Literary Analysis Supported by Literary Criticism
Due Date: Monday, May 21, 2018
By now, Kurt Vonnegut has
E. all of the above
F. none of the above (fill in your reaction here _______________________)
you with the wild ride through space and time that is Slaughterhouse-Five. Though we will continue to discuss many aspects of the novel, our conversation will leave almost everything unresolved. This presentation gives you the opportunity to explore what others, acknowledged experts, say about this post-modern novel and to measure your reaction and interpretation against the thinking of scholars and literary critics. My hope is that you will more fully understand the novel and crystallize how you feel after reading the criticism.
For this research project, I will divide you up into six groups of three, each of which will research an assigned topic (randomness guaranteed by selecting cards and rolling dice). Each group must use the novel and incorporate at least three critical sources into an analysis you will present to the class for no less than 10 and no more than 20 minutes one day during the last week of school, with the order determined by random draw. You may support your argument with sources whose interpretation you agree with and/or present critical judgments with which you disagree and prove the greater validity of your analysis. Be prepared to answer questions from your classmates.
We will have class in the library on Thursday, 5/10, where you will receive a LibGuide and some direction from Ms Stuart. On Monday, 5/14, you will have another library day for research in groups. You will have class time on Thur and Fri, 5/17-18 to put together and practice your presentation. You must give me a copy of the notes you use for your presentation, whether that takes the form of bullet points, an outline, or full paragraphs, including a required Works Cited page and copies of the pages/passages you quote, highlighted. I will record your lesson, and part of your grade will be the quality of your presentation: balance, organization, clarity, supporting visuals (e.g., handouts, videos, slides), and comprehensiveness.
First, I suggest reading several general sources, including biographical materials or the original book reviews and responses when the novel was published. You may include and cite biographical essays, but they don’t count as a critical source unless the essay is one of biographical criticism, applying Vonnegut’s life experience to the novel.
Second, each member of the group should read multiple different essays and discuss them before deciding as a group which ones to use. If you stop too soon, you might simply adopt the perspective of the last critic you read, but reading several will almost certainly give you multiple viewpoints, forcing you to decide with whom you agree or disagree and why.
Third, talk as a group and decide where you stand on your issue. Though you may present multiple perspectives, you should ultimately take an interpretive stand and make a clear claim about meaning.
Fourth, give yourself permission to communicate a tone, to be as meaningfully unconventional as Vonnegut, to find original ways to convey your point.
Good luck and have fun. I can’t believe this is the end!