EN 207 002


Week 15 – SGTs

W 4/29             *Workshop Paper #2 in SGTs (remotely using google docs).

Your peer review groups will be the same as those you have been working with in relation to the Blackboard posts.  You will trade papers electronically (using google docs) and provide full feedback and comments to each person within 48 hours of receiving the link to the paper.  I will be checking all groups, so all papers should be shared with me as well.  Your draft should be at least three pages.

Keep in mind these rules of engagement: 

  • make a copy of your first draft just before you share it with your two group members and me. Label it according to this exact convention: “Marlene First Draft Paper 2 Peer Review Copy.”
  • Once the group members have received the drafts, each student should spend 15 – 20 minutes slowly reading through it and commenting on it as you read it. Once you are done commenting, and there should be 3 to 5 comments from you on each page of the student’s draft, write a summary paragraph at the end of the document which summarizes the strengths and weaknesses of the paper.
  • You should be reading each other’s papers for these four elements:

-argument and argument development


-working with the primary text and secondary source

-conclusion – does it gesture to what is at stake?

Once you are done commenting on the paper, email the person in your group and CC ME ON THIS EMAIL and say “I am done peer reviewing your paper.”

Week 16

W 5/6              *Paper #2 DUE. Email it to me as a .doc or share it as a googledoc by 5:00 pm. Subject of your email/title of your document to read: “EN 207 First Name Last Name Final Paper 2”. THERE IS NOW NO FINAL EXAM.  YOUR second paper is all the more important!

Instructions for PAPER 2:

Please write a 5 page (double spaced, 12pt font, MLA, one-inch margins, etc.) paper on one the topics listed below – your Works Cited does not count towards your number of pages.  In other words, you need to have five pages of written prose plus a Works Cited page at the end of your paper. Your paper should consider primarily one of the literary texts we have read so far this semester (not including Conrad or Achebe) and include one scholarly source to complicate your argument. You may also use any of the supplemental readings we have covered in class so far this semester (the Said, for example), but I want your paper to consider, primarily, one of the texts we have read so far this semester. Your paper should possess a thesis statement, have a solid organizational structure, show elegant use of specific textual evidence, and be presented in a clear writing style. In addition, your second paper should specifically address some of the feedback I gave you for your first paper. These are the five components of writing on which your paper will be assessed.

Option 1:

David Huddart has argued that “post-colonialism is sometimes a theory, sometimes a practice, but always an ongoing process of working through the legacies of colonialism” (6). We have spent a good portion this semester discussing what it means to a read text using a postcolonial frame. This frame includes thinking about questions of representation, hybridity, power dynamics, questions about identity, challenging the idea of the center and the margin, the relationship between knowledge and power, and considering marginalized figures. Pick a text we have covered this semester and analyze it using a postcolonial frame—use one or two of the specific lenses covered above (or add your own) and demonstrate how a postcolonial analysis of a certain text yields specific insights into your understanding or interpretation.  For example, why does Arundhati Roy keep returning to, or threading through, the idea/symbol of Pappachi’s moth throughout the novel The God of Small Things?  Or in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s “The Headstrong Historian,” she takes a multigenerational view of empire and imperialism in her short story. What are some of the consequences of this significant timeframe? In other words, what is Adichie able to represent with this long historical period?  How is she able to respond to Achebe?

Option 2:

Many of the texts we have read this semester call into question a kind of masculinity associated with violence, and the narrow definition of femininity that most often lives alongside this definition of masculinity. In some sense, the impact of colonization (along with its many negative sides) may create an opportunity for rethinking gender relationships. Yet at the same time, the texts we have read also point to many obstacles, within both indigenous and imperial cultures, that make changes in gender roles difficult. Focusing on one of these texts we have read this semester, explore its treatment of gender. Some questions to think about: What is the critique of gender roles set out in the text, and how is it developed? What is the ideal of masculinity generated in the text? The vision of femininity or female agency? What is the relationship among gender roles, colonization, and decolonization?

Option 3:

Consider the representation of “family” in terms of how the structure or relationships that constitute a family are represented in one text.  How does the family become implicated in the postcolonial text (and world/culture)?  If the colonizer/colonized relationship is often seen as parent/child, how does this extend into the text of your choice?  What about the public versus private debate?  Is the family always already politicized in the postcolonial text?  Do some of these authors expose—or exploit—the private family in their desire to make the family an allegory for the nation?  What are the implications of this?

Option 4:

In the author’s note to his play Death and the King’s Horseman, Soyinka cautions his readers against viewing the play as a “clash of cultures” or making “the District Officer the victim of a cruel dilemma” (2).  He writes:

The bane of themes of this genre is that they are no sooner employed creatively than they acquire the facile tag of “clash of cultures,” a prejudicial label which, quite apart from its frequent misapplication, presupposes a potential equality in every given situation of the alien culture and the indigenous, on the soil of the latter. (In the area of misapplication, the overseas prize for illiteracy and mental conditioning undoubtedly goes to the blurb-writer for the American edition of my novel Season of Anomy who unblushingly declares that this work portrays the ‘clash between old values and new ways, between western methods and African traditions!’) It is thanks to this kind of perverse mentality that I find it necessary to caution the would-be producer of this play against a sadly familiar reductionist tendency, and to direct his vision instead to the far more difficult and risky task of eliciting the play’s threnodic essence. (2)

In what sense and to what degree is Wole Soyinka’s Death and the King’s Horseman a political play?  How does the author’s note/preface to the play relate to the status of the play as a political play, or not?

Reminders: Keep your argument grounded in the text and use an abundance of textual evidence.  Avoid generalizations – remember your own positionality.  Do not make claims about all people everywhere.  Get right into your argument as it relates to the text.  The writing center is open for virtual appointments!  Please consider making one.  There is no final exam for this class so this final paper is important for your overall grade.

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