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Assignments

Assignments: All assignments will be posted to a Qwriting blog you create and maintain; this blog will also serve as a digital portfolio for this class. Most of the assignments will relate to a short story you choose to study throughout the semester, so the blog will also present a digital analysis of the story and its author.

a) Glossary of Terms: Select seven of the rhetorical devices defined on this webpage: http://virtualsalt.com/rhetoric.htm (you might use other sites to help clarify your understanding of the terms). Track a topic related to your chosen story on Twitter, and find examples of each of the rhetorical devices (take a screen shot or copy the text to record the tweets), giving a short explanation of how the rhetorical device is used. In an accompanying essay, use this evidence to describe the “rhetorical sophistication” of Twitter conversations about your topic. Post the terms, tweets, and essay on your blog.

b) Digital Humanities Project: Create a Wordle for a short story of your choosing. From your Wordle, use Google Book’s Ngram Viewer to research relevant words and synonyms for your text. Draw on your Wordle and Ngram Viewer results to support an essay that argues for or against the claim that “digital humanities technologies are the best way to interpret literature.” In making your argument, your essay should discuss both the strengths and the limitations of these two software programs. Post your Wordle, Ngram Viewer results, and essay to your blog.

c) Annotated Paragraph: Select a paragraph of around 100 words from your short story. Perform a “close reading” of the paragraph by first annotating it. Using html, you should offer commentary on every relevant word or phrase; this might include identifying rhetorical techniques, defining unusual words, noting repetition, or identifying images or symbols. Accompany your annotated paragraph with your close reading: an essay that analyzes how the author’s word choice and syntax (word order) create literary meaning (not just literal meaning).

d) Annotated Bibliography: Find three secondary sources to inform your investigation (i.e., journal articles, book chapters, book reviews, author interviews) using electronic databases like JSTOR, EBSCOHost, and the CUNY+ catalog. Following MLA style, create an annotated Works Cited page with citations and one-paragraph evaluative summaries of each article.

e) Self-Guided Conference Presentation: Imagine you have been asked to speak at a literary conference about your short story. Drawing on all the previous assignments, create a slide show presentation for the conference. Your presentation should quickly introduce the text to reasonably educated viewers, and then spend most of its time on introducing and supporting an argument about the literary meaning of your text. This argument should be based on one of the literary theories we have discussed.

f) Final Project: For your final project, revisit and revise the materials from the semester and create a webpage about your short story. In addition to the above assignments, you should also include separate Pages with biographical information, historical context, analyses of the story from at least two literary theory perspectives, and other relevant information like maps or images. Introduce your website with a cover letter to me that explains the process you went through to create your digital portfolio, describes the strengths you have gained by producing the pieces of writing and the challenges you still face as a writer.


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