Unit 1 Discussions

Module 1: Literary Periods

Discussion - Literary Periods Timeline

You will construct a timeline to try and teach your fellow students about British or American literary periods. You decide the format of the timeline. Be creative. 

What is a literary period? Literary periods are defined by A) when a writer produced their work and B) common traits that show how different literary works relate to one another. 

For example, an important literary period in American literature would be Realism. Realism was most prevalent in the United States from the 1860's until around 1910. Realism was defined by A) an attention to honest representations of the world around the writer, B) local language and customs, and C) characters depicting working class or everyday people. Mark Twain, Stephen Crane, Edith Wharton, and Charles Chestnutt would be example authors who produced works during the period known as Realism.

To be clear, if you asked Edith Wharton if she was a belonged to "Realism," she would not have said yes. Scholars have applied these terms to the periods through examining and evaluating texts. Writers generally just write and examine the world around them. The periods help scholars organize concepts of literature, draw connections, and reflect on how literature has developed over time.

First, choose either British or American literature. Then construct the timeline of only that tradition. The timeline should:

  1. Contain all major literary periods (hint there should be at least 8-10).
  2. Describe 3-5 important traits of each period.
  3. Provide 2-3 example writers and/or works of each period.
  4. Use resources available to you through the library on the college website. Provide a list of the sources you consulted to create your timeline. 

If you choose British literature, you will begin in the Anglo-Saxon Period.

If you choose American literature, you will begin in the Colonial Period, but remember Native Americans had oral traditions predating the arrival of European cultures.

Reading Journal 1

Reading journals are designed to help you connect the ideas we are studying to the analysis of literary works.

  1. Choose whichever text in the "Library" that interests you and read it thoroughly.
  2. Come up with an analysis question about the text you read. The analysis question must relate to literary periods. For example, if you read Ethan Frome during the week we discuss literary periods, your question about the text should relate to literary periods. You might write something like:

    "Are the characters in Ethan Frome typical of literature written during the periods of Realism and Naturalism?"

  3. Write a 350+ word response that uses information from the week's focus on literary periods to answer the question you posed. Each response must contain at least two quotations from the text. Try to be creative and have fun.

Module 2: Literary Terms

Discussion - Literary Terms and Narrative Handoff

For this discussion post, we are all going to tell a story together. I will start the story and the next person who posts will continue it. The person after that will continue it from there, and so on.

But there's a catch.

As we write the story we are going to have in mind one or more literary terms that we intentionally use.

As we read the story, we are going to try and identify the literary terms used by others.

Here's how it works.

Read the last post in this thread and identify one of the literary terms used in that post.

Respond to that post first with a short paragraph identifying and defining the literary term(s) you saw as most prevalent in the story.

Then, using your best creative energies, continue the story by writing one paragraph using the literary term or terms you have selected.

Be sure to follow up towards the end of the module by letting your classmates know if they identified the literary terms you had in mind.

See the Literary Terms Definition List for a list of the terms we should study in this class.

Example

In this example, the chosen terms are character and metaphor.

Post 1 - Carolina writes:

When Cindy bought the ice cream truck, she envisioned herself as a sort of pied piper, her merry jingle summoning children to rocket pops and fudgesicles. She would be a purveyor of joy, counterforce to the summer sun, and seed for nostalgia. At least that’s what she hoped. But as she pulled up the park on her first day and saw the raucous horde converging upon her, she suddenly felt more like a frog dropped into a pool of piranhas.

Post 2 – Ted responds:

This paragraph uses allusion, which is a reference to another literary work within a story. The allusion references the pied piper story.

(Ted continues the story)

Terrified, Cindy peeled out, the silly ice cream song still playing and a herd of children stampeding after her. She careened past a playground and skidded around a corner, right by a waiting policer officer. A siren screamed louder than the ice cream truck chimes and the blue lights came on. Cindy pulled over, but before the officer could step out of the cruiser, a mob of furious children descended upon them like zombies who smell brains.

Post 3 – Carolina follows up:

I was thinking about character. I introduced Cindy, who would be the protagonist of the story because she is the character with a goal she is trying to achieve. Allusion was a new term for me, but I can totally see what Ted means here. Thanks Ted.

Starter

The phone rang at midnight. Not 11:59 or 12:01, but midnight on the dot. Julie blinked at the clock and tried to wake up as she fumbled with her phone and croaked out a confused, “Hello?”

“Julie Perkins?” a man’s voice asked.

“Yes?” she groggily replied.

“You need to get out of your house right now. Don’t pack, don’t brush your teeth, don’t grab water from the fridge. Put on shoes and get outside as fast as you can. We will take care of the rest.”

Reading Journal 2

Reading journals are designed to help you connect the ideas we are studying to the analysis of literary works.

  1. Choose whichever text in the "Library" that interests you and read it thoroughly.
  2. Come up with an analysis question about the text you read. This week, your analysis must relate to literary terms. For example, you might write:

    "How does Edith Wharton use setting to establish tone in the novel Ethan Frome?"

  3. Write a 350+ word response that uses literary terms to answer the question you posed. Each response must contain at least two quotations from the text. Have fun!

Module 3: Critical Annotations

Reading Journal 3

Reading journals are designed to help you connect the ideas we are studying to the analysis of literary works.

  1. Choose whichever text in the "Library" that interests you and read it thoroughly.
  2. Come up a research question about the text. It might relate to a character, an image, a symbol, an object, a color, or some other element of the text that you notice. So, for example, you might write:

    "How and why is the color red significant in Edith Wharton's Ethan Frome?"

  3. On the discussion board, copy 3-5 quotations that relate to your question. In 300+ words, answer the question you posed by referencing the quotations.

Module 4: Close Reading

Reading Journal 4

Reading journals are designed to help you connect the ideas we are studying to the analysis of literary works.

  1. Choose a text from the "Library" and read it carefully.
  2. Select a scene from the text (if responding to poetry, select a stanza or respond to a short poem). Like in a movie or play, a scene in a story or play is a section with a common setting and characters. When the setting or characters change, you have a new scene.
  3. Come up with a question about how that scene relates to an overall theme of the text. For example, you might write:

    "How does the scene in Ethan Frome where Ethan watches Mattie at the church dance relate to the themes of social and geographic isolation?"

  4. In 300+ words, perform a close reading of the scene that answers the question you posed. Be sure to use quotations from the text.