Introduction for Synthesis Paper, Option 2: “The Man to Send Rain Clouds”, “In the Gloaming”, and “Nik’s Last Meal”–2 Literary Works and a Memoir on Death

As Americans, we tend to prize youth and view death and old age with lingering fear.  “In the Gloaming” by Alice Elliot Dark takes us to 1990’s suburbia, where Martin escapes in his work to avoid confronting his terminally ill, 33 year old son Laird.  Despite a failing immune system and an absent father, remarkably, Laird is able to find meaning in his last days by really connecting with his mother.  Martin’s outlook on death, as a man driven by work and social status, represents the typical American view, but Dark shows us that possibility still remains even though the picture may look bleak.

Native American tribes such as the Laguna Pueblo see death very differently, as playing a vital role in the preservation of life.  Leslie Marmon Silko’s “The Man to Send Rain Clouds” portrays the beautiful intricacy of the tribe’s burial rituals, where Teofilo’s passing will send rain clouds for the upcoming harvest.  His death will ensure future abundance in life, leaving his survivors not in despair but in gratitude.  My personal Memoir “Nik’s Last Meal” describes a relatable view on death, where our dog Nikolas is put down due to old age pains.  This differs from “The Man to Send Rain Cloud” and “In the Gloaming” because an animal is involved, and generally, animals are viewed as quite subordinate to human concerns.  Nevertheless, Nik’s passing teaches us that honor and grace can persist in the face of death.  These works offer readers a wide spectrum of opportunity in facing our mortality.  Looking at the messages of each, we can combat the grim reaper with caring, gratitude, and if we’re paying attention before it’s too late, redemption.

 

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Methods of Analysis lecture

Here is a guide on how to utilize different methods of Analysis;

Created for Daylover’s version of English 102.

Use the following angles to analyze meaning in stories.  Refer to the examples as guides only; students are expected to write in their own style, using their own words.  Note tenses.

1) Character’s desires/motivation—outcome—meaning

Madame Loisel fantasizes about upper echelon life and can not see the good in what she has.  She suffers from a form of self-deception, denying her current life.

2) Author’s intention

Maupassant shows the consequences of vanity and pride in the final scene.

3) Question of Sympathy   (How does the author shape sympathy?)

Desiree becomes the tragic hero, as the most likable character in the story.

4) Metaphors.   (Objects/things of importance)

The overshoes represent Walter Mitty’s insecurity, as he dodges his wife’s urgings to wear them.

5) Setting: Time and Place. (Cultural forces in the story)

Women in the 19th century were expected to become dutiful and obedient wives.

6) Author’s background.

James Thurber is known for his comic portrayals of domestic life.   Walter Mitty is…

7) Word choice/connotation  (Usually needs a quote for support)

Chopin describes the Aubigny’s falling love as “ struck by pistol shot”, which foreshadows the story’s grim conclusion.

8) Ideas/Themes.

Chopin often writes about emancipation with strong female characters.   Note Clarisse’s state of mind at the end: “And the first free breath since her marriage seemed to restore the pleasant liberty of her maiden days,” (35).

Quotes for Support add onto another method, to back up an earlier statement or observation.  Note the two previous examples.   Do not change the tense of quotes.  If they are in past tense, keep them in the past.

Your task for Exercise 4:

Use the methods to organize 3 (double spaced) pages of analysis in support of your intro/thesis from Exercise 3.   That is, use the methods as labels for how you’re analyzing the work.

You may use a few methods more than others; but remember that variety helps bring depth to a paper.  Some may cross over or go together, so label all of the methods you’re using in the section of writing to follow.   No matter how the 3 pages are organized, the point is to become conscious of the methods you are using and move toward variety.

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How to Use Quotes, Katherine Mansfield’s “Miss Brill”

When writing an analysis paper, using quotes for support is necessary.  The following shows examples related to Katherine Mansfield’s “Miss Brill.”  Suppose I am arguing that Miss Brill’s judgement of others leads to her own separation, insecurity, and lack of importance.

(The picture is of the author, not Miss Brill.)

Quotes need to be 1) introduced; this lets readers know that a quote is coming; and 2) Cited. This includes the author and page number usually.  Refer to MLA guidelines.

Partial Quote

Miss Brill shows contempt for the fashion choices of others, the “dreadful Panama hat” worn by the Englishman (Mansfield 739).

Remember, you do not need to quote entire sentences always; sometimes you only need certain parts, usually with drawing attention to word choice.  

Note how the period comes after the citation, which includes the author and page number.


Here’s another example, this time using more of the quote and an ellipsis mark, which signifies that words are omitted.

Miss Brill, in fact, judges not only the dress of others, but their habits as well.  Mansfield writes, “…Miss Brill had often noticed–there was something funny about nearly all of them.  They were odd, silent, nearly all old…” (739).

Note how, since I mention Mansfield when introducing the quote, I can refrain from doing so in the citation.  This way or the previous method can both work; decide what best flows with your analysis.

Full Quote

Miss Brill’s judgements actually represent her own shortcomings.  She fancies that others stumble into the park from cupboards, when she lives in one herself.  ”But today she passed the baker’s by, climbed the stairs, went into the little dark room–her room like a cupboard–and sat down down on the red eiderdown,” (Mansfield 741).   Miss Brill changes her routine, which shows how this Sunday has affected her.    Mansfield’s reference to the bed covering symbolizes Miss Brill’s loneliness, given that she doesn’t have a partner.

Note how analysis utilizes all parts of the quote.   Also, notice how the sentence quoted ends in period, but we change that to a comma; the period comes after the citation.   

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Summary vs. Analysis examples–El Tonto del Barrio

Summary:

“El Tonto del Barrio” tells the story of Romero, a man described as “touched,” who has a special arrangement in the Golden Heights Centro.  Romero sweeps the sidewalks clean and gets handouts in exchange.  Barelas’ son Seferino feels bad for Romero and offers him a wage, which Romero accepts and soon begins requesting more.   Seferino denies him an increase, and Romero begins buying on credit and even resorts to stealing.  He flips off traffic, lifts up the women’s skirts, and becomes the barrio nuisance.  Once Seferino leaves for Harvard, Romero’s behavior goes back to normal.

Mix of Summary and Analysis (analysis is underlined):

“El Tonto del Barrio” tells the story of Romero, a man described as “touched,” who has a special arrangement in the Golden Heights Centro.  Romero sweeps the sidewalks and the barrio gives him handouts, which helps the community function in an orderly way.  Romero’s sweeping the sidewalks  gives him a sense of purpose, a role to fulfill.  The barrio tolerates his sometimes erratic behavior because he contributes a service faithfully and never causes trouble.  

Then Seferino decides to change all of that.  Seferino offers Romero a wage because he doesn’t understand that Romero’s concept of money is different than everyone else’s.  Self-worth equals a paycheck, in the eyes of Seferino.   After Seferino denies Romero a raise, Romero begins buying on credit and even resorts to stealing.  Because he wants more and doesn’t get it, Romero flips off traffic, lifts up the women’s skirts, and becomes the barrio nuisance.  With so many disturbances in Golden Heights Centro, Armas shows the negative impact of earning money and becoming a “businessman.”  Once Seferino leaves for Harvard, Romero’s behavior goes back to normal.  He begins sweeping the sidewalks and singing again.  Since everything goes back to normal when Seferino leaves, Armas makes it clear who the real “El tonto del barrio” is.

Analysis

“El Tonto del Barrio” tells the story of Romero and a once peaceful community gone awry.  Romero’s sweeping the sidewalks  gives him a sense of purpose, a role to fulfill.  The barrio recognizes his work with handouts, perhaps not an ideal situation for your ordinary person, but Romero is anything but normal.   Seferino offers Romero a wage because he doesn’t understand that Romero’s concept of money is different than everyone else’s.  Self-worth equals a paycheck, in the eyes of Seferino.   As such Romero demands a raise, a perfect example of how earning money can quickly go to your head.

Because he wants more and doesn’t get it, Romero flips off traffic, lifts up the women’s skirts, and becomes the barrio nuisance.  With so many disturbances in Golden Heights Centro, Armas shows the negative impact of earning money and becoming a “businessman.”   Since everything goes back to normal when Seferino leaves, Armas makes it clear who the real “El tonto del barrio” is.  This story illustrates how academic knowledge doesn’t exactly translate to real-world wisdom.

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How to Use Research, and Citation methods

Remember that research must be 1) introduced and 2) cited.   Here’s a few examples, going off of the last post: a paper on Religion with Courting a Monk, Araby, and Young Goodman Brown.  These are examples of citing secondary sources.

In-Text Citations 

Book—

Understanding Micah’s deeper motivations with Buddhism is necessary to interpreting the story.  The Buddha’s “Middle-way” philosophy represents “the concept of a rationed life, where the body is given what it needs to function optimally, but no more,” (Smith 85).  Micah takes this notion to the extreme, that of being a monk, where Gina’s sexual powers threaten his quest for a “rationed life.”

Articles are the same thing; cite author and page number.  This also applies for Web sources, provided there is a credited author and page number.  In an absence of page numbers, include the author only; in the absences of both, cite the title of the page and give the partial URL. 

The atmosphere of intense suspicion throughout Salem during 1692 is an important factor in “Young Goodman Brown.” “During the Salem witch trials, more people were accused and executed than in all the previous witchcraft trials in New England,” (Ray).   Fear-mongering throughout the community created more accusations, and so someone like Goodman Brown wouldn’t know who to trust.  His mind begins creating images in the forest to confirm his biggest fears.

If there were no credited author, the citation would be (“Overview of the Salem Witch Trials” virginia.edu).  Here’s another example, this time paraphrasing.

James Joyce’s “Araby” was published in a short story collection titled “Dubliners”, which the author wrote as a chapter of Ireland’s moral history (“Dubliners” jamesjoyce.ie).  Given the centuries-spanning fight between Irish Catholics and British control in Ireland, Catholicism is central to the moral history Joyce implies.   Despite this, Joyce’s references to Catholicism are more subtle.  The narrator first references Catholicism in the dead Priest who used to inhabit his house.

Works Cited (remember to list alphabetically and to indent if going to a 2nd line; format here doesn’t allow for indents)

PRIMARY SOURCES

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. “Young Goodman Brown.” Literature for Composition, Compact Edition. Ed. Sylvan Barnet et al. New York: Longman, 2003.  213-222. Print.

Joyce, James.  “Araby.” Literature for Composition, Compact Edition. Ed. Sylvan Barnet et al. New York: Longman, 2003.  226-230. Print.

Min, Katherine.  “Courting a Monk.”  Literature for Composition, Compact Edition. Ed. Sylvan Barnet et al. New York: Longman, 2003.  293-303. Print.

BOOK SOURCE

Smith, Huston.  The World’s Religions. New York: Harper Collins, 1958. Print.

If I had accessed this text online, the citation would be,

Smith, Huston. The World’s Religions. New York: Harper Collins, 1958. Web. 22 April 2012.

See OWL at Purdue, MLA for examples of periodicals and magazines in the Works cited.

WEB

“Dubliners.” Joyce, The James Joyce Centre. Big Top Multimedia, 2012. Web. 22 April 2012.

Rey, Benjamin. “Overview of the Salem Witch Trials.”Salem Witch Trials, Documentary Archive and Transcription Project.University of Virginia, 2002.  Web. 22 April 2012.

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Research Synthesis Paper, introduction–revised–“Young Goodman Brown”, “Courting a Monk”, and “Araby”–three stories and Religion

For fiction writers, treating the subject of religion involves serious risks.  Developing characters with religious beliefs can cause audience alienation; misrepresentation may also discredit the work.  The writer should present religious beliefs from many points view; this way the reader doesn’t judge the short story as propaganda.  Katherine Min’s “Courting a Monk” achieves an impressive objectivity despite the Buddhist faith taking center stage.

Nathaniel Hawthorne takes a different approach, authoring a scathing critique of Puritan New England with “Young Goodman Brown.”   Hawthorne’s allegorical adventure through the unknown forest represents mankind’s stuggle with doubt and suspicion.  In “Araby,” James Joyce’s Irish Catholic background infuses the story in subtle ways.  For Joyce’s kid-narrator and his family, their Catholicism represents a national pride and identity.  Taken together, these works reflect the many possibilities with integrating religious beliefs into the realm of fiction.  Time divides their portrayals: 1993, 1835, and 1905, which alters audience reception.  The authors’ varying treatments of religion display human nature’s unending confusion and fascination with the spiritual world.

(thesis is underlined)

Note how the few important differences and similarities are mentioned.  Other ideas relate of course, but I can elaborate on them later.  Stick to the bigger points for the Intro.  Avoid too much detail, here.  Save that for the rest of the paper.

The following sentences would be the start of my 3rd paragraph.

Audiences today generally allow the Writer more breathing room with treating religion in literature than in Hawthorne’s time.   “Courting a Monk” reflects the atmosphere of diversity surrounding college campuses in the 1990’s.  As such, the Buddhist faith takes the spotlight in a way reflective of society’s changing values.  It also make sense conflict-wise, for Min’s sexpot narrator to be confronted with the “reununciation of desire,” (Min 296).   Her sketcism of Micah’s faith plays to audiences who would also be sketical.

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An Explication of Elizabeth Bishop’s “One Art”

“–Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture

I love) I shan’t have lied.  It’s evident

the art of losing’s not too hard to master

though it many look like (Write it!) like disaster.”  (Bishop 129)

 

Elizabeth Bishop’s “One Art” displays the complicated nature of responding to loss.  Her speaker appears showy at first, but ultimately regret and confusion trump their self proclaimed art of losing.  Lines 16-19 reflect the pain of losing a partner as the most affecting, despite the speaker’s nonchalance.

By using the poem’s first and only dash, Bishop distinguishes the “you” from everything else the speaker has lost.  This shows how separation from people and relationships always carries more importance.  In line 16, the poem’s first set of parentheses includes the most personal reflection so far.  We become privy to the speaker’s inner voice with “joking voice” and “gesture I love” representing pleasing memories. The parenthetical highlights the most difficult loss, what is most missed.

 

“I shan’t have lied” sounds like reassuring the audience of her point, hinting at underlying insecurity.  Similarly, “It’s evident/the art” works to make a statement with diminishing confidence.  Also, the difference in wording, “…art of losing’s not too hard to master”, is certainly less assured than the poem’s first line, which is later repeated twice.  We can understand the impact of “you” and their memory upon the speaker.  This kind of loss, then, can be quite difficult to master, despite what the speakers actually claims.

 

The subtext of the speaker’s words finalizes the change in line 19.  “Write…” in italics emphasizes the act of setting something down, of needing to make it exist.  Notice that “it!” is not italicized.  The meaning of “it!”, the message of mastering loss, is not highlighted so much as the act of writing.  We can understand this as forcing oneself to write what is felt but not really believed to be true.  The exclamation mark connects with line 10’s “And look!” the poem’s only other.  Essentially, “look” at the “act” of writing in the attempt to master loss.

 

Most of us can identify with trying to put on brave faces regarding loss; yet actually mastering losing is another matter entirely.  Bishop’s faltering speaker represents human nature’s inner struggle with making art out of our struggles.

 

 

 

 

 

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