Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Assignment for Feb.22

Hello class!

Next week we'll be tackling M. Twain and American Humor: Storytelling style in M.Twain’s stories
Read: M. Twain’s short biography + HAL p.97-98.

Image Source:

I hope you have had fun creating your blogs. From now on, we'll be using them to garner ideas and information for your future web site. On our weblogs, we'll do some brainstorming for ideas and possible interpretations of a literary work in question.

Your site will focus on one or two of the authors and it has to include the following literary elements or techniques you are familiar with:analysis of the text;historical, biographical, cultural contextual information;online versions of literary works (as links).This project will give you the opportunity to consolidate and expand upon the work you’ve done this semester. You will have to conduct research in relation to your author/s: their literary works; some biographical information; socio-historical context; related criticism and specific references to the text you choose to include just as you’ve been doing in discussions in class.

By Feb.22 all the groups are expected to choose the topic of their project and explain the reasons for choosing it on their weblog. My advice is to take a topic you are really interested in. It can deal either with the authors we'll be discussing in class, or with works of literature which we won't be able to tackle this semester.

I have put together a list of topics you can choose from. If you have any questions about an author or his writings, please feel free to either ask me by leaving a comment on my blog, or to look it up on However, I would be very happy if you came up with your own topic.

1. Shine Your Shoes for the Fat Lady, or Spiritual Quest in J.D.Salinger’s Novels “Franny" and "Zooey”
2. J.D.Salinger’s concept of raising children (The Glass Family as his idea of New Age people)
3. Eastern Philosophy in Salinger’s Writings (stories “Teddy”, “Franny”, “Zooey”)
4. Zen Buddhism and the Beat Generation
5. Flapper Culture in “The Great Gatsby”.
6. Modern American Authors on the Art of Writing
7. Josef Brodsky’s Writings in English
8. American Dream in “The Great Gatsby”.
9. Post-War American Society in the novel “The Winter of our Discontent”.
10. The search for American Identity in J. Steinbeck’s novels.
11. F.S. Fitzgerald as a Chronicler of the Jazz Age (stories “Bernice Bobs Her Hair”, “Winter Dreams”, “The Rich Boy”, “The Diamond as Big as the Ritz”).
12. Saul Bellow: a great fantasist (“Henderson the Rain King”).
13. Herzog by Saul Bellow: a novel of redemption
14. The Story of Failure and Success in “Humboldt’s Gift” by Saul Bellow
15. Searching for the Sense of Life: Walker Percy’s “ The Moviegoer”.
16. Fitting in the “middle America”: Rabbit’s trilogy (Rabbit, Run, Rabbit Redux, Rabbit is Rich) 17. William Burroughs, a great American postmodernist writer
18. Nabokov’s “Pnin”: triumphs and its failures of Russian émigré experience in the United States.
19. Nabokov on the nature of time (Ada or Ardor: A Family Chronicle and Transparent Things) 20. Experience of a Prisoner of War in Kurt Vonnegut’s “Slaughterhouse-Five”.
21. Ezra Pound as an Architect of English and American Literary Modernism.
22. Robert Frost, a homespun Yankee sage
23. American Writers: Nobel Prize Laureates
24. The Beatnik Philosophy in the works of Allen Ginsburg and Jack Kerouac
25. Tennessee Williams’ plays (The Streetcar Named Desire & The Glass Menagerie)
26. What does McMurphy represent in Ken Kesey’s One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest?
27. Female Images in Toni Morrison's Sula and Beloved.


KOALition (Keen On American Literature :) said...

Hello, Anna Vladimirovna!
So, our group of "blog wizards" is here :)
our group email:
KOALition (Kate-Olga-Ann-Lena)

Sunrise said...

Sveta_Milyaeva: Anna Vladimirovna, thank you for your directions. We've managed to upload the pictures from the computer. Unfortunately, Lilya has some troublewith the 'Net and Elya can't find a suitable photo. That's why the page is still in the pipeline. You may have a look at our page - we have already chosen the topic. I'll try to do something about the presentations. By the way, these are sunflowers, not dandelions. We have lots of them grown in my homeland.

anna_filatova said...

Thanks, Sveta! I am glad you've found a way out. I am sure that very soon you'll be experts on weblogs and web publishing.

Just a technical question. Are you sure you want to moderate all the comments that people make to your posts? Are you subscribed to the mail service so that once you get a comment, you get an email about it? Or you see new comments only when you sign in on your blog??

anna_filatova said...

Dear Sveta, Elya and Lilya!

I am very impressed that you have chosen these two topics. Actually, I am not sure that "One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest" by Ken Kesey falls under the category of "Searching for the Sense of Life". It deals with social blights instead. So, it's a little difficult to combine these 2 books under one topic. The good news is you don't have to take two topics unless you want to.

Some considerations along the lines. "The Moviegoer" is a good read. It can be found in the American Center library ( I am not sure how many copies they have.

"One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest" is available in any bookstore.

If you want to combine two authors, a better choice might be Walker Percy ("The Moviegoer") and John Updike ("The Centaur"), or Walker Percy and J.D.Salinger "Franny" and "Zooey". (Electronic texts can be found at

ewe said...

Hello, Anna Vladimirovna!
We (KOALition) have some doubts about our web-projects' topic!
I'll try to explain you our thoughts and intentions. We decided to take Tennessee Williams... We heard about his play and the movie called "The streetcar named desire" and arrived at an idea that it would be interesting to proceed with the topic somehow connected with the moral code and ethics... But therein lies a problem: how should we name our topic? It will be too simple to name it "Moral principles in "The streetcar named desire" by Tennessee Williams"... or not? And how to connect it with the movie? We need a topic which will combine the play & the movie & the morality.
Would you help us in search of the appropriate name?
May be we shall add one more his play which you advised in the list of probable themes (The Glass Menagerie)? Or may be, it should include some comparison of T.W's play with the play of some other author(s)?
Thank you for your help.
Yours respectfully,
KOALition (Elena).

anna_filatova said...

Dear Elena, Anna, Kate and Olga!

I am very glad you are taking Tennessee Williams. To explore the work of Tennessee Williams is to explore stories that are uniquely American, essentially human, and thus capable of touching and teaching us a great deal about ourselves. Maybe we can formulate your topic as "Outcasts in the Plays of Tennessee Williams" and take his most famous plays (A Streetcar Named Desire,The Glass Menagerie, The Night of the Iguana, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof). You can exlopre his extraordinary personages who are considered to be religious, fugitive, and sexual outcasts in the society.

The other option, as you suggested, is to compare A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams and Long Days Journey into Night by Eugene O'Neill. Both plays are centered on tensions and tragedies in two American families.

Or you can do a comparative analysis of Miller's Death of a Salesman and Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie where you can explore the function of memory as a dramatic and functional device.

The first topic seems to be the most interesting, thought-provoking, and ... challenging.
You decide!

Best of luck,
Anna Vladimirovna

so-summer said...

Dear Anna Vladimirovna, thank you for your help (as we do not know very much about T.Williams, it was a bit difficult for us to come up with any concrete topic). The first one you've suggested (about outcasts) is really gripping, so I believe our group will not hesitate which one to choose!

KOALition (Olga)

so-summer said...

Dear Anna Vladimirovna, thank you for your help (as we do not know very much about T.Williams, it was a bit difficult for us to come up with any concrete topic). The first one you've suggested (about outcasts) is really gripping, so I believe our group will not hesitate which one to choose!
KOALition (Olga)