Objective: To make clear how a work supports a theme (or main
idea) by directing all facets of the work toward that idea. Use the
checklist to help assure quality (so you don't just summarize but analyze).
YOU HAVE TO TALK, but not as part of a group.
Details for Individual
Presentations Using Technology: Pick ONE.
- Audio Review: YOU MAKE A SOUND FILE, probably a .wav
file. If you have a microphone, you can use the audio
recorder that comes with Windows to record a review, but you may be
limited to recording no more than 60 seconds at a time in one sound file.
You can and should write a script for this spot, but your reading should
be both rehearsed and enthusiastic.
- Infomercial: Well, not exactly. This task will involve some
scrounging and creativity, as well as recording video and sound with a
camcorder, if you have access to one (each minute involves about 200
spoken words). Pick a story or poem for which props are very important,
such as Tim O'Brien's "The Things They
Carried" or Susan
Glaspell's short play Trifles. Explain the symbolism of some
of those objects in the story while holding the objects. You're not
trying to sell us M-16s or cherry preserves, but you are trying to
persuade viewers that your view of the symbolism of each object is
reasonable. How many objects is enough? That depends on your thesis:
maybe one, maybe three objects that fit together for comparison and
contrast. In Trifles, maybe the preserves and the canary fit
together as symbols that define Minnie Foster Wright. In "The Things They
Carried," maybe the drugs, the letters, and the pantyhose fit together to
define "escape" from the war. (Use a bag of oregano to simulate
marijuana, please, if you decide you want to try this thesis.)
To give you some ideas, you might look in the Trifles archive in
the Litonline webs regarding
If you can't get access to a camcorder or other videotape maker, here's
an alternative: Make a story board (poster) of still pictures
(Polaroid is OK and you know immediately if the picture turned out) of
each prop. Put each picture in a sequence on the poster board with the
script (what you would say if you were holding the prop and telling about
its importance to the story) for that shot below it. Make an audio
recording of you saying the script in that sequence. Together the stills
and the audio will simulate a video well enough.
- Telephone Discussion: Prepare your ideas about one of the
works in our textbook (use the checklist), email me which work you wish to
discuss, and arrange with me time and phone number where you will call me
so that we can discuss the work. You should be ready to carry the
conversation, though I will feel free to ask plenty of questions to prompt
further analysis on your part.
I can't accept collect calls, if you are in long-distance range, so you
have to absorb the cost on your phone bill or with a phone card; plan to
converse about 20 minutes.
The presentations are "application questions." That is,
they require students to take considerations from the course materials,
including a textbook, and apply them to contemporary works, closer to the
kinds of literary products they will look to for the rest of their lives for
entertainment than to the anthologized classics in their course text.
Reasons for Requiring Presentations:
- Students are required to do presentations so that they can demonstrate
their ability to carry out a "one-sided conversation" about a work they
have considered and reconsidered.
- Students act as guides on a work for their classmates, considering not
just "likes" and "dislikes" (emotional reactions) and not just the ideas
of a work, but also helping their classmates and the teacher to see the
quality of the work.
- Students field questions from the teacher or classmates (as time
allows) to augment or clarify aspects of the work that have occurred to
their listeners as a result of their presentation.
- Being able to present your views of a topic you have studied
thoroughly to a group of interested colleagues and a supervisor in an
organized way is one of the hallmarks of professionalism.
- Being able to synthesize a large amount of information, observations,
even conflicting viewpoints and alternative explanations into a coherent
and organized overview is one of the hallmarks of education.