Introduction to Literature

Reading in the Digital Age

Tag: discussion (page 1 of 2)

Treating Innocence and Experience

Respond to one of the following prompts with an initial post of at least 150 words:

Option A: Which poems in this section of LHE depend largely on irony for their force? Why do you think irony is a useful device in literature that portrays innocence and experience? Be sure to use specific details from the texts you choose in your response.

Option B: Some authors treat the passage from innocence to experience as comedy, while others treat it more seriously. Which text(s) from your reading for this week treat it as comedy and which treat it as something else? Elaborate on how each of your choices does so (in at least 50 words per text). Once you’ve done that answer this question in at least 50 words: Do you find one or the other treatment more satisfying? Explain.

Post your initial response to the Treating Innocence & Experience page on G+ Once you’ve made your initial post, comment on and/or ask questions about the experience described by at least three of your peers. Your responses should be at least 50 words long.

Defining Innocence and Experience

In LHE, Abcarian and Klotz observe that “that terms innocence and experience range widely in meaning, and that [this] range is reflected” in the texts they chose for inclusion in the Innocence and Experience section of their book. They further suggest that innocence can be biological, social, emotional, or mental (78). Pick at least one text from your reading for the week and discuss how the text(s) portray innocence in an initial response of at least 150 words. Consider:

  1. Is it biological, social, emotional, mental? Something else?
  2. What forces (if any) act upon the narrative’s character(s)/speaker(s) and influence them to become more or less innocent?
  3. What type of experience does the character/speaker gain (if any) in the narrative?
  4. And so on…

Post your initial response to the Defining Innocence & Experience page on G+ Once you’ve made your initial post, comment on and/or ask questions about the experience described by at least three of your peers. Your responses should be at least 50 words long.

Experiencing Death of a Salesman

After you’ve read Death of a Salesman and watched the film adapted from it, reflect on how watching the movie influenced your understanding of the play and how having first read the play influenced your experience with the movie. Your initial response should be at least 150 words long.

Post your initial response to the Experiencing Death of a Salesman page on G+ Once you’ve made your initial post, comment on and/or ask questions about the experience described by at least three of your peers. Your responses should be at least 50 words long.

Literary Images of Love and Hate

All the texts in the Love and Hate section of LHE address these deep human emotions in slightly different ways and using slightly different images and/or figurative language (i.e., metaphors, simile, etc.). For this discussion, pick three texts from this unit’s reading and consider the images and/or figurative language that each writers use to characterize love and hate. For instance, in his poem “Fire and Ice” Robert Frost compares love (desire) to fire and hate to ice. (FYI: Frost’s comparison is off limits now. :-p )

Once you’ve settled on your images/figurative language, pick one that most interests you or that you find most effective and discuss in a micro-essay of at least 150 words how this image/figurative language functions in its particular text. In your essay, remember to use specific examples from each text. As you consider the image’s/figurative language’s function, think about the following questions: what does the image/figurative language suggest about the nature of love and/or hate? How often does it appear in the text? What role does it play in the text—i.e., is it an object that characters interact with and/or share or is it something constructed by the speaker/narrator to help readers better grasp what the narrative has to say about love and/or hate?

Post your micro-essay as your initial post to this discussion board. Once you’ve made your initial post to the Images of Love & Hate page in G+, comment on and/or ask questions about the choices provided by at least three of your peers. Your responses should be at least 50 words long.

Of Marriage and Wiving and Othello

It’s easy to reduce Othello and Desdemona’s failed marriage to Iago’s scheming and Othello’s jealousy. But the rules of choosing and keeping a wife were slightly different in the late 16th/early 17th centuries. Alexander Niccholes outlines many of these rules in his 1615 book, A Discourse of Marriage and Wiving, and of the Greatest Mystery therein contained: How to Choose a Good Wife from a Bad. In this discussion board we’ll examine the marriage relationships in Othello, which was written around 1603, with an eye toward these standards.

To begin, read this chapter from Niccholes’ book: “Certain Precepts to be Observed either in Wiving or Marriage.” As you do, circle or make note of at least two rules that apply to Othello and Desdemona’s relationship and at least one that applies to Iago and Emilia’s relationship. Once you’ve done this, turn to Othello and record specific evidence of each precept in the play and a brief (at least 50 word) explanation of how that precept seems to influence each marriage relationship. 

For your initial post in this discussion, list each precept, the evidence you found to illustrate its presence in the play, and your explanation of how that precept influences each marriage. (It’s fine to do this in a numbered list.) Once you’ve made your initial post on the Marriage, Wiving, Othello page on G+, comment on at least three other posts with replies of at least 50 words, asking questions of your peers and/or seeking to make connections among what they’ve said, your experience, and the unit reading.


(Adapted from “How to choose a good Wife from a bad…”: Were Othello and Desdemona doomed from the start? by Annmarie Kelly Harbaugh.)

Shakespeare’s Source Material

Shakespeare’s stories were often derived from folk tales and myths. Adapting these materials for his own use, however, he never hesitated to alter or elaborate on the details so he could tell the story he wanted to tell. Such is the case with Othello, which Shakespeare adapted from a tale in Giraldi Cinthio’s 1565 collection of stories, Hecatommithi. While many aspects of Cinthio’s tale made it into Othello, Shakespeare freely added details of his own and changed others in light of Elizabethan social conditions and so he could make the story work on the stage.

After reading both Othello and Cinthio’s tale, write a micro-essay of at least 150 words in which you compare and/or contrast one similarity or one difference between the narratives. Post your micro-essay to the Shakespeare’s Source Material page on G+ as your initial post to this discussion. Once you’ve made your initial post, comment on at least three other posts with replies of at least 50 words, asking questions of your peers and/or seeking to make connections among what they’ve written, your own experience, and the week’s reading.

The Poet as Activist/Poetry as Activism

Many poets are inspired to write by and about social and political conditions, including the relationship between sexes and among races, social classes, and countries, etc. In so doing, they hope to speak out against oppression and to throw light on the human condition in hopes of inspiring change in individual readers and in communities. The poems in this unit seek to do just that: to comment on the human condition and to inspire change. In this light, these poets could be considered activists and their poetry as a form of activism.

In an initial post of at least 200 words, discuss what change two or three of this unit’s poems hope to inspire and what strategies the poets have used to inspire change. For instance, what tone do the poems’ speakers take to their subjects and to themselves? Do they make use of irony or humor and to what ends? What specific language and imagery do these poems contain and what emotions do this language and/or imagery evoke? And so on.

In all of this keep in mind the following questions: how, if at all, does this poem inspire me to act? What, if anything, does my interaction with it inspire me to do or to become?

Once you’ve made your initial post, comment on at least three other posts by the week’s end with posts of at least 50 words.

Post your initial response to the Poets, Poetry, & Activism page on our G+ community then reply directly to your peers’ G+ posts.

Conformity and Rebellion Across Artistic Genres

Take a few minutes to consider the image included on LHE 310: Untitled, 1985, by Keith Haring. (You can view a color image here.) As you do so, annotate the image by recording your reactions to it in the margins of your book or in your reading notebook. Then, do a web search for some basic information on Haring and his work to provide some social and/or artistic context for Untitled, 1985. When you do this, you might learn who/what influenced Haring’s subject matter and style, what social issues and movements he responded to and addressed, etc. After you’re satisfied with what you tracked down, respond to the following questions in a short paragraph (100 words or so):

  1. What was your first response to Untitled, 1985?
  2. Did the information you discovered about Haring and his work help you to better understand and relate to Untitled, 1985? If so, how? If not, why?
  3. In your view, how does Untitled, 1985 illustrate the topic of Unit Two: Conformity and Rebellion?

Now, in a micro-essay of at least 150 words, discuss how one or two of the texts from this week’s reading* address similar and/or different ideas as those that came to mind as you considered Untitled, 1985 and its social and/or artistic contexts.

Post your short paragraph and your micro-essay to the Conformity & Rebellion page in our G+ community; this will be your initial post. Respond to at least three of your peers’ posts by week’s end with replies of at least 50 words.

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*This could include, of course, what you read for individual choice.

The Tone of Rebellion

Turn to the Glossary of Literary Terms Abcarian and Klotz have included at the end of LHE (1204-15) and look up the word “tone.” Then, in a post of at least 150 words, discuss the tone of two or three of the texts from this week’s reading. In your response, consider especially how this tone influenced your interaction with and response to each text.

After you’ve posted your initial response, you should respond to at least three other posts throughout the week with responses of at least 50 words.

Post your initial response to The Tone of Rebellion page on our G+ community then reply directly to your peers’ G+ posts.

Reading as Having a Conversation

(Initial post due by Midnight Wednesday. Follow up posts due by Midnight Sunday.)

In “Why Don’t You Let It Out Then?,” John E. Schwiebert outlines what he calls “a conversation model for reading and writing.” In one or two sentences, summarize this model. Then respond to the following questions (your post should be at least 200 words total): What new understanding, if any, does this model give you of your own habits as a reader and writer? Do you read “conversationally”? How or how don’t you? When or when don’t you? How might applying the conversation model in your own reading (by using the four-step process Schwiebert outlines in “Making New Texts from Old”) influence the way you interact with and learn from texts?

Once you’ve posted your intial response, respond throughout the week to at least three of your peers. Your responses should be at least 75 words.

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