As I mentioned in class, your final blog post will be based on the discussion questions you formulated in your groups. Keep in mind that this post should be based on the reading due for next Tuesday (11/29). Also, don’t choose your own question–challenge yourself to answer another group’s question in order to expand your thinking on the novel.
Here are the prompts you guys came up with today:
- What evidence in the novel points to how the children perpetuate the conformity of Hailsham? How do they prevent information from being revealed? What opportunities do they lose in the process?
- What is art being used as evidence for?
- Is ignorance bliss in Hailsham? Are the kids truly ignorant of their true identities? What role does ignorance play in the novel?
- What does the novel suggest about seeking truth even if it may lead to discomfort?
Happy blogging and, more importantly, happy Thanksgiving!
The purpose of this week’s blog post is to start warming you up for your thesis development paper and critical essay. In order to do that, I’m asking you to choose a short passage (4–6 lines) from the reading for Thursday, close read it, and try to make an argument about it.
Go over the close reading handout if you need a review as to what elements you can focus on for a close reading. Remember that you should focus on how the passage is saying what it is saying–no plot summaries, please! You can never be too close with your analysis.
This week’s blog prompt is an extension of the question we discussed in class. For your post, consider the following questions: If you were a head of state in World War Z, how would you have voted during the Honolulu Conference? Why? What would you recommend as a plan of action to deal with the Zombie War?
Support your post with textual evidence from the reading for Thursday, but also feel free to reference other portions of the novel. Try to analyze your decision from multiple angles: ethical, tactical, social, political, environmental, etc. You can also think about what it means for the zombie epidemic to be framed as a “war,” indeed a “world war.” What determines a world war? If the basic definition of a war is an armed conflict between nation-states, what nation-state do the zombies represent, if any? Is the conflict with the zombies actually a war or is it something else? How does thinking about the zombie crisis as a war (as opposed to an epidemic, for example) change how we approach it? Alternatively, how does thinking about the zombie crisis as an epidemic change our understanding of the events of the novel?
For this week’s blog post, choose a passage (4–6 lines) from the reading for Tuesday, close read it, and try to make an argument about it. Think of this post as an opportunity for you to practice your close reading and writing skills in preparation for your close reading assignment due in two weeks (9/27).
Since I’m asking you to analyze a short passage, take the time to dig deep and pay attention to how the passage is saying what it is saying. Don’t merely summarize the passage or talk about the plot. Make an argument about the passage by picking apart the language, metaphors, imagery, tone, etc. Refer to the close reading handout if you need a refresher.
Some questions you may ask yourself are: What images/metaphors does the passage conjure up? What connotations does the language of the passage have? How does the syntax affect the pace and tone of the passage? What words/phrases are repeated, and what does their repetition convey? What is the relation between this passage and the text as a whole? Why is this particular passage significant?
Get creative with your close reading, and don’t be afraid to get deep into the passage and dissect its parts. There’s no such thing as being too close with your close reading!
For your blog prompt this week, describe and analyze your first trip to the archive at the McGovern Historical Center. Here are some questions to get you started:
- What was the experience like visiting the archive?
- What did you expect before visiting the archive? To what extent did your visit meet your expectations? How did your expectations shape your visit?
- What did you find surprising, confusing, compelling, etc.? Why?
- What did you learn about the archive, archival research, etc.?
- What was your experience like handling archival materials?
- Which items did you gravitate toward first? Why?
- Which items did you find the most/least compelling? Why?
- Which items seemed most accessible, and which items intimidated you the most? Why?
While not all of your project materials were available yesterday, reflect on the materials that were there and your experiences with them and the archive as a whole. Treat the above questions as prompts to jumpstart your thinking. You won’t be able to answer all of them in a coherent post. Finally, review the blog post guidelines to make sure that you understand my expectations before you start writing.
For your primer (at least 300 words), answer the following questions: What is public health? Why is it important?
A primer is a short book introducing the basic principles of a particular subject. Usually, we use the word “primer” to refer to an elementary book that teaches children how to read. Given that, treat this primer assignment as an opportunity for you to teach me your definition of public health and your understanding of its significance. While I can’t check to make sure that you didn’t do any research before writing this assignment, I highly encourage you to curb that research impulse and take the time to think about what you already know. How do you define public health? What argument would you make about its significance? What examples of public health (from your own experience, from what you’ve learned from the news, etc.) illustrate your definition and your claim for its importance?
Bring a printed copy of your primer to class on Thursday. We’ll discuss all of your definitions then. Happy writing!