Portfolio Assignments

MAY 2nd - ANALYZING LITERARY CRITICISM, re: THE COLOR PURPLE

For your fifth portfolio assignment you are responsible for researching and annotating one scholarly article related to the novel and/or film The Color Purple.  The OCC Library online databases for periodicals--including Academic OnFile and JSTOR--provide an excellent space in which to find an article of literary criticism that is intriguing to you.

This assignment should follow the guidelines for annotated bibliographies that we have already discussed in class.

 

For your summary, besides restating the author's thesis, you should indicate what kind of literary criticism in which the author of the article is engaging. 

For your evaluation, indicate how the author develops her/his claims, and whether or not her/his thesis is convincing based on the evidence s/he provides.

For your reflection, indicate whether or not and how the article contributes to a more in-depth understanding of the text or film of The Color Purple.

 

Your analysis should be typed according to MLA format with the citation for your article beneath the centered title: Portfolio Assignment #4: A Rhetorical Analysis of [Author's] ["Name of Literary Criticism Article"]

DUE: Monday, May 14, 2018

Total Value:  15 points.

+++

 

MARCH 19th - ANALYZING LITERARY CRITICISM, re: BELOVED

For your fourth portfolio assignment you are responsible for researching and annotating one scholarly article related to the novel and/or film Beloved.  The OCC Library online databases for periodicals--including Academic OnFile and JSTOR--provide an excellent space in which to find an article of literary criticism that is intriguing to you.

This assignment should follow the guidelines for annotated bibliographies that we have already discussed in class.

 

For your summary, besides restating the author's thesis, you should indicate what kind of literary criticism in which the author of the article is engaging. 

For your evaluation, indicate how the author develops her/his claims, and whether or not her/his thesis is convincing based on the evidence s/he provides.

For your reflection, indicate whether or not and how the article contributes to a more in-depth understanding of the text or film of Beloved

 

Your analysis should be typed according to MLA format with the citation for your article beneath the centered title: Portfolio Assignment #4: A Rhetorical Analysis of [Author's] ["Name of Literary Criticism Article"]

DUE: Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Total Value:  15 points.

+++

FEBRUARY 28th - A CHARACTER ANALYSIS / SKETCH, re: SPIKE LEE'S DO THE RIGHT THING

For this assignment, you will be responsible for sketching a portrait of specific character in Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing, whereby you will enter into the world of that character through first-person narration, providing a sub-plot featuring him or her in order to develop the inner world of that character. Whereas director Spike Lee provides third-person snapshot into the day in the life of the main character, or protagonist, Mookie, you will provide a snapshot into the day in the life of some other character besides Mookie as if you were that person. This will require that you tell a story that includes all of the typical elements of a piece of fiction: dialogue, setting, conflict, and, of course, character. 

Questions you may ask yourself in brainstorming your essay:

1. Towards which character do you feel most drawn? Why? 

2. Putting yourself into that character's shoes, what might that character be dealing with emotionally,  mentally, physically? And how might those issues manifest in his or her day-to-day interactions with other characters? His or her environment? 

3. What is the environment in which s/he is living like? How does the environment impact him or her emotionally, mentally, physically? What social pressures, or forces, is he or she dealing with? How does s/he deal with them?

In crafting your essay, turn the above questions into a brief vignette--a short story--that gives your audience deeper insight into the character you are exploring, whose portrait you are painting with words. In essence, you are writing a brief personal narrative that develops a character in Do the Right Thing. For assistance, see theSeagull handbook, p. 58. See also "Personalizing Lens" in Adios, Strunk and White (Hoffman and Hoffman, 2017, p. 71). Be descriptive, including details about the character's inner and outer worlds. Lastly, it may be of some help for you to refer to McKelly's interpretation of the various characters as explicated in "The Double Truth, Ruth: Do the Right Thing and the Culture of Ambiguity," which we will discuss in class and which you are responsible for reading as part of our viewing of Spike Lee's film. 

Your character portrait/narrative should be three pages in length, no longer, no shorter, and typed according to MLA format and with a creative title of your choice, including in your title: Portfolio Assignment #3. 

For a student example, click here

DUE: Monday, March 12, 2018

Total Value: 15 points. 

+++

FEBRUARY 7th - A RHETORICAL ANALYSIS of AVA DUVERNAY'S 13th

As part of our in-class viewing of the documentary 13th, which complements our reading from Michelle Alaxender's The New Jim Crow and provides some historical backdrop for the context(s) in which Baldwin and Coates are writing, you are responsible for providing a rhetorical analysis of 13th by way of an annotated bibliography of the audio-visual text.

 

Your bibliography should be three paragraphs in length, involving:

 

1. a summary of the documentary, including a restatement of its overall argument, subsidiary claims, and the evidence used to support those claims; 

 

2. an evaluation of those claims, including an assessment of the individuals interviewed and evidence used to support those claims; 

 

3. and a reflection on how this text fits into the larger conversation on racism in America taking place right now, including how it complements Alexander's argument in The New Jim Crow.

This assignment is a combination of both a "descriptive annotation" and "evaluation annotation" as outlined in Seagull (W-14, pp. 74-78) and includes guiding questions (below) extracted from the section on "rhetorical analysis"--also from Seagull (W-8, pp. 49-53). 

Questions to consider as you summarize, evaluate, and reflect:

First of all, what is the thesis, or claim, of this audio-visual text? What is it arguing? What support does Duvernay offer for the claim? What reasons are given to support the claim, and what evidence backs up those reasons? As far as your evaluation is concerned, are the reasons believable and sufficient? 

Think about the popular conversation/conversations now circulating about racism in America based off of what you've heard discussed on- and offline. Summarize what you know of or about this conversation and how this text responding to that conversation. What issues is it addressing that may be overlooked in the current conversation? Is its response unique? Explain. 

Who else cares about this topic? Consider who Duvernay has interviewed as part of her research. In what ways are they involved in the conversation? How does Duvernay situate, or employ, them in her response to this conversation? In other words, what claims are these individuals addressing and how are they being used to support those claims? Be specific in citing individuals and explaining.

Based off of her sources of information, the claims that she makes by way of this documentary, how would you identify Ava Duvernay in terms of her politics? 

Do you see any logical fallacies based off of this outline of five common logical fallacies (or arguments that rely on faulty reasoning) in Duvernay's documentary? If no, explain how she avoids them? If yes, explain which one(s) she commits and how. 

Think about the aesthetics of the documentary. How would you describe them and what effect do they have on the audience's audio-visual experience? Do they enhance or detract from one's understanding of the topic?  Be specific in citing examples.

Lastly, what is one similarity and one difference between Duvernay's response to the conversation about racism in America and Alexander's response? How are they saying the same thing differently? What does a documentary film achieve in terms of audience persuasion that a written text doesn't (or vice versa)?

Your annotation should be typed in MLA format, and submitted in class on Wednesday, February 14, 2018 as Portfolio Assignment #2 under the title for the prompt, listed above. You should include the citation of the source above your annotation according to MLA guidelines for audio-visual sources (see Seagull, p. 154). 

Total Value: 15 points

+++

JANUARY 29th - SEEING "MIRRORS" IN MEDIA

For your first in-class writing activity, reflect on and write about a favorite cultural artifact (be it essay, novel, film, poem, song, album, TV show). In what ways does that artifact relate to your own life--what is its impact on your life and how do you see yourself reflected in it? Write your response in five paragraphs, offering a summary, explanation, or description of the artifact; its impact on your life; and a way, or ways, you see yourself reflected in it. Due in-class, typed, as Portfolio Assignment # 1, Wednesday, January 31, 2018. 

Total Value: 15 points