LIT 4334: The Golden Age of Children's Literature

Blog Assignment and Prompts

Assignment: Blog Posts

Introductory blog= 15 points
6 blogs x 40 points = 240 points
6 comments x 20 points = 120 points each

All students will post an introductory blog post in order to familiarize themselves with the workings of WordPress and ensure their accounts are up and running.

After the introductory post, students will be assigned alternating groups (A & B) and will post blogs and comments to the WordPress blog on alternating weeks. Each student will post a minimum of 6 blog entries and 6 comments by the end of the semester. Each blog will be 300- 500 words, polished, refined, visually appealing and will address one of the provided prompts. In general, blog posts will be due prior to the start of class on Thursdays.

Blog comments will be 200-300 words (or 2 posts of 150 words each) and will add new insights, commentary or arguments to the conversation started by the original post. Classroom decorum rules also apply to blog conversations. A more detailed grading rubric for the blogs, comments and introductory blog are available on Sakai and WordPress. In general, comments will be due by 11pm on Thursday evenings.

Prompts

Students should choose one of these blog prompts as a starting point for their blog posts.  Students should tag their posts to indicate which prompt they are using.  Students should view these prompts as starting points and may choose to respond to parts of the prompt rather than the entire list of questions or instructions.   Students should not repeat prompts, with the exception being the free choice option.  Prompts tagged with an asterisk (*) are eligible for the extra credit option explained below.

  1. Close Reading: Choose a short, evocative passage from one the class texts (no more than 100 words). Reproduce that quote and perform an in-depth close reading on the passage, analyzing the subtext, word choice, motifs, themes and other literary devices apparent in the text. (The quote does not count towards the minimum word count for this post).
  2. Distant Reading: Create a visual or abstract map of the events of the novel. This may include tracing locations in which the action takes place, a depiction of the timeline of the novel, tracing a character’s movements/interactions or other interlocking themes/motifs throughout the text. You should seek to encapsulate the whole of the novel in some way and may be thought of as a distant reading.  Be as creative or analytical as you like.
  3. Critical Text analysis: Choose one of the articles/book chapters/critical texts we have read in class, or one you have found in your own research (must be from a peer-reviewed academic journal or book.)  Outline the main argument of the article and then engage with the scholarly discussion.  Do you agree with all of the points the author has made, or are there counter-arguments you would like to propose?  Did you find yourself confused by any particular point or did you research any of the concepts or ideas discussed in the article (sharing that information may help your fellow students!) How does this essay fit in with the larger themes or questions of this class?  If you are planning to use this essay for your own research, how does it fit in with your thesis and what can you add to what we have already discussed?
  4. Character Analysis*: Write an in-depth character analysis of one character that appears in one of the novels we have read in class.  This character analysis may include some of the following elements: describe the character briefly; describe how they interact with the other characters and their environment; describe how they interact with their environment, describe their place in the reader’s mind (are they a hero, villain, warning, symbol etc.)  Is this character a symbol or an archetype?  What is the most pivotal thing this character says or does?  How would the novel be different without that character’s presence?
  5. Theme/Motif*: Identify a theme or motif that appears repeatedly in one of the novels we have read for class.  Trace the major instances of that motif and read each appearance critically.  Why did the author choose to repeat the same image, idea or phrase?  What is the potential symbolic meaning of this motif?  How does this theme/motif enhance the book, a character or your understanding of the overall message of the novel?
  6. Classic?*: What is it about the books we have read this semester that makes them popular a century or more after their original publication?  What elements go into a “classic” tale or, what does a book need to have in order to transcend into the category of “classic”?  Who gets to decide what books are deemed “classic?”  Are children’s classics evaluated differently than adult classics?  Choose one or more of the texts we have read and analyze the plot, structure, tale type or other content that you believe helped this particular story survive and become popular with multiple generations of children.  On the flip side, you might approach one of the books you had never heard of prior to this class and examine why, despite being a “classic,” this book escaped your notice or was not considered as important as other classics.
  7.  Appropriate for children today?*: Choose one of the texts we have read in class and evaluate its suitability for young audiences. What age group do you believe should this text be recommended for (even if that age group is different from the one the marketers suggest.?  What themes, ideas, plot points or language help you make this determination?  You might cite other reviews of this book, whether or not it has been banned from school libraries, or objections adults have had to the text when evaluating its age range.  You might also note cultural changes from the Golden Age to contemporary time that may have influenced the age appropriateness of the book.
  8. Popular culture*: Analyze the way one (or more) of the texts we have read has been represented in popular culture, such as films, television, comics/graphic novels, digital media, advertisements or other media.  You may choose to look at how a character, image or concept from one of our texts is used as a representative short hand, which assumes icon status (large numbers of people will see and understand the source material).  Or, you may choose to look at the ways a film or television show has translated a classic tale for a modern audience, including popular retellings or re appropriations of a character or tale type to tell a different kind of story or to challenge the “classic” version of that story.  This post may be comparative, looking at the text and the popular culture text, or it may analyze the popular culture text on its own merits.
  9. Thoughts on a paper: Use your blog post to summarize your argument for your final paper, or work through one of the major points you plan to use in your final paper. Use this space as an opportunity to rehearse, work through, and get feedback from your peers as you start working on your final papers.
  10. Free choice*: Student may choose their own topic, inspired by class readings, discussion or other topics covered in class.  Students are encouraged to run these topics by their instructor before they begin writing the post.

Extra Credit

*A blog post on this prompt may be submitted to the “Kid Lit at UF” public blog for extra credit.  The moderator of the blog may ask for revisions/editing of the blog to fit the format.  Blog posts accepted for publication on the “Kid Lit at UF” blog will receive 20 extra credit points.  Students must show the instructor an email of acceptance from the blog moderator by April 23  in order to receive any extra credit. Blog posts do not have to be posted on the “Kid Lit” blog before the end of the semester in order for the student to receive credit as there is often a publication delay.  To submit a blog post, email: kubrtm AT ufl DOT edu*

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One response to “Blog Assignment and Prompts

  1. Aaron Pirkkala says:

    Is the extra credit email: kubrtm@ufl.edu ??

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