Office Hours: TTh 12:30-1:30 p.m., and by appointment, Gregory 154

Class Meeting Time: TTh 9:30-10:45 a.m., Henkel 107

Monday, March 26, 2012

[Archive Post] Homework Post for Monday, 3/26/12

Tormented and Happy:
Denzel Washington, Viola Davis
in August Wilson's Fences
We ended our last discussion session on August Wilson's Fences with the directive to discern whether the play is a comedy or tragedy. You'll begin writing your answers to this and related questions in class today. You'll finish the day's work by posting your answers here by midnight tonight. This assignment counts as one participation grade. While this assignment is open-book, outside source usage will result in a failure.

Assignment: Answer the following questions in writing:

1. Is Fences a comedy or tragedy?
2. What are the ancient Greek definitions of comedy and tragedy?
3. How does Fences satisfy the definition you claim it does? Properly cite textual evidence from the play.
4. If you claim Fences is a tragedy, then skip to question #7. If you claim Fences is a comedy, then is it satiric (textual evidence)?
5. Is Fences high or low comedy (textual evidence)?
6. If you claim Fences is low comedy, then is it burlesque, artistic, or slapstick (textual evidence)? If you claim Fences is high comedy, then cite three examples.
7. If you claim Fences is a comedy, then skip to question #10. If you claim Fences is a tragedy, then who is the tragic hero (textual evidence)?
8. What is the hero's tragic flaw (textual evidence)?
9. What is the doom which the tragic hero meets (textual evidence)?
10. Identify the main and subplots.

Friday, March 23, 2012

[Archive Post] Online Class Post for Friday, March 30, 2012

Using the checklist for "Writing About a Play" on page 826 of our Literature anthology, respond to Wilson's charge, on page 1353, that Fences attempts to normalize Black experiences for White audiences, and to consider those experiences as artistry for Black audiences. Do you see Wilson making a political statement or social critique? If so, then what is it? What textual support do you have from the play? This assignment counts as one participation grade and is due by midnight on 3/30/12.

Monday, March 19, 2012

[Archive Post] Online Class Post for Monday, March 19, 2012

Drama: Comedy, Tragedy
I hope you had a good spring break!

Instead of meeting synchronously today, you'll post a comment here as per the homework assignment on drama listed in the course syllabus: your answer to #5 on page 826. This assignment counts as one participation grade and is due by midnight tonight, on 3/19/12.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

[Archive Post] "Everyday Use" Assignment for Friday, 2/10/12

Alice Walker
Alice Walker's "Everyday Use" is a short story rich in themes relating to family, women, race, heritage, and belonging. The assigned secondary readings enhance our understanding of Walker's short story.

Assignment: In a two-paragraph comment to this blog post, answer one of the following prompts. Your comment should begin with your first and last names, and by identifying which prompt your comment answers. Use standard English. Cite textual evidence from both Walker's story and the secondary source. Remember: summarize or paraphrase most evidence and quote only when the exact phrasing is unique or especially important. Your comment may respond to previous comments as long as it otherwise fulfills these assignment criteria. Citation includes in-text citation and a list of Works Cited. See the citation link on this blog for instructions.

Prompt #1:  John O'Brien's interview with Walker "The Black Woman in America" reveals Walker's aims, as a black female writer, for her readers: she tells us how to read (or interpret) her work. In light of Walker's hope that we will focus our analysis on the artistic merit of her work rather than on her status as a black female writer, what significance do you identify in Walker's use of style, narration, character, theme, or plot in "Everyday Use?"

Prompt #2:  Barbara Christian's essay "'Everyday Use' and the Black Power Movement" provides a historical context (or background) for the story. What is significant about the differences in Dee's and Mama's relationships to this Movement? What theme is suggested by these differences?

Prompt #3:  Houston Baker's and Charlotte Pierce-Baker's "Stylish vs. Sacred in 'Everyday Use'" explains the difference between "style" and "everyday use" as a way of understanding the different ways in which Dee and Maggie view the family's handmade "old things." What is Mama's tone when recounting this conflict between the two sisters? What theme does this tone convey?

In order to post a comment here, you must have an online account compatible with Blogspot. You may use either an existing online account like your SU gmail account or set up a new one expressly for online work in this class. You may use whatever online moniker you prefer (barring the offensive). After the semester is over and final grades issued, you are free to disable any online account you used for this class. This assignment counts as one participation grade and is due by midnight on 2/10/12.