Paper Assignment, Between Father and Son
ENGL 115 – Naipaul Assignment
Due to the drop-box outside Johnson Chapel #5 by 4:00pm on Friday, December 9th
In a letter to his son V.S. Naipaul, Seepersad Naipaul muses on the difference between a writer’s worldly self and his self in writing. Having observed this divergence in several major English writers, Seepersad concludes, “It seems to me that it wasn’t what these fellows were outwardly that mattered; it was the other self that they could summon” (29).
The letters collected in Between Father and Son show “what [the Naipauls] were outwardly,” but they also demonstrate all “that they could summon” in writing. Pick a letter in which its writer seems to summon an “other self”—or to observe such a summoning in someone else—and read it closely. How is such summoning visible in Between Father and Son and why is it important?
Paper Assignment, A Visit from the Goon Squad
This paper won't be due until the Friday after you return, but you might want to begin thinking about it now.
Paper Assignment, Howards End
ENGL 115 – Howards End assignment
Topic proposal due in hard copy; Monday, in class
2 pages; due outside my office (or by e-mail) by 4:00pm on Friday, November 18
In his introduction to Howards End, David Lodge observes, “The novel offers only a narrative solution, not a political one, to the questions it raises” (xx). Re-read the final chapter, paying special attention to the “narrative solution” it achieves. Then, focusing on one of the “questions [the novel] raises,” compare the novel’s “political” treatment of that question to its narrative treatment. (We will discuss Howards End as a “political” novel on Monday.)
In dealing with this binary of narrative and politics, do not simply compare and contrast. At its best, this novel utterly entangles the narrative and the political. The best papers, therefore, will make “continuous excursions into either realm” (166). Only connect!
Paper Assignment, Ruhl’s Eurydice
I attach below a PDF that includes several reviews of Eurydice. More than any play in recent memory, Eurydice elicited strong and opposite reactions from critics. Scarcely anyone felt ambivalently about it. They either lavished warm, loving praise on the play or attacked it with a cold fury.
Find a major point on which two or more of these reviewers disagree—e.g., the style of Ruhl's language, her use of the Orpheus myth, etc. Use their conflicting perspectives to discuss that aspect of the play.
By Friday, noon, e-mail me to let me know which issue you’ll focus on. Justify your interest in this issue by citing particular phrases or sentences where reviewers disagree.
Note: We’re not interested in conflicting judgments (as in, “It’s great!” versus “It stinks!”), but rather the conflicting interpretations of the play that support them.
Your finished paper (~2 pages) is due in class on Monday