Assignment: Write a 5-6 page thesis-support paper that examines a cultural, and/or ethical question suggested by the narratives and that uses narrative conventions as evidence. Use at least 4 academic research sources in addition to whatever primary sources (e.g. Snow White stories or Disney movies) you need. You must choose a topic related to the narratives that we have read in class; the paper should demonstrate (1) that you understand the textual, cultural, and/or ethical conventions of narrative and (2) that you can develop and sustain an argument. Your audience consists of your teacher and classmates who are part of our class conversation and are as equally informed as you on the narratives and who are curious to see how you are linking textual, cultural, and/or ethical dimensions of narrative. The sources that you use can be academic books or peer reviewed academic journals—no websites or magazines. This essay is worth 20% of your final grade and there is no chance to revise it. Please plan accordingly.Goals: This assignment asks you to bring all of the skills that we have worked on throughout the semester to bear on one topic. Instead of taking a back seat and soaking in the story, you will become actively engaged in the interpretation process by considering the choices that writers make as they construct a story, the way that message is interpreted through certain triggers, and how those various messages (that can differ from person to person) can have larger implications than a simple like or dislike of a story. Through this assignment, you will enhance your narrative literacy, which, in turn, affects your critical thinking ability because by becoming an active participant in your interpretation of the chosen story, you will demonstrate that you
understand the textual, cultural, and ethical conventions of narrative as well as the skills needed to develop and sustain an argument. Before you begin the deconstruction of our chosen story, contemplate the larger implications of this story. Does it cause you to re-vision your notion of parent-child relationships? Of Death? Of romance/love? Of punishment and consequences? Of social class? Who is speaking [characters/narrator]? What is the narrator’s point of view? Who is the implied audience? How do the plot and/or setting help you to answer the previous questions? e.g., What cultural codes (race, age, beauty, nationality, etc.) are apparent in the story? How are the story’s motifs repeated and/or revised in U.S. culture? What are the ethical implications of this story for the characters, the narrator, the person/culture who repeats the story? Why are these implications significant? Would you choose to repeat the story? Why? Why not? (NOTE: Obviously, you do not have to answer all of these questions; they’re simply intended as a heuristic to get you thinking about your topic.) Now that you know what you would like to explore, go out and find some research that will help you to explain to your audience the greater significance of something in the story. Perhaps you want to talk about the ‘Step’ relationships, or you are interested in the cultural codes in the Grimm version. Find the best possible sources that you can to help you to help the audience re-vision their understanding of the story through your additional research. You can try searching for ‘Snow White,’ ‘fairy-tales,’ and whatever your topic is. We will review this in class Once you’ve generated some questions and some ways of answering the questions, Find a topic and then figure out who the target audience is. After that, make a claim (thesis), generate your reasons (general points) that support your thesis, and use evidence (particular details) from the chosen story as well as your research sources to support your thesis and reasons. Make sure that the general points of your body paragraphs directly relate to your thesis.
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