Monday, November 26, 2012

Final papers 2012

English IV & AP final paper
Fall 2012

Every civilization that develops literature incorporates monsters into its storytelling and mythology. From Greece to Egypt to Asia, the heroes of early literature prove themselves by overcoming monstrous beings. In later literature, monsters become more symbolic, ways for writers perhaps to represent new aspects of human nature, both in the monsters and in the human characters who confront them.

For your final paper of the semester, develop an argument around the issue of what monsters in literature teach us as readers and students of literature about being human. Your papers should be 5 – 7 pages in length (6 - 8 for AP) and are due Thursday December 13 at 9 AM (AP) or between 9 & 11 AM (English IV). (N.B. see special instructions on assignment schedule for English IV students who live far from campus.)

For English IV, incorporate references and ideas from THREE of the following: Beowulf, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Frankenstein, Grendel, and Hamlet. You may add an optional piece of literature of your choosing if you wish. For AP, include three of the above plus Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. References to history, current events, or popular culture may reinforce your ideas but should never become the main focus. Here are some thoughts and quotations on the idea of monsters which I’ve gathered from a variety of sources and my own thinking to help get you started:

·      Symbols of humans’ deepest fears, as individuals and as a species.
·      “The Other”—forces to be feared and loathed as outsiders, inimical to human nature and human life.
·      An inverted reflection of the interests and values of a culture.
·      Obstacles to be removed, overcome, or eliminated by a hero.
·      “A horrendous presence that explodes our standards for harmony, order, and ethical conduct”—Joseph Campbell
·      The personification of our own inner demons—monsters can represent aspects of ourselves that must be shunned as socially or psychologically unacceptable.
·      Symbols of human vulnerability (i.e. monsters reveal to us our weaknesses).
·      Or, conversely, a means for us to discover our own strengths—“imagining how we will face an unstoppable, powerful, and inhuman threat” (Stephen T. Asma in the Chronicle of Higher Education, October 25, 2009).
·      “Inhuman threats are great reminders of our own humanity”—Asma.

Research for this assignment is optional (although I recommend you at least read the Asma essay referred to above). If you do look for ideas and information, be VERY certain to cite all ideas and language not your own in your paper.

Spend some time thinking about an approach you can use to link multiple works from our reading list. Then begin to develop a series of paragraphs interpreting the works you choose. Use whatever combination of comparison and contrast makes your ideas strongest. Your writing will be judged on the originality of your choice, your use of examples from the various texts, and the depth of your analysis.

For English IV, this paper replaces a final exam and is weighted 25% of the semester grade. For AP students, the paper is weighted 15% and the sit-down portion of the final 10%.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Word search papers: final reminders

1. Give parenthetical citations keyed to a Works Cited page for all source references in your paper. Be certain to distinguish between print and online sources. If you claim to have used an obscure 14th century manuscript, I'll need to see it to believe it.

2. Instructions for binders/folders are on the original assignment document; briefly, it's final draft, first draft with two editing sheets, source material, neatly organized and annotated.

3. When you refer to a word as a word, and not as its meaning, italicize.

4. Yes, for the hundredth time, first person is appropriate for key parts of this assignment.

5. Don't forget turnitin. I-Search a Word 2012. Deadline 3 PM Tuesday November 20th, whether you plan to be at school that day or not. No extensions on this deadline.

6. For other heading, format, and style tips, look here.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Organizing your paper


I-Search a Word: Outline template

I.  The Beginning 

 Why I chose my word 

 What it means to me as I begin to search 

II.  The Middle

  History and major meanings


  Original (oldest) meanings

  Evolution over time, significant use in Shakespeare, Bible etc

  Major changes, added meanings over time

  Contemporary use and meanings

     Most common modern dictionary definition(s)

     Related words, major (most interesting) combining forms



  Occurrences in art, music, journalism, fashion, politics, famous sayings, etc

  Information that was brand new to me or even surprising; discoveries made along the way 

III. The Ending

  Most important, interesting things I learned

  How my search expanded my understanding of a single word 

N.B. I hope this template proves useful. Don’t follow it slavishly as a formula; adapt it creatively and individually to fit the larger patterns of meaning you have learned and the discoveries you have made along the way. If you are genuinely interested in what you are learning, the paper you write will be more interesting as a result.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Online resources for word search papers

Here is a link to several good websites. A Bible concordance and a Shakespeare concordance are required to at least consult, while the others are recommended and should give you a broader understanding of your word's full range of meaning.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Word list for paper #3

Here is the link to the list. It is possible to add words if they fit the criteria outlined in the assignment.

Biography of a word 2012

English IV & AP November 2012 “I-Search a Word” assignment (paper #3)
Assignment: Write a paper of 6 to 8 pages containing an extended definition of a single word, a commonly used word, but one with an abstract or intangible quality to its meaning. In your paper you will make full reference to the sources you have consulted, but the style of the paper will be a first-person account of your search for the word’s ultimate meaning and an analysis of what you learn along the way.
Sources: Consult the following sources to include all the necessary information in your paper:
1. The Oxford English Dictionary in our library—what are the earliest uses and contexts for your word recorded in the English language. Does the OED mention the word occurring in either Sir Gawain or Beowulf? What meanings have evolved over time?
2. A good unabridged or international dictionary—what key definitions does the dictionary give for the word?
3. A print or online thesaurus—what are the most important synonyms for your word? Include a list from the thesaurus in the sources section of your folder.
4. A Concordance to Shakespeare—in which plays does the word occur? Copy key speeches containing the word and the plays in which they are found. Give an example of an interesting or original way in which Shakespeare uses the word.
5. A Concordance to the Bible—list the verses containing the word and copy these verses onto a page in your sources section. How do they help you understand the full significance of your word? Refer specifically to the KJV (King James Version) and the Revised Standard (RSV) or New American Standard.
6. A statement of what the word means to you, both before and after you conduct your research.
7. For AP students, two of the following: a poem in which the word occurs, a citation from an online quotations list, a work of art or music, a book about words and language, a work of history, a newspaper article, cartoon, television show, or movie. (One such source is optional for English IV.)
Process: Gather your findings in a binder. The first thing in the binder you submit will be the final copy of your paper, then your draft, edited by two peers and one other person (optional--a third peer, a parent, a friend), and a section containing the printouts of all your research materials with sources clearly indicated in full MLA format. Be sure to distinguish between print and online sources.
Rationale: According to Edward Jenkinson and Donald Seybold, “it is extremely difficult for anyone to define a word that does not have objective [meaning]. Yet the ideas, feelings, and emotions that are most significant in our lives are conveyed [by such words]. . . .Everyone who uses such words as freedom, rich, or love has slightly different notions about what those words mean, [yet] we frequently act as if we are talking about the same thing when we use such words.” Thus, this assignment is to sift through our assumptions about one abstract word to find relevant historical information about its uses and meanings throughout the history of the English language.
· Have your word chosen and approved by me by the beginning of class 29 (November 6 & 7. (Everyone must have a different word.)
· We will spend parts of two classes in the library looking at the OED and other source material.
· Your blog for class 30 will include your previous understanding of the word along with a brief statement of why you chose the word. It may be incorporated in some fashion into your draft later.
· Class 33 & 34, depending on section (November 16 & 19), bring your drafts to class, five pages minimum to earn credit for this part of the assignment.
· Binders are due in my classroom by 3PM, Tuesday, November 20 for all sections.. Final drafts must also be submitted by that time to (assignment title: I-Search a Word).
Style: Write your paper as a first-person account of your search for the ultimate meaning of your word. Use your sources to make your analysis of the word credible, but connect those sources to your personal quest for the word’s meaning, your previous understanding of the word, and what you learned along the way, both about the word and the research process. You should both summarize and analyze the information you gather from your sources in the body of the paper. Information should be cited parenthetically, linked to a list of Works Cited at the end of your paper.

What word interests you sufficiently to spend two weeks researching and writing about its history and most important meanings? After we review this assignment during class 28, November 2 & 5, I will accept email requests for words beginning Monday, November 5  at 1:30 PM. By class 29 (November 6 & 7), everyone must have selected a word to work with.