Assignment English 125
Ashford 3: – Week 2 – Instructor Guidance
English 125 Week 2 Guidance
Literary elements and the short story
“No amount of reading or understanding will make you successful in life. It is the application of wise thought that counts.”
– Bob Proctor
This week’s overview
Welcome to Week 2 of Introduction to Literature. As is typical in a literature class, you have a lot of reading this week. What is noteworthy about this week’s reading is that it includes many terms that will be important for you to know moving forward.
As is detailed in the information under the “Week 2” tab to the left, you are to read Chapters 4, 5, 6 and 7 of Journey Into Literature. When you read, I encourage you to take notes as you are presented a lot of information that you will want to reference throughout this class.
Strategies for this week’s assignments
You have two Discussion forums this week that require your participation:
- Discussion 1: Literary techniques and their connection to conflict in literature. Be as specific as you can in this discussion prompt. Be sure to use textual evidence to support your answers to the questions in the prompt.
- Discussion 2: Character analysis and setting. As with Discussion 1 of this week, find textual evidence to illustrate the ideas you present in your response. For those of you writing on setting for your literary analysis paper, you are encouraged to include any ideas you are already working on if they are relevant to the prompt.
Your written assignment this week is an annotated bibliography. This assignment involves you finding material to supplement your research for your literary analysis and completing a writing assignment in which you offer specific annotations on each text involved. To help you succeed in this assignment, a template AND a sample assignment are located in the instructions for the assignment. Be sure to look at them carefully. You can also visit this page from the Ashford Writing Center to learn more about an annotated bibliography.
You’re likely reading many new terms in your textbook reading this week. In a college course, you are expected to demonstrate your knowledge of terms by applying that knowledge to a situation or problem. In grade school or high school, you might be asked to simply repeat definitions. However, applying the knowledge shows true understanding of the concepts and requires higher levels of thinking. Your knowledge of the terms and your ability to apply that knowledge will be used throughout the remainder of this course. You will want to consider HOW a term affects the work as a whole.
Some of you might be wondering what I mean. Let’s take an example by looking at the following couple of paragraphs from the beginning of To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee:
Maycomb was an old town, but it was a tired old town when I first knew it. In rainy weather the streets turned to red slop; grass grew on the sidewalks, the court-house sagged in the square. Somehow, it was hotter then: a black dog suffered on a summer’s day; bony mules hitched to Hoover carts flicked flies in the sweltering shade of the live oaks on the square. Men’s stiff collars wilted by nine in the morning. Ladies bathed before noon, after their three o’clock naps, and by nightfall were like soft tea-cakes with frostings of sweat and sweet talcum. People moved slowly then. They ambled across the square, shuffled in and out of the stores around it, took their time about everything. A day was twenty-four hours long but seemed longer. There was no hurry, for there was nowhere to go, nothing to buy and no money to buy it with, nothing to see outside the boundaries of Maycomb County.
If I were simply asking you to show me that you understood a literary term, you might say that the above excerpt illustrates the setting for the novel. It describes the place of the story in detail, and we understand that this is likely a small, poor, rural town. The story also likely takes place in summer, as the excerpt makes references to heat.
This would be a fine demonstration of an understanding of the term setting, but in this class we are also asking you to apply that knowledge. What’s so significant about some of the words that the narrator uses? For example, when the courthouse “sagged in the square,” we get the feeling that even the buildings of this town are tired. The latter description of the people makes us feel that they move in slow motion with absolutely no purpose. A sense of stagnation pervades this opening; we have a town and its inhabitants stricken by near catatonia. When we know of the plot and the historical context of the story, we can then make correlations to how this opening truly ‘sets the stage’ for later action (or in this case, inaction) AND how the setting connects to the later conflict. The following video offers some information on the historical context of the novel:
Though our focus this week is on the short story genre rather than the novel, the definitions of the terms and your application of them remain the same. I hope this specific example helps you understand the difference between defining a term and applying your understanding of it. When you learn about the terms in this week’s reading, try to apply what you learn when you read the literary works included in your textbook.
Helpful links for this week’s assignments
From the Ashford Writing Center:
Bob Proctor Quotes. (2014, December 24). Retrieved August 10, 2015.
Lee, H. (1960). To Kill a Mockingbird. Philadelphia: Lippincott.
“Types of Characters” (2015, November 2). Google Images. https://www.google.com/search?q=types+of+chracters&biw. Retrieved November 2, 2015.
“Types of Conflict.” (2015, November 2). Google Images. https://www.google.com/search?q=types+of+conflict&biw. Retrieved November 2, 2015.