ENGL 3000-01 & 02 (Practical Criticism: Research and Methods)

Fall Semester 2013                   Midterm

General Guidelines

Your goal on this essay is to write a well-developed, unified, cogent response in support of a clearly stated argumentative thesis. Your paper should be a succinct 2-2 ½ full pages, typed double-spaced, in a 12-point font with one-inch margins on all sides. You must support all your claims with specific evidence from the text(s), quoted and cited correctly according to MLA guidelines. All papers should also include a works cited paged, again prepared according to MLA guidelines. If you are unsure about these guidelines, please refer to Gibaldi’s text.

NOTE: You may use any of the material in Appleman’s text and/or the material I have cited below as long as you cite it correctly in the body of the paper and the Works Cited page.

1)       Write a paper employing the theoretical tenets of ideological, or Marxist, criticism. Apply one of the theoretical concepts cited below to an analysis of a specific scene sequence, a character or characters, or one or more signs-for-analysis from Gene Yang’s American Born Chinese. Your reading should demonstrate a reasonable knowledge of ideological criticism and a skillful application of this term(s) to the literary text. Your thesis should posit a clear, compelling assertion for the ways in which this theoretical lens develops a specific articulation of meaning in the text.

*       Socio-economic class / classism

*       Ideological programming / colonization of consciousness

*       False consciousness, class consciousness, revolutionary consciousness

*       Signs and their ideological underpinnings (the transformer, blond hair, shoes, etc)

*       Louis Althusser’s and/or James Kavanagh’s concepts of ideology (click here on some questions to think about)

You might spend some time – in the introduction or first body paragraph of the paper – contextualizing the term or terms. Then delineate, perhaps in the thesis, how the term establishes a particular reading of your scene or sign in the novel. This will require that you have some facility in the critical terminology as well as the theoretical underpinnings that inform it. Feel free then to use the resources as your disposal: the Parker text, our supplemental notes from class, as well as the “Terms and Concepts” links in the Readings and Assignments portion of the syllabus (http://faculty.goucher.edu/eng215/marxist_terms.htm). Do, however, cite all direct references to these resources, as well as the primary text, where necessary and appropriate.