Post – Symbolism in Short Fiction

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4.1 Post – Symbolism in Short Fiction

The purpose of this assignment is to refresh your understanding of the elements of short fiction, examine more closely the use of symbolism in short stories, and apply that new understanding in an analysis of a short story.

Directions

  • Click on the following YouTube links and watch the presentations on short fiction terms and elements:
  • Watch this presentation on symbolism in literature:
  • Click on the following link and read “Lorry Raja” by Madhuri Vijay.
  • Read “Lorry Raja” a second time and pay close attention to the use of symbolism.
  • Take notes of any important symbols you discern.
    • What does each symbol seem to represent?
    • How does it contribute to an overall sense or meanings of the story?
  • Write a list of at least three of the symbols you identified in the story and what you think each represents.
    • Use just a few words; complete sentences are not required.
  • Write a paragraph identifying and analyzing one symbol in the story.
    • What is the symbol?
    • What does it seem to represent?
    • How does it contribute to the meaning or beauty of the story?
    • Consider whether or not it reveals something about a character or intensifies the power of the setting or underscores conflicts or visually represents ideas or feelings that are difficult to express in words.
  • Post your list and your paragraph to the discussion board by clicking on the title of this activity or through the Discussion Board main menu on the left.

9.Grading Rubric – Assignment Rubrics

4.2 Discuss – Unnoticeable “Lovely Writing”

The purpose of this assignment is to allow you to consider another astute reader’s response to a story after you have read it and formed your own (at least initial) opinions about it, to think critically about new perspectives on a story, and to respond to your peers to further your understanding about this story in particular and about literature in general.

Directions

  • Read the following blog entry by Karen Carlson:
    • Lorry Raja. (Links to an external site.)
      • “That’s what makes this story, as familiar as it is, work for me: it’s lovely writing. Yet I wonder, as I always do: when something stands up and announces itself as lovely writing, is it really lovely writing? Or is it one step removed from lovely writing, which would really be sort of invisible…?”
    • Also note Carlson’s next paragraph, which describes the “heartstrings effect.”
  • Write two paragraphs analyzing Madhuri Vijay’s use of language in the story “Lorry Raja”:
    • In the first paragraph, cite specific quotations from the story that you think contribute to lovely, or aesthetic, use of language. Do not cite any quotations of the story from Carlson’s blog – find your own examples. Does Vijay use words similar to the way an artist uses paint? Are you able to picture what Vijay describes?
      • Provide at least two direct quotations from the story (with citations) as evidence for your claim (without copying Carlson’s quotations from the story).
      • Consider:
        • What effects arise from this “lovely” writing and the way it intersects with symbolism?
        • Do you agree that lovely writing should be unnoticeable?
        • Why or why not?
    • In the second paragraph, define what the “heartstrings effect” means to you (doing no more research than re-reading the blog entry, re-reading Vijay’s story, and reflecting on your experiences of reading stories).
      • Cite specific examples from the story (direct quotations or paraphrases, with citations) that seem to be potentially overly-sentimental or emotionally manipulative. Again, do not rely upon Carlson’s examples. Find your own examples.
      • Consider:
        • Is pointing out a heartstrings effect a valid or valuable criticism of a story, according to the way you read and make meaning of literature?
        • Does this kind of emotionally powerful fiction writing serve an artistic purpose?
        • Is it manipulative?
        • Should it be avoided?
        • If so, when and why?
  • Post your TWO paragraphs as a “reply” to the discussion board.
  • Respond to at least three peers,noting an important agreement, disagreement, new understanding, or question for further inquiry.

Pay close attention to Carlson’s paragraph that begins:

5.Grading Rubric – Assignment Rubrics

4.5 Discuss – Psychological Literary Criticism (50 Points)

The purpose of this assignment is to familiarize yourself with Psychological literary criticism (also called Psychoanalytical literary criticism) and apply some of its tools in analyzing a short story.

Directions

  • Review Psychoanalytical literary theory from the following
  • Watch this video on Psychoanalytical literary criticism:
  • Choose two main characters from one of the stories we have read in this unit.
    • Identify an important conflict these two characters share (either between each other or a conflict from outside the relationship).
  • Consider how psychological factors within the two people affect resolving this conflict.
    • Recall that the video talks not only about the Id, Ego, and Superego, but also about stress, depression, PTSD, grief, and so on.
    • In particular, look at different ways the characters view masculinity.
    • Do varying ideas of masculinity cause, or exacerbate, the conflict?
  • Write two paragraphs about the following, using direct quotations and paraphrases (with in-text citations) to support your claims:
    • First paragraph:
      • Identify the two characters and describe the specific conflict.
      • Analyze the psychological factors that seem to be motivating these characters, especially in what it means to be, for example, a “good” man or a “strong” father or a “loving” husband.
    • Second paragraph:
      • Explain how these factors and this conflict contribute to meanings of the story. Use at least three direct quotations from the story (with MLA in-text citations) to support your points.
  • Post your two-paragraph response and your MLA Work Cited as a reply to the to the discussion.

7.Grading Rubric – Assignment Rubrics

4.7 Discuss – Post-Colonial Literary Criticism

The purpose of this assignment is to familiarize yourself with Post-Colonial literary criticism and apply some of its tools in analyzing a short story.

Directions

  • Review Post-Colonial literary theory:
  • Read this post by Amardeep Singh on the Post-Colonial concepts of mimicry and hybridity:
  • Answer these questions regarding “City Lovers”:
    • Who is/are the oppressed? Who is/are the oppressors?
    • What are the cultural practices of the oppressed and the oppressor?
    • How do the cultures intersect?
    • Who is exerting power over whom? How? In what ways?
  • Think about how factors of oppression or hybridization or mimicry affect the two main characters. These effects might be caused by political, social, economic, or cultural oppression.
  • Post a three-paragraph response as a reply to the discussion
    • In the first paragraph, identify the two characters and the conflict you will analyze.
    • In the second, analyze factors of oppression that seem to be motivating these characters, especially in ways that put them in conflict with each other or their environment.
    • In the third, explain how these factors and this conflict contribute to meanings of the story.
    • Use direct quotations and paraphrases (with in-text citations) to support your claims and include Works Cited entries for Amardeep Singh and for the audio version or the PDF version of the story.
  • Respond to at least three of your peers, noting interesting points for further inquiry that they raised.

7.Grading Rubric – Assignment Rubrics

4.9 Post – Cause-Effect Analysis – Outline

The purpose of this assignment is to synthesize your understanding of a successful cause-effect essay with your understanding of analyzing elements of a short story by focusing on writing a strong thesis and clearly organized outline. In the previous assignment, you wrote a thesis for a cause-effect essay. For the current assignment, you will write an outline supporting that thesis for a planned essay, but you will not actually write the full essay itself. Instead, concentrate on the planning stage of writing a cause-effect essay. This series of activities will also help prepare you for Exam 1, in which you will write a cause-effect essay about a literary element and its effects in a different story.

Directions

  • Re-ead this link about creating outlines:
  • Re-read “The Zero Meter Diving Team”
  • Identify as many images as you can.
    • Are they all visual?
    • Do you hear any aural or feel any tactile imagery?
    • Do you see any patterns of images or repeated images?
  • Evaluate the effects these images have.
    • How do they contribute to the story and its meanings?
  • Write a cause-effect thesis statement that identifies at least one pattern of images in the story as a cause and identifies several interesting effects (or results) in terms of literary elements (see 4.1).
  • Put your thesis statement at the top of your response.
    • Sample thesis: In “The Zero Meter Diving Team,” Shepard uses repeated images of fire (or radioactivity, or rivers, or dry mouths, or animals, etc.) to evoke a tone of…, and to suggest a character who…, and to support one theme that….
  • Skip a few lines after your thesis and start your outline.
    • You should have at least five main sections:
      • Introduction
        • including your thesis, which identifies one pattern of images and previews at least three effects on literary elements (tone, character, conflict, theme, etc.)
      • Body paragraph one
        • specific imagery, citation, and effect on tone, for example
      • Body paragraph two
        • specific imagery, citation, and effect on character, for example
      • Body paragraph three
        • specific imagery, citation, and effect on theme, for example
      • Conclusion
    • In the outline, represent each body paragraph with a claim in the form of a topic sentence.
    • In the outline, make note of the evidence from the story that you would use to support your claims. Cite at least one direct quotation from the story in each body paragraph. Make sure to write this and cite this accurately with MLA in-text citations.
  • Write an MLA formatted Work Cited entry for the story.
  • Post your thesis statement and outline as a “reply” to the discussion.
  • Respond to three of your peers, noting the two strongest parts of each post and one area which could be strengthened.

11.Grading Rubric – Assignment Rubrics

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