetorical strategy in this text? How would it be perceived by her Northeastern, female audience?
  4. Write a response in which you consider how Farnham’s depiction and valuation of nature compares to the other writers we’ve encountered so far this semester. In your response, be sure to make close connections between Farnham and another author we’ve read this semester to illustrate your points. If you decide to write about connections between Farnham and Ralph Waldo Emerson or J. Hector St. John de Crèvecoeur, make sure you are adding to (rather than simply repeating) Lawrence’s arguments.

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 more than one text, then you’ll need at least one quote from each as support. If the question you chose asks for more than one quote in the instructions above, then be sure to follow those instructions.
  • 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. If some summary is asked for in the prompt you chose, keep that summary brief and concise.
  • 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.
  • Don’t forget your Works Cited!

Group 2, your blog response is due by class time on Tuesday, October 25.

Group 1, blog comments are due by class time on Thursday, October 27.