Thursday, September 25, 2008

Recreating Beowulf

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You have three options so as to guarantee the peaceful fate of this Viking-land we call Central Catholic. Should you choose to accept one or the other, know that the task is of epic proportions; the destiny of Oakland rests on your shoulders. You must choose to live despite the reality of your own mortality--by doing so, you are worthy of the highest praise and the greatest of elegiac sympathies. The surmountable obstacles are as follows:

OPTION ONE: Choose any passage of at least 20 lines from the epic Beowulf and recreate it, using your own words, your own, modern-day idiom to spice things up. Be sure to type in the original, line-for-line, before transliterating it into your own dialect.

OPTION TWO: Imitate the alliterative style of at least 20 lines from the epic Beowulf and recreate the passage using your own subject matter. Be sure to type the original, line-for-line, before imitating it with your own subject matter in place of the original.

OPTION THREE: Choose any passage of at least 20 lines from the epic Beowulf and create a "spin-off" passage in which your write 20 lines of your own verse that extend the story as you see fit. Be sure to type the original, line-for-line, before spinning-off of it into a fiction of your own (using, of course, characters and themes from the poem itself).

This is due TUESDAY, September 30, 2008 by class time. Remember to head your submissions with MLA format and indicate the lines you are using for the chosen option above:

Your Name
My Name
ENG 141 / British Lit
Due Date

A Centered Title
(line numbers from poem)

In peace,

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Below is a link to a few student examples from last year's class:

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Criticism on BEOWULF


Available now in the library is an internet research database called JSTOR.

As noted on the website,

JSTOR is a not–for–profit organization dedicated to helping the scholarly community discover, use, and build upon a wide range of intellectual content in a trusted digital archive. Our overarching aims are to preserve a record of scholarship for posterity and to advance research and teaching in cost–effective ways. We operate a research platform that deploys information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. We collaborate with organizations that can help us achieve our objectives and maximize the benefits for the scholarly community.

The goal of JSTOR is to introduce students and scholars to the wide world of literary criticism.[see footnote below]
It is also ideal for modeling how to write works of literary criticism.

To familiarize yourself with how to use the system, I would like each of you to search and print out one scholarly article pertaining to Beowulf and submit a one-paragraph “abstract”—a summary of a text, scientific article, document, speech, etc.—on that article to the blog, being sure to indicate the title of the article as well as its author.
You can access JSTOR from the library or from home by clicking the link to the left. Each of you will have to register individually with an easy-to-remember personal username and password (record them in your journals so that you do not lose them).

DUE DATE: Friday, October 3, 2008

Please be sure to submit your article with the proper heading:

Your Name
My Na me
ENG 141 / British Lit
Due Date

Article Title:
Article Author:


literary criticism
a written evaluation of a work of literature [syn:
the informed analysis and evaluation of literature

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Jekyll/Hyde: From Prose to Poetry

Alright my Brothers,

It is time to flex your creative muscles and commit to some verse.

Pick a format: hip-hop, slam, stream of consciousness, free verse, blank verse, rhyme, or no rhyme scheme (if you don't know what the different poetic styles are, then look them up).

Then write an at least 14-line poem in which you incorporate at least 10 vocabulary words in context (that is, using their intended meanings) with a theme from the novel as we discussed (or perhaps did not discuss) in class.

Your heading format is as follows:

Your Name
Teacher's Name
Date Due
Title of Poem

Play around with the idea of the theme, but do not be explicit as to what the theme actually is with which you are dealing in the poem. Let the reader guess.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Breaking Out of the 'Prisonhouse'

The End of Jekyll and Hyde: An In-Class Essay Quest

During the last three weeks, we have gone into some depth picking out themes of Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

That said, I call to mind our lost friend, Dr. Jekyll (a.k.a. Mr. Hyde), suffering from an identity crisis that ultimately consumes his entire being. Keeping in mind all that we have read, all that we have discussed, and all that we have written in or out of class:

  • Construct a well-developed, five paragraph essay in which you consider the nature of some theme we’ve discussed—be it the psychology of addiction, adolescence, the Oedipus complex, identity confusion, etc.—and its application to the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
  • Make a thesis statement in which you form a general assumption that can branch into three specific ideas or examples from the novel that address or demonstrate the overall issue (be it addiction, adolescence, the Oedipus complex, etc.).
  • Make your claims regarding the theme by using whatever materials are appropriate as your guide.
  • You are more than free to paraphrase from the articles I administered and use them as your own.
  • Remember that with each claim you make regarding the theme and its application to The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, you should construct a respective paragraph that revolves around that claim.
  • Each of your body paragraphs should include a specific example from the novel that demonstrates the theme on which your thesis statement is based.
  • If you are quoting or paraphrasing an instance from the text, you can begin with a transitional phrase such as: For example, For instance when, etc.
  • Be sure to refer to all events from the novel in the present tense (i.e. Jekyll drinks the potion…, rather than, Jekyll drank the potion…).
  • Lastly, end with a conclusion—this can be your fifth paragraph—in which you consider your own adolescent experience and how your life ties in with Jekyll/Hyde struggle.