Assignments

Paper #2 – My Body: A Wunderkammer

Introduction

Now that you’ve had an opportunity to examine a page from Shelley Jackson’s My Body: A Wunderkammer as if it were a print-based work,  it’s time to analyze this work as a piece of electronic literature.

In a paper of 1200-1500 words, trace one route through My Body, performing a close reading of the hypertext and the experience of following the path you have chosen.  Remember to make use of a thesis statement that articulates early in the paper the arguable claim you will be making.   Some of what you might consider alongside the content of the text itself include:

  • How the pages and images (and their interrelations) together create meaning.
  • What arguments or insights about the experience of having a body is My Bodyasking us to reconsider?
  • How do hyperlinks serve as a technological analogy for associational thought processes?
  • How do the hyperlinks in the path you’ve chosen mean through the linkages they create (are these linkages metaphors, a kind of footnote, mental associations, non-relations, something else?) and what is the experience like as a reader trying to discover what meaningfully connects two pages sutured together through specific hyperlinks?
  • Does the experience of reading a text like My Body that has no clear beginning or end relate more to the experience of looking at a painting or a series of paintings in a gallery than reading a print-based text like a novel?

As always, your evidence should point back to an arguable claim and should be as specific as possible.  In reading literature, resisting the urge to generalize often opens us up to the possibility of seeing what new distinctions or new ways of engaging with a topic the text offers us, something we as readers could not have known before seeing its specific articulation in the text we are reading.

Using your newly-acquired knowledge of HTML, let your readers know which path you’ve chosen by creating a plain-language hyperlink path map.

Example: Title / Launch Page < Body < Nose < “Princesses” (etc)

You will submit your essay by posting it on your personal blog.

Grading

Your paper will be graded according to the following rubric:

Thesis: Does the paper have a clearly stated, argumentative thesis? Does the thesis demonstrate a careful reading of the chosen texts and a thoughtful response to the writing prompt?  Do the arguments presented in the paper consistently reflect the paper’s thesis?  If you think you need a review of how to develop a strong thesis statement that will undergird your essay, read through this document on making a central claim: http://twp.duke.edu/uploads/media_items/central-claim.original.pdf

Evidence: Does the author effectively use quotation, paraphrase and summary from the texts in order to support the claims and arguments put forward in the paper? Is the evidence cited both sufficient and relevant enough to support the author’s claims?

Note: Do not over quote. Your paper should have no more than one block quote (a quote of more than four lines). Use quotes to prove or demonstrate your claims, not take up space.

Structure: Does the paper have a clear structure where ideas follow logically after each other? Do paragraphs include a clear topic sentence that guides the rest of the paragraph? Does the author frame his/her argument with an effective introduction and conclusion?

Mechanics: Does the paper conform to Edited American English standards? Does the author cite all quotes, summaries and paraphrases appropriately (using MLA formatting)? Is the writing clear and easy to follow and absent of grammar, spelling, and typographical errors?

Paper #2 Blog Post Due Date: Sunday, October 30

Paper #1 – Neuromancer 

Introduction

Building on what you have learned about close reading, in this paper you will write a 1000-1200 word literary analysis of Neuromancer.   Consider one or more of the following questions to get started thinking, and then develop a thesis and argument of your own that explores a related topic in the novel.

How does the novel suggest an important connection between Case’s conception of himself and the digital technologies in the novel?  How does he identify himself in relation to the different forms of speculative technologies in the novel (e.g. cyberspace, simstim, Hosaka computer, AI, body modifications)? How do these forms of identification allow him to perceive others as either similar or different from himself?  How do these forms of identification with technology shape his conception of his body and the bodies of others, as well as reshape his perception of traditional (pre-cyberspace) forms of bodily engagement with the world (e.g. our “situated-ness” in particular places, travel, the idea of “place”)?  Is cyberspace a kind of prosthetic like Ratz’s mechanical arm or Molly’s retractable blades?  Why or why not?  To what extent does the use of digital technologies or bodily modifications reinforce or challenge gender norms?

You will submit your essay by posting it on your personal blog. Second, you will choose a peer’s essay and write a 300-400 word response to their post for the following week’s reader response blog post. While your essay is a formal written assignment and should reflect college writing standards, your response can be more conversational in nature, though still thoughtfully written and carefully edited.

Grading

Your paper will be graded according to the following rubric:

Thesis: Does the paper have a clearly stated, argumentative thesis? Does the thesis demonstrate a careful reading of the chosen texts and a thoughtful response to the writing prompt?  Do the arguments presented in the paper consistently reflect the paper’s thesis?  If you think you need a review of how to develop a strong thesis statement that will undergird your essay, read through this document on making a central claim: http://twp.duke.edu/uploads/media_items/central-claim.original.pdf

Evidence: Does the author effectively use quotation, paraphrase and summary from the texts in order to support the claims and arguments put forward in the paper? Is the evidence cited both sufficient and relevant enough to support the author’s claims?

Note: Do not over quote. Your paper should have no more than one block quote (a quote of more than four lines). Use quotes to prove or demonstrate your claims, not take up space.

Structure: Does the paper have a clear structure where ideas follow logically after each other? Do paragraphs include a clear topic sentence that guides the rest of the paragraph? Does the author frame his/her argument with an effective introduction and conclusion?

Mechanics: Does the paper conform to Edited American English standards? Does the author cite all quotes, summaries and paraphrases appropriately (using MLA formatting)? Is the writing clear and easy to follow and absent of grammar, spelling, and typographical errors?

Blog Post Due Date: September 25

Peer Response Due Date: October 2

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