empire map

Optional Paper 3

Length: 3-4 typed, double-spaced pages (750-1000 words, but can be longer if you wish) or as listed below.

November 5. Uploaded to Blackboard by 9 p.m. . Note: Be sure to follow the filename conventions and other requirements if you upload a written text. If you are doing a video as part of the assignment, send me the link to it (on Vimeo, YouTube, etc.).

Paper 3 is an optional paper; you don't have to write it. Also, you'll notice that there are creative options for this assignment in addition to the traditional literary studies paper. Since this assignment is optional, if you complete all 3 papers, only the top 2 short paper grades will be counted and the lowest short paper grade will be dropped.

The same basic guidelines apply to this paper: Content is very important, but good organization, sentence structure, and editing skills are also important. Citations and the Works Cited page should follow MLA format. More guidelines for turning in papers in this class are here: http://public.wsu.edu/~campbelld/format.htm.

I. Literary Studies Options.

  1. Read another Twain novel, such as A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, and write a paper in which you analyze and compare this novel with one that we've read. You might want to compare the characters of two novels, for example, in light of their bad (or good) choices, or analyze them in light of a theme such as anthropology or evolution.
  2. Analyze and compare a story we've read with another related story that we haven't read, such as another story by the same author.
  3. In what way is "The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky" a Western? Look at stories by Crane such as "The Blue Hotel," stories by other writers such as Owen Wister, "dime novels" by Ned Buntline, or Western films to place this story in context as a Western.
  4. View a film adaption of a work we’ve read ("The Man Who Would Be King," "A Scandal in Bohemia," a Poe story, and so on) and compare it with the text as written.  How did the choices of the screenwriter, director, and actors change the interpretation of the text? What choices did the director and screenwriter make? How did the film interpret the story's themes visually?
  5. Your own topic.

II. Texts in Contexts Options. (Note: This option can later be expanded as the basis for your Paper 4.)

Think about what interested you when you completed the Laptop Day exercise "Finding Historical Sources" (http://public.wsu.edu/~campbelld/findhistoricalsources.htm). Using cartoons, pictures, journalism, music, or films, or other contemporary contextual materials, write an essay in which you place a work we've read or will read in its historical context. Some of these topics include works that we haven't read yet.

  1. How does the use of music, art, women's clothing, or representations of African Americans or regional characters in the contemporary press enhance an interpretation of Kate Chopin's The Awakening?
  2. In what ways are British attitudes toward imperialism in the nineteenth century as seen in British periodicals reflected or refuted in Kipling's "The Man Who Would Be King"?
  3. Oscar Wilde was internationally famous in his time, especially for his links with the Aesthetic and Decadent movements. How does The Picture of Dorian Gray reflect these principles?
  4. Look up the original publication context (magazine, etc.) for one of the works we’ve read or will read, such as "The Eyes" (Scribner's Magazine 1910). What stories surround them? What kinds of advertisements, news, notes, or other information would her original readers have seen in looking at her work? (Note: This and some other topics can be expanded for Paper 4, too.)
  5. At the MASC or in the library, look through contemporary periodicals and books and choose a few that present the West or imperial expansion in positive terms. (The MASC has a lot of these materials.) Analyze one of the works on the British empire or the West in the context of these materials.
  6. Your own topic.

III. Creative Options. These options may be a little longer than 3-4 pages. As above, you can put your own spin on these ideas, shifting genre and other features as needed.

  1. Same story, different narrator. Write a short story, verse drama, or one-act play in which you rewrite a situation from one of the works we've read (Dickens, Kipling, Twain, and so on) from a different character's point of view. For example, what would "The Man Who Would Be King" be like if not told by Peachy? What if Gradgrind narrated Hard Times? Your story should remain true to the basic ideas and some details of the original, but you can invent whatever you need to make an interesting story.
  2. Brief encounter. What would happen if the characters from two different novels met? How would the novel or story change if it were written by a different author? What would happen if Kipling met Mary Seacole, for example? What would their conversation be like? What if Twain wrote The Awakening?
  3. Screenwriter. Write your own screen treatment and at least one scene from a screenplay in which you envision what a movie from one of the works we've might look like. Along with the screenplay and brief treatment, write a brief (1 page) explanation of why you made the choices that you made, as if you were going to pitch the story to a producer.
  4. Graphic novel. Write and illustrate a graphic novel (or extended web comic) using one of the texts we’ve read as your basis. Your novel should demonstrate a knowledge of the themes and deeper meanings of the text.
  5. If you are a game designer, design a game that illustrates or encapsulates the experiences of a novel or a character.
  6. Your own topic. You need to check with me before going ahead with this.