Writing about Literature: A Portable Guide / Edition 1

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Overview

MLA coverage in this book is based on the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research papers, Sixth Edition (2003), as recommended for undergraduate students by the Modern Language Association. Our coverage will be updated in a reprint after MLA publishes the seventh edition of its Handbook, anticipated for spring 2009. See the preface for more information.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312412821
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's
  • Publication date: 12/28/2003
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 136
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Janet E. Gardner, an associate professor of English at University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, has published numerous essays on contemporary drama, especially modern British drama and the work of Caryl Churchill. She has received several grants and awards for research into current teaching technologies, and is at work on a nationwide study of drama and theatre pedagogy. She is the editor of 12 Plays: A Portable Anthology and co-editor of Literature: A Portable Anthology (both with Bedford/St. Martin’s).

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Table of Contents

Preface v

Introduction: Writing about Literature 1

1 The Role of Good Reading 2

The Value of Rereading 2

Critical Reading 2

The Myth of "Hidden Meaning" 3

Active Reading 4

Annotating 4

Samuel Taylor Coleridge, "Kubla Khan" 6

Notetaking 7

Journal Keeping 7

Using Reference Materials 9

Asking Critical Questions of Literature 9

Questions about the Text 10

Ben Jonson, "On My First Son" 11

Questions about the Author 11

Questions about the Cultural Context 12

Questions about the Reader 13

Tips for Good Reading 15

2 The Writing Process 16

Choosing a Topic 16

Developing an Argument 17

The Thesis 17

Gathering Support for Your Thesis 19

Organizing Your Paper 20

Drafting, Revising, and Editing 22

Drafting 23

Revising 23

Tips for Drafting, Revising, and Editing 25

Final Editing and Proofreading 26

Final Editing Checklist 27

Peer Editing and Workshops 28

Trouble Spots 31

Introductions 31

Conclusions 32

Transitions 33

Tips for Writing about Literature 33

Using Quotations Effectively 35

Adding to or Altering a Quotation 36

Omitting Words from a Quotation 36

Quotations within Quotations 37

Quotation Marks with Other Punctuation 37

Quoting from Stories 38

Quoting from Poems 39

Quoting from Plays 40

Tips for Quoting 41

Manuscript Form 42

3 Common Writing Assignments 43

Summary 43

Explication 44

"Upon Julia's Clothes" Robert Herrick 45

"Poetry in Motion: Herrick's 'Upon Julia's Clothes" Jessica Barnes 46

Analysis 47

"My Last Duchess" Robert Browning 48

"Possessed by the Need for Possession: Browning's 'My Last Duchess'" Adam Walker 50

Comparison and Contrast 51

"After Death" ChristinaRossetti 52

"Speakers for the Dead: Narrators in 'My Last Duchess' and 'After Death'" Todd Bowen 53

Essay Exams 54

4 Writing About Stories 57

Elements of Fiction 57

Plot 57

Characters 57

Point of View 58

Setting 58

Theme 59

Symbolism 59

Style 59

Stories for Analysis 60

"The Story of an Hour" Kate Chopin 61

"The Yellow Wallpaper" Charlotte Perkins Gilman 63

Questions on the Stories 77

Sample Paper: An Essay That Compares and Contrasts 77

"Good Husbands in Bad Marriages" Melanie Smith 79

5 Writing About Poems 82

Elements of Poetry 82

The Speaker 82

The Listener 82

Imagery 83

Sound and Sense 83

A Poem for Analysis 87

"Sonnet 116" William Shakespeare 87

Questions on the Poem 88

Sample Paper: An Explication 88

"Shakespeare Defines Love" Patrick McCorkle 89

6 Writing About Plays 92

Elements of Drama 92

A Play for Analysis 93

"Trifles" Susan Glaspell 94

Questions about the Play 106

Sample Paper: An Analysis 106

"Moral Ambiguity and Character Development in Trifles" Sarah Johnson 107

7 Writing A Literary Research Paper 110

Finding Sources 110

Books 111

Periodicals 111

Online Indexes 112

Interlibrary Loan 113

The Internet 113

Evaluating Sources 114

Working with Sources 115

Quoting 116

Paraphrasing and Summarizing 116

Commenting 116

Keeping Track of Your Sources 117

Writing the Paper 117

Refine Your Thesis 117

Organize Your Evidence 117

Start Your Draft 118

Revise 118

Edit and Proofread 118

Understanding and Avoiding Plagiarism 119

What to Document and What Not to Document 121

Documenting Sources: MLA Format 121

In-Text Citations 124

Preparing Your Works Cited List 127

Sample Research Paper 137

"Emily Dickinson's 'Because I could not stop for Death': Challenging Readers' Expectations" Jarrad S. Nunes 138

8 Literary Criticism and Literary Theory 143

Formalism and New Criticism 144

Feminist and Gender Criticism 144

Marxist Criticism 145

Cultural Studies 146

Historical Criticism and New Historicism 147

Psychological Theories 148

Reader-Response Theories 149

Structuralism 150

Poststructuralism and Deconstruction 151

Index of Terms 153

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