“Material Production and Narrative Reproduction”

The Prompt: How do our narratives figure “production” in terms of metamorphic bodies? The theme of production is often figured in our texts in terms of “reproduction,” and in some cases, because the metaphors used to talk about production are often in part organic ones, as “birthing.” You might consider how the “beast folk” are produced on Moreau’s island. Are they monstrous because they are mixtures or because they are not naturally born, or both? Or, think about Edward Scissorhands’ manufacture or “birth” –does he have parents? In other cases, the problem is that organic processes seem to be taken over entirely by inorganic process. Think about Chaplin’s Modern Times – how does “The Tramp” get “reproduced” and what does his reproduction connote in terms of his physical and psychological well-being? More generally, how do scenes of production like “the assembly line” turn up in the materials we have explored? Referencing the “iconography” of hybrid bodies (human-machine, human-animal, or animal-machine) you explored in paper #1, describe that body’s “origin story” in terms of its material production. A Simpler Version of the Prompt: In the first paper, you practiced close attention to discussions of surface in a text. You focused on descriptions of a hybrid body or set of hybrid bodies and zoomed in on WHAT they were made up of and WHY that mattered. Now, your job is to think about the CONTEXT or HISTORY of that surface: the HOW of its production and WHY the narrative’s telling/retelling (production or reproduction) of that context is significant culturally, socially, politically, economically, etc. Areas of Focus: – A Clear Thesis – You will work on crafting a concise, specific thesis that clearly offers your take on the production process you are analyzing, some ways you see the text engaging that production, and the larger implications of your observations. – A Focused Explanation—You will work to develop a specific vision of the excerpt’s meaning by making choices about what to include, what to emphasize, and what to omit. – Appropriate Explanatory Strategies – You will work on developing different strategies for defining and describing the video’s form including vivid description, comparison, etc. – Smooth Integration of Sources—You will work on using and incorporating a variety of sources that lend authority to your explanations and citing them in proper MLA format. – Clear and Logical Organization—You will work on carefully organizing your essay and giving your readers all the various cues they need, such as forecasting statements, topic sentences, transitions, and summaries where needed. Requirements: – Write about one of the course texts OR an outside work you are interested in (clear a different topic with me first!) – Cite your primary text (novel or film from class or other material you cleared with me) – Cite TWO secondary texts o one from the course (Telotte’s Reflections Introduction or Chapter 1, etc.) o one from outside (article or chapter you find via library, Google scholar, etc) – Write 3-5 pgs double spaced, 12 pt Times New Roman font and 1 inch margins – MLA format works cited page


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