In preparation for class, find two or three essay assignments that you have been given in recent literature classes, and bring them in to class with you. Working in small groups of 2 or 3, analyze these assignments, looking for ways that they guide you towards issues and questions.
- Discuss what issues these assignments invite you to investigate in your work as a literature scholar. What issues do they privilege or consider most important? How can you tell?
- Consider if and how the issues raised by these assignments set up the motivations for literary scholarship. Do the assignments invite you to adopt any of the motivations discussed in this chapter, either implicitly or explicitly? What other motivations do they encourage? How can you tell?
- Discuss how these assignments are training you, as a student, to participate in a discipline of study. A training process can be empowering; it can also feel like it is constraining your impulses, requiring you to perform in particular ways. Consider as a group how it would feel to be guided or trained in this way? How does it shape your relationship to literature, for example?
- Garrett-Petts, W. F. Writing About Literature: A Guide for the Student Critic. 2nd ed. Peterborough: Broadview, 2013. Print.
- Wolfe, Joanna, and Laura Wilder. Digging into Literature: Strategies for Reading, Analysis, and Writing. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2016. Print.