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Bedford/St. Martin's
Arguing about Literature: A Brief Guide

Arguing about Literature: A Brief Guide

by John Schilb


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 2901457664839
Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's
Publication date: 01/17/2014
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

John Schilb (PhD, State University of New York—Binghamton) is a professor of English at Indiana University, Bloomington, where he holds the Culbertson Chair in Writing. He has coedited Contending with Words: Composition and Rhetoric in a Postmodern Age, and with John Clifford, Writing Theory and Critical Theory. He is author of Between the Lines: Relating Composition Theory and Literary Theory and Rhetorical Refusals: Defying Audiences’ Expectations.
John Clifford (PhD, New York University) is a professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Editor of The Experience of Reading: Louis Rosenblatt and Reader-Response Theory, he has published numerous scholarly articles on pedagogy, critical theory, and composition theory, most recently in College English; Relations, Locations, Positions: Composition Theory for Writing Teachers; and in The Norton Book of Composition Studies.

Table of Contents

Preface for Instructors v

Contents Genre xviii

1 What Is Argument? 1

The Elements of Argument 2

Disconnected Urbanism Paul Coldberger 3

Issues 6

Claims 7

Persuasion 8

Audience 8

Evidence 9

Reasoning 9

Assumptions 10

Appeals 11

Developing an Effective Style of Argument 13

Sample Argument for Analysis 16

A New Moral Compact David W. Barno 17

Writing a Response to an Argument 20

A Student Response to an Argument 21

How to Slow Down the Rush to War Justin Korzack 21

Two Closing Arguments for Analysis 24

In Praise of the Clash of Cultures Carlos Fraenkel 25

Why Are Poor Kids Paying for School Security? Francine Prose 29

2 How to Argue about Literature 34

What Is Literature? 34

Why Study Literature in a College Writing Course? 36

Two Stories for Analysis 37

Orientation Daniel Orozco 38

Girl Jamaica Kincaid 43

Strategies for Arguing about Literature 45

Identify Issues 45

Make a Claim 52

Aim to Persuade 53

Consider Your Audience 53

Gather and Present Evidence 54

Explain Your Reasoning 55

Identify Your Assumptions 55

Make Use of Appeals 56

A Sample Student Argument about Literature 57

The Mother's Mixed Messages in "Girl" Ann Schumwalt 57

Looking at Literature as Argument 60

When I consider how my light is spent (poem) John Milton 60

Mending Wall (poem) Robert Frost 61

A Modest Proposal (essay) Jonathan Swift 63

3 The Reading Process 70

Strategies for Close Reading 70

A Poem for Analysis 74

Sharon olds, Summer Solstice, New York City 74

Applying the Strategies 75

Make Predictions 75

Reflect on Your Personal Background 76

Read for Patterns and for Breaks in Patterns 76

Read for Puzzles, Ambiguities, and Unclear Moments 77

Read for the Author's Choices 78

Generate Questions That Have More Than One Possible Answer 78

State Tentative Answers 78

Reading Closely by Annotating 79

Death of a Window Washer (poem) X. J. Kennedy 80

Using Topics of Literary Studies to Get Ideas 81

Night Waitress (poem) Lynda Hull 83

4 The Writing Process 89

The Solitary Reaper (poem) William Wordsworth 89

Strategies for Exploring 90

Strategies for Planning 92

Choose a Text 92

Identify Your Audience 93

Identify Your Issue, Claim, and Evidence 93

Identify Your Assumptions 94

Determine Your Organization 95

Strategies for Composing 96

Decide on a Title 96

Make Choices about Your Style 97

Draft an Introduction 98

Limit Plot Summary 98

Decide How to Refer to the Author's Life and Intentions 99

Recognize and Avoid Logical Fallacies 100

First Draft of a Student Paper 104

The Passage of Time in "The Solitary Reaper" Abby Hazelton 104

Strategies for Revising 106

A Checklist for Revising 107

Revised Draft of a Student Paper 110

The Passage of Time in "The Solitary Reaper" Abby Hazelton 110

Strategies for Writing a Comparative Paper 112

Two Trees (poem) Don Paterson 213

Regarding History (poem) Luisa A. Igloria 113

List Similarities and Differences 114

Consider "Weighting" Your Comparison 115

A Student Comparative Paper 116

Don Paterson's Criticism of Nature's Owners Jeremy Cooper 116

5 Writing about Literary Genres 121

Writing about Stories 121

A Visit of Charity Eudora Welty 122

The Elements of Short Fiction 127

Plot and Structure 127

Point of View 130

Characters 131

Setting 132

Imagery 133

Language 133

Theme 134

Final Draft of a Student Paper 137

The Real Meaning of "Charity" in "A Visit of Charity" Tanya Vincent 137

Writing about Poems 141

Singapore Mary Oliver 142

Blackberries Yusef Komunyakaa 143

The Mill Edwin Arlington Robinson 144

The Elements of Poetry 148

Speaker and Tone 148

Diction and Syntax 148

Figures of Speech 149

Sound 151

Rhythm and Meter 152

Theme 153

Revised Draft of a Student Paper 154

Negotiating Boundaries Michaela Fiorucci 154

Comparing Poems and Pictures 156

Analyzing Visual Art 157

Writing an Essay That Compares Literature and Art 158

Office at Night Rolando Perez 158

Office at Night Edward Hopper 159

A Sample Paper Comparing a Poem and a Picture 159

Lack of Motion and Speech in Rolando Perez's "Office at Night" Karl Magnusson 159

Writing about Plays 162

The Stronger August Strindberg 163

The Elements of Drama 168

Plot and Structure 168

Characters 169

Stage Directions and Setting 170

Imagery 172

Language 172

Theme 173

Final Draft of a Student Paper 176

Which Is the Stranger Actress in August Strindberg's Play? Trish Carlisle 176

Writing about Essays 178

Many Rivers to Cross June Jordan 179

The Elements of Essays 186

Voice 186

Style 187

Structure 187

Ideas 188

Final Draft of a Student Paper 188

Resisting Women's Roles Isla Bravo 189

6 Writing Researched Arguments 193

Identify an Issue and a Tentative Claim 194

Search for Sources in the Library and Online 194

Evaluate the Sources 196

Strategies for Working with Sources 197

Strategies for Integrating Sources 199

Strategies for Documenting Sources (MLA Format) 201

MLA In-Text Citation 202

MLA Works Cited 203

Four Annotated Student Researched Arguments 208

A Paper That Uses a Literary Work to Examine Social Issues 208

"The Yellow Wallpaper" as a Guide to Social Factors in Postpartum Depression Saraii Michaels 208

A Paper That Deals with Existing Interpretations of a Literary Work 212

The Meaning of the Husband's Fainting in "The Yellow Wallpaper" Katie Johnson 213

A Paper That Analyzes a Literary Work through the Framework of a Particular Theorist 217

Using Foucault to Understand Disciplinary Power in Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper" Jacob Grobowicz 218

A Paper That Places a Literary Work in Historical and Cultural Context 223

The Relative Absence of the Human Touch in "The Yellow Wallpaper" Brittany Thomas 224

Contexts for Research: Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper" and Mental Illness 228

The Yellow Wallpaper Charlotte Perkins Gilman 228

Cultural Contexts: Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Why I Wrote "The Yellow Wallpaper" 242

From "The Evolution of the Rest Treatment" S. Weir Mitchell 243

From The Ladies' Guide in Health and Disease John Harvey Kellogg 248

Appendix: Critical Approaches to Literature 254

Contemporary Schools of Criticism 255

New Criticism 255

Feminist Criticism 256

Psychoanalytic Criticism 256

Marxist Criticism 256

Deconstruction 257

Reader-Response Criticism 257

Postcolonial Criticism 258

New Historicism 258

Working with the Critical Approaches 259

Counterparts (story) James Joyce 259

Sample Student Essay 272

A Refugee at Home Molly Frye 272

Index of Authors, Titles, First Lines, and Key Terms 277

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