Seminar #6 (On Selected C20 Literary Works)
URL of this web page: http://web.cocc.edu/cagatucci/classes/eng109/seminar6.htm
DUE: See ENG 109 Course Plan - Week #9

Part 1.  Continuity and Change in Western World Literature
One ENG 109 Learning Outcome that we have not yet explicitly addressed is:
Learning Outcome 4. Trace major developments in Western literature over time, by identifying significant elements of continuity and change in representative works from different Western literary-historical periods.
Choose two 20th-century literary works assigned during Weeks #7 & #8, which demonstrate characteristics that represent significant continuity (similarity) and significant change (difference) in the development of Western world literature, when compared/contrasted to earlier (pre-20th-century) literary works, periods, movements that we have studied this term. Identify, explain, and illustrate: 
(a)  at least one significant similarity shared by a selected 20th century literary work and an earlier literary work that represents continuity over time in the development of Western world literature; AND . . .
(b) at least one significant difference between a selected 20th-century literary work and an earlier literary work that represents change over time in the development of Western world literature. 
In your written prep notes, be sure to:
--Illustrate and support your points by citing and analyzing specific passages from the literary works under discussion; 
--Explain how/why your points of similarity and difference represent significant continuity and change in British literature over time; and
--Avoid plagiarism by following citation models when you quote, paraphrase, summarize from primary literary works, as well as any other course sources that you may use.

Part 2.  Interpretation of one assigned 20th-Century Literary Work
Choose one assigned 20th-century literary work and analyze relationships among the work’s *thematic content (i.e. what it says), *literary form (i.e. how it says it), and relevant *biographical-literary-historical background information about the literary work and/or its author. (Examples follow.)  In your written prep. notes, be sure to illustrate and support your points by citing and analyzing specific passages from the literary work, as well as source/s of background information that you cite.

*Thematic content (i.e. what it says) - your interpretation of a major theme, message, meaning conveyed by the literary work.  Example:  Wilfred Owen's "Dulce et Decorum Est" is an anti-war poem that exposes World War I as far from glorious for common soldiers fighting and dying in the trenches.

*Literary form (i.e. how it says it ) - the author's choices of literary form--e.g. of literary genre, literary elements and techniques - used to convey the work's themes. 
Example:
The title of Owen's poem is a classical literary allusion taken from the Odes of ancient Roman satirist Horace: "Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori" ["sweet and fitting it is to die for your fatherland"] (Longman 2302, note 1).  But this traditional patriotic rationale used to seduce young men into war, is ironic, and finally declared an "old Lie"  (Longman 2303, l. 27-28).  To develop this anti-war theme, the poem's speaker portrays his recurring nightmare of a fellow soldier's un-glorious death--neither "sweet" nor "fitting"--from gas poisoning in graphic realistic detail that assaults the reader’s senses:  "In all my dreams, before my helpless sight, / He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning" (Longman 2303, ll. 15-16).  In the back of a wagon where the soldier is unceremoniously "flung," he writhes in torment, "the blood / Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs, / Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud / Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,--" (Longman 2303, ll. 17-24).

*Relevant biographical-literary-historical background information about the literary work and/or author.  Example: The power of Owen's anti-war poetry is strengthened by the facts that he himself served and died in the trenches of World War I, and speaks first hand about what he witnessed there (Longman 2301).

Part 3.  20th-Century Literature: Choose one of the following topics:
Topic 3.a:  Literary Responses to Human Crises and War.
Interpret at least one of the following assigned literary works as responses to their historical/human contexts in times of crisis and war: Akhmatova’s Requiem, Wiesel’s "The Death of My Father," and/or Takenishi’s "The Rite." Establish the historical context/human crisis to which the work(s) respond(s). Then analyze the theme(s) and/or literary form(s) of the work(s) as creative responses to that context/crisis. Be sure to support your points with specific examples from the literary work(s), and be sure to cite the source/s of all quotation, paraphrase and summary.
OR
Topic 3.b:  Kafka and Garcia Marquez
Kafka has been acknowledged by Garcia Marquez as a major influence on his writing. Identify at least one aspect of Kafka’s story "The Metamorphosis" that you recognize as an literary influence at work in Garcia Marquez’ "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings." Be sure to explain and illustrate your comparative point(s) with relevant specific examples from the stories.  You may also wish to apply relevant insights gained from “Critical Views” handouts on Kafka's and/or Garcia Marquez' short stories (properly cited of course!).
OR
Topic 3.c:  Women (Re)Writing Western World Literature.
Choose two of the following assigned 20th-century literary works by women writers: Woolf’s "Shakespeare's Sister" excerpt from A Room of One’s Own, Akhmatova’s Requiem, Takenishi’s "The Rite."  Identify and analyze some themes and/or perspectives representative of women’s experience in these literary works, and comment on what such women’s voices contribute to Western world literary traditions.  As always be sure to illustrate and support your points by citing specific passages from the literary works.
OR
Topic 3.d:  Literary Genres.
Choose two literary works of the same genre from the options given below.  Identify one or more significant similarities of the two works to establish why they are both classified as "short story" or "autobiography/memoir" or "poetry." Also identify one or more significant differences in the two works which suggest the flexibility and diversity of the genre.

(1) Short Stories (choose two):  Kafka’s "The Metamorphosis," Takenishi’s "The Rite," Garcia Marquez’ "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings."
(2) Autobiography/Memoir: Equiano’s The Interesting Narrative . . . and Wiesel’s "The Death of My Father."
(3) Poetry: Yeats’s “The Second Coming” and Akhmatova’s Requiem.

SPRING 2007 ENG 109 Syllabus | Course Plan | ENG 109 Home Page

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URL of this page: http://web.cocc.edu/cagatucci/classes/eng109/seminar5.htm
Last Updated: 25 January 2011  

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Humanities Department, Central Oregon Community College
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