Your assignment for Tuesday, and a look ahead to the end of the semester

Posted in prompts at 8:25 am by Dominique

Hi folks,

We have one last push until the end of our semester together.  Here’s what our last three classes will look like.

Tuesday, 12/6: Consolidating the lenses in-class exercise (see requiered written component for exercise below, to be brought into class on Tuesday).

Thursday, 12/8: We’ll be back in a computer lab, Powdermaker Hall 212 this time, when I will give all of you time to work on revising your first papers in class as I come around to answer questions and offer feedback.

Tuesday, 12/13: Final cultural artifact papers are due (to be posted in Dropbox). During this class we’ll review for the final exam. I’ll ask you to come to class with all three of the books we’ve used this semester, with the handouts from each lens we’ve discussed, and with a list of any questions you may have about the texts or the lenses. Prior to this session, I’ll divide the terminology from each unit up among the members of the class and ask you to fill in your assigned terms in a Word document on Dropbox. You can all use this collaborative document to review for the final exam.  If students who are present would like an additional final exam review session after this class and before 12/22, we can arrange that as well.

Thursday, 12/22: The final exam will be held in our classroom from 1:45-3:45 pm. The exam will consist of short answer questions that will require you to do two things: 1) read a few excerpts from critical essays and identify the lens that each essay is using to analyze the text, explaining how you know , and 2) read a few excerpts from Heart of Darkness and The Turn of the Screw and analyze them using particular lenses. (After the final, you may email me for your exam grade.)

I am reading and commenting on your drafts of the cultural artifact paper. Some of you will see the drafts today (Saturday) and others will have to wait until Monday for comments. I have started from the bottom of the alphabetical list this time in order to give first comments to those who received grades last for paper 1.  You will have over a week after receiving comments to revise.

In the meantime, you have an assignment to complete for Tuesday. As it says on the sheet that follows, responses to this exercise should be typed and one hard copy must be brought to class on Tuesday so that you can read from your page and share your response with a group.  This assignment requires you to re-read two of the critical essays in the back of Heart of Darkness and The Turn of the Screw and list the claims each reading makes, followed by the assumptions behind those claims; you’ll use these lists to compare and contrast the approaches the critics are using to read the primary texts. The critical essays we’ve read are challenging; please leave extra time to re-read and think about the two you’ve been assigned for this exercise.  You’ll be evaluated on this exercise and you should also consider it preparation for the final exam. The only way you can “fail” this exercise is not to do it at all.  Here are the directions: Consolidating the lenses, at-home writing and in-class exercise, due 12/6

If you have specific questions, please email me. However, first read the directions carefully. If you attempt to make your lists and want to know whether you have done so correctly, you can share your answers with my via email or stop by Klapper 350 before class on Tuesday.

For next week, Qudsia Rasuli will be our final main blogger. She will share an updated version of her draft with us by Monday at midnight, posting it as a response to this post. Commentators will then respond to Qudsia’s draft using the categories on our rubric (which is posted in the 5-6 page draft folder on Dropbox) by Wednesday, 12/7, at midnight.  Any other bloggers who would like to receive extra credit by posting their drafts should inform me of their intention via email and be sure to post the draft by Monday at midnight.

I have a lot of confidence in what all of you can accomplish in the next two weeks. Have a restful and productive weekend.

Looking forward to seeing you on Tuesday,


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  1.    rasuli said,

    December 6, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    The novel is set in St. Petersburg, Russia, in the mid-1860s. Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov [or “Rodya,” “Rodka”] is our complex protagonist in Crime and Punishment. He is a young, good looking “ex-student,” dressed in rags, living in his crummy little room. As the novel progresses we become aware of some ominous foreboding, we are hinted that he’s thinking of doing something extraordinarily gruesome and has even planned out the whole ordeal. As he’s talking to himself, he doesn’t think he’s really capable of doing the mysterious bad deed.

    The old pawnbroker, Alyona Ivanovna is a grouchy mean old lady who lives with her half sister Lizaveta, who is mentally challenged and, unlike her sister, a very sweet person. Raskolnikov pawns his father’s watch, and it becomes clear that the bad thing he wants to do is…murder. He wants to kill Alyona and steal her money. But he’s not sure if he can, should, or will go through with it. As he plants this seed in his mind, we watch it grow and eat away at our Raskolnikovs conscience. It is this “bad deed” that Raskolnikov, represses and hides from everyone throught the remainder of the novel. It becomes aware that it is haunting him in his every waking hour, his speech shows his fear as he denies the murder and falls into a state of paranoia as he discusses the situation subconsciously,

    On his way back home, he goes to a bar and meets Marmeladov, an unemployed drunk, and hears his sad story: Marmeladov is married to Katerina. Katerina has three young kids from a previous marriage, and Marmeladov has an eighteen-year-old daughter, Sonia, from his previous marriage. Since Marmeladov is a drunk, and money is tight, Katerina made Sonia start selling sex for money, and now Sonia lives by herself, because the other tenants in the Marmeladov’s building didn’t want a prostitute living there. Eventually, Raskolnikov takes Marmeladov home. Seeing how bad things are there, he leaves some money on a windowsill for Katerina to find, and then goes home. He falls asleep in some bushes and dreams that he’s a little boy. In the dream he sees a horse brutally beaten.

    When he wakes, he decides he can’t possibly kill the pawnbroker with an axe, like he planned. But then he sees the pawnbroker’s sister, Lizaveta in the marketplace, and learns that she won’t be home that night. It gives him an opportunity to pursue this murder, and it means there wouldn’t be any obstacles to Raskolnikov committing the murder as planned. This information makes him renew his murderous scheme. Later that night, he “borrows” an axe, goes to the pawnbroker’s house, and splits her skull.
    He had not an instant more to lose. He pulled the axe out completely, swung it with both arms, scarcely conscious of himself, and almost without effort, almost mechanically, brought the blunt side down on her head. He seemed not to use his own strength in this, But as soon as he had once brought the axe down, strength was born in him (Dostoyevsky, 77).
    The dramatic murder scene shows Raskolnikov’s state of delirium as he commits the murder. He is in full pursuit of the murder and in control of his actions. As he’s stealing her stuff, Lizaveta comes in (because Raskolnikov forgot to lock the door) and he kills her too. Raskolnikov manages to steal a few things, almost gets caught leaving the scene, and manages to get home, where he falls asleep.
    He wakes up very early the next morning and tries to hide all evidence in his room, and then falls asleep again. When he wakes up, he takes the stuff he stole from the pawnbroker and hides it under a rock. He then goes to see his friend Razumikin, acts really weird, goes back home, and falls asleep. He has a horrible fever and is sick for about a week. When he wakes up, he has a hard time remembering what happened, but then it all comes back to him. Razumikin thinks Raskolnikov is acting strange when he visits him and so comes to look for him. He decides to take care of Raskolnikov during his illness. He buys Raskolnikov new clothes with some money that came from Pulcheria while Raskolnikov was sick.

    He goes to the Crystal Palace and runs into Zametov, a cop. He plays with Zametov, and practically confesses to the murder, but then says he’s just fooling around. Later that evening, he finds Marmeladov on the verge of death. In his drunken state, he was run over by a horse-drawn carriage. Raskolnikov convinces the cops that Marmeladov should go home to die, and helps get him there. Marmeladov dies, and Raskolnikov finally gets to see Sonia. He gives all his money to Marmeladov’s widow, Katerina and then leaves. Sonia’s little sister, Polenka, follows him down the stairs and gets his name and address.

    When he gets back to his room, his mother and sister are waiting for him. He’d forgotten all about them coming. He acts really weird toward them, and tells them he won’t let Donya get married because Luzhin is a jerk, and he doesn’t want Donya selling herself for his sake. Eventually, Raskolnikov makes everybody leave and he passes out again. Meanwhile, Razumikin takes care of Raskolnikov’s mother and sister and does everything he can to make them feel better. He also falls in love with Donya, but thinks he will never be worthy of her.
    Sonia comes into the room. She’s here to invite Raskolnikov to her father’s funeral and the dinner after. Pulcheria and Donya leave, and Raskolnikov tells Razumikin that he pawned some stuff with the murdered pawnbroker, and wants to know how to get it back. Razumikin says he’ll take him to see Porfiry, the guy investigating the murders. Raskolnikov tells Sonia he wants to come over later to talk to her, and he gets her address. Then they all go to the street. Sonia leaves them, and is followed by an older man Svidrigaïlov. He’s happy to see that they live in the same building, right next door to each other. He talks to her, but she doesn’t say anything back.
    The family interactions in the novel are of particular interest, Raskolnikov, despite having only his mother and sister left to rely on, seems to push them away, perhaps because he is so disgusted with himself that their innocence and neediness makes him feel even more of an unworthy man. There are also “unhealthy” family interactions between Marmeledov, his wife sick Katrina and his daughter Sonia. Sonia is sent into prostitution by her step mom Katrina in order to help support the family. These family interactions do not proceed along typical family lines as indicated by the passage,
    He stared at his mother without the least regard for good manners. They sometimes pulled their hands out of his huge bony paws, but far from noticing what was the matter, he drew them closer towards him. If they’d told him to jump head foremost from the staircase, he would have done it without thought or hesitation in their service. Though his mother felt that the young man was really too eccentric and pinchened her hand too much, in anxiety over her Rodia shelooked on his presence as providential and was unwilling to notice all his peculiarities (Dostoyevsky, 191).

    Raskolnikov and Razumikin go to visit Porfiry, and have a long conversation about crime. Turns out, Raskolnikov wrote an article about crime, and Porfiry read it in a magazine. This is news to Raskolnikov – he didn’t even know it was published. In the article Raskolnikov argues that there are both “ordinary” and “extraordinary” people, and that the extraordinary ones have the “right” to kill – but only if the murder is necessary in order to help make progress in the world.
    And he braced himself to face a terrible and unknown ordeal. At times he longed to fall on porfiry and strangle him. This anger was what he had dreaded from the beginning. He felt that his parched lips were flecked with foam, his heart throbbing. But he was still determined no to speak till the right moment. He realized this was the best policy in his position, because instead of saying too much he would be irritating his enemy by his silence and provoking him to speak too freely. Anyhow, this is what he hoped for (Dostoyevsky, 325).
    This passage hints that Raskolnikov is repressing his bad deed, but knows it is bound to spill out of him at any moment, so he is in this consistent state of paranoia around any member of authority. The murder of the old pawnbroker is disturbing knowledge that Raskolnikov represses. The next day, Raskolnikov goes to see Porfiry at the police station. Porfiry basically accuses Raskolnikov of being the murderer, but then another man, Nikolay, comes in and confesses.

    Later, Raskolnikov goes to Sonia’s and tells her that he killed Lizaveta. She says she’ll follow him to prison, and advises him to surrender to God, and the cops. Soon, Andrey Semyonovitch shows up and tells her that Katerina is down on the street begging with the kids, out of her mind, and making a big scene. On the street, Katerina dies, and her body is taken to Sonia’s house. Svidrigaïlov shows up and reveals to Raskolnikov that he heard his confession to Sonia.

    Raskolnikov has another meeting with Porfiry, who again tells Raskolnikov he knows he’s guilty of murder, and that it will only be a matter of time before he confesses. After that, Raskolnikov goes looking for Svidrigaïlov, and they have a long and creepy conversation. Raskolnikov tries to stick by Svidrigaïlov that night, but the man manages to lose him. Svidrigaïlov meets Donya, and holds her prisoner in his room. He seems about to rape her, but she shoots him, causing just a little wound, and then he lets her go. Soon after, Svidrigaïlov gets a hotel room and has tons of nightmares. In the morning, he shoots himself while standing next to a policeman on the street.

    `Meanwhile, Sonia pressures Raskolnikov to turn himself in.There are systems of value in the text as Porfiry uses the power of the law to get Raskolnikov to confess to the murder of the old pawnbroker. At first his attempts to get Raskolnikov to talk seem fruitless, but eventually Raskolnikov’s irrationally and peculiar behavior hint at the guilt he has been repressing the whole time. Sonia also uses biblical references tot eh resurrection of Christ to try and get Raskolnikov to feel like he can be saved. This immense feeling of revival can be seen in the scene where Sonia reads verses from the Eleventh Chapter os St.John’s bible to Raskolnikov,
    Raskolnikov turned and looked at her with emotion. Yes, he had known it! She was trembling in a real physical fever. He had expected it. She was getting near the story of the greatest miracle and feeling of immense triumph came over her. Her voice rang out like a bell; triumph and joy gave it power. The lines danced before her eyes, but she knew she was reading by heart. At the last verse “Could not this Man which opened the eyes of the blind…” dropping her voice passionately reproduced the doubt, “…the reproach and the censure of the blind disbelieving Jews, who in another moment would fall at His feet as though struck by thunder, sobbing, and believing…And he too is blinded and unbelieving, he, too, will hear, he, too, will believe, yes! Yes!” (Dostoyevsky, 313).
    Through the use of Christ as an example as one that has been resurrected and reborn, She tries to get him to confess, which he finally does. He’s sentenced to eight years in Siberia, and Sonia follows him there. Meanwhile Razumikin and Donya get married. The newlywed couple plans to move to Siberia in the near future.Sonia is doing well in Siberia. Everybody loves her. Unfortunately, Raskolnikov still treats her like dirt and hates the world. Some prisoners want to kill him because they think he’s an atheist, but the warden intervenes.

    Raskolnikov gets sick and has to go to the hospital. After leaving the hospital, he meets Sonia by a beautiful riverbank where he is working. Something comes over him, and he feels real love for her. He will have to go through lots of struggles and suffering, but after he gets out of prison (in seven years), he will have found a new way to live and he will be happy, and so will Sonia.

  2.    terrylghong said,

    December 7, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    Hi, Qudsia, you did a great job analyze the novel. However, I don’t think you fully apply Psychoanalytic method in your essay. But don’t worry, I suggest you pick a specific scene, go back to the questions sheet, and try to answer some of the questions.

    Is the analysis motivated by specific interpretive questions?
    At times, I found question 3 and 4 on the handout sheet may help. Maybe just focus on these two questions.

    How helpful are the passages in transporting us between significant scenes in the “text” and significant claims in the writer’s interpretation?
    Overall, yes. You have so many passages you can use in this text. The only thing left is to connect your passages/scenes to Psychoanalytic method.

    Is the scope of the entire text addressed in relation to the analytical model or perspective or do the moments that are analyzed feel disconnected, unrelated, or isolated?
    Not yet. You can use the murder scene as a example to explain what is Id, ego and super-ego in the eassy.

  3.    brianfinnerty91 said,

    December 7, 2011 at 10:09 pm

    Qudsia, I think did a great job summarizing the novel. However I believe she needs to work on connecting the psychoanalytic theory with her cultural artifact more. “The dramatic murder scene shows Raskolnikov’s state of delirium as he commits the murder”. “Eventually Raskolnikov’s irrationally and peculiar behavior hint at the guilt he has been repressing the whole time.” These two lines show us why she is using the psychoanalytic theory for her cultural artifact. As Terry said before me, I believe that questions #3 and #4 will help you connect your cultural artifact and the psychoanalytic theory better. You have a lot to work with for your paper but you need to focus more on the theory now and not the novel. By looking at questions 3 and 4 you can see how the characters interact with one another and how these interactions cause them to become irrational. If you answer these two questions correctly I believe you will be on the right path.
    -Brian Finnerty

  4.    seng101 said,

    December 7, 2011 at 10:46 pm

    I believe that you’re on a good start with your paper. One of the example you gave that could be developed more was the dream that Marmeladov had about himself as a little boy. I believe that this example would be a good starting point with the critical lens since after he decides to not kill the pawnbroker the plot becomes more complicated. Also in the example of how Raskolnokov was “repressing his ideas” that could have been elaborated more and also a more psychoanalytical analysis could have been used there. I like how you used outside knowledge of the Bible in the essay to explain certain quotes. I think that this example is a good start to answering question 9, but going more into detail with this question may be useful in strengthening your paper. Also while reading this paper I felt that this paper would do well to answer question 11. All of the characters seem to want something. I feel that through their action that you described in the paper that they had some kind of desire that they were trying to obtain.

  5.    amark916 said,

    December 7, 2011 at 10:58 pm

    I agree with both Terry and Brian. You did an excellent job of summarizing the novel with great details. At this point you need to connect some scenes with the specific lens that you had in mind. As I wrote my draft I had a hard time with making the connections to the lens as well so I totally understand where you are right now. There are moments in the summary where I see the psychoanalytic lens peeking through. I think once you connect the dots, this will be an incredible essay.

  6.    nadiab said,

    December 7, 2011 at 11:19 pm

    This was a good start to her essay. She had a good summary and seemed to have a grasp of what the psychoanalytical lens is especially for the character Raskolnikovs and his conscience weakening. There were many characters in her essay in which she gave a good description of them. The analysis in her essay seemed to be focused on various questions such as 1, 5 and 9 from the worksheet. The essay had three selected passages. The selected passages were significant in her essay and were motivated by the questions from a psychoanalytical perspective. However, the selected passages would be more useful if applied with other questions from the worksheet. There seems to be a lot of information on her cultural artifact in her essay. With that information, it would be helpful to elaborate more on those important scenes. There are a few moments that relate to the psychoanalytical perspective but there is a lot more content in her paper that could be applied to that perspective. But overall, it was interesting.

  7.    victoriane said,

    December 8, 2011 at 12:28 am

    I think Qudsia Rasul paper is full of details and you gave the reader an in-depth look at the text. On the other hand the text needs more analyzing and connection to the psychoanalytical lens. Maybe you should focus two or three paragraphs on summarizing and the rest for analyzing. I did like how you gave us a passage/scene then gave it you’re interpretation. It is clear you’re using a psychoanalytical lens but the questions seems vague and not fully complete. The passages you choose seem to fit right in with the lens but could use more interpretation (I too found it difficult to write what I was thinking but sometimes if you step away from you’re writing and back to it you realize what can be fixed). Over all I think this is a great start and plenty of details is always better than too few. I look forward in reading you’re final paper the story seems very interesting.

  8.    emendoza said,

    December 8, 2011 at 1:03 am


    yo i think your paper is extremely detailed, summary-wise. however, as a few of our peers before me have already mentioned, your paper lacks psychoanalytical commentary. i think your passages are complete and hold strong to your essay, but without any psychoanalytical argument, it kind of just seems like you’re throwing in passages for the sake of it. your passage interpretations give away your stand on which critical lens you are trying to apply to your paper, however, it seems like it was tossed in afterward. you need not focus on summarizing the entire novel, and add more of your own analysis and thoughts/opinions. we don’t need (and to be honest, i don’t think we really care too much) about the story as in-depth as you lay it out for us, (and i swear i’m not trying to be mean) but we do need at least some background info of it for you to give us YOUR analysis of the text, to see where you’re coming from. you’re a good writer, that’s apparent; now let’s hear your own thoughts

  9.    kocampo100 said,

    December 8, 2011 at 1:12 am

    I really enjoyed reading this again. Since this time I had more time as opposed to when we were at the lab doing peer crittique i have a much better idea now of your paper. Similar to what everyone else said, you are very good writer, all the details helped me grasp the storyline of your artifact however you are lacking a bit in analyzing and and looking at it with a pyschoanalytic lens. I think the passages you used apply to the lens but i think you should explain it further. I have the same problem when I write, you should reread that chapter in Bressler to help you with your final paper. All in all I think this paper has so much potential to be great. Keep up the good work! =]

  10.    khaff88 said,

    December 8, 2011 at 11:10 am

    Qudsia, you put a lot of detail in this paper so far. I think this is a great start so far but like the other commenters have previously said, there seems to be a lack of connection between your artifact and your lens. I kind of touched on the psychoanalytic lens when you mentioned the murder scene, try and put a few questions toward that; also the third to last paragraph, when Sonia is reciting from the Bible. This scene seems to be an important one and definitely needs to be analyzed. With that one step your paper will be almost complete, great job!

  11.    marissae17 said,

    December 8, 2011 at 11:55 am

    Qudsia, I feel that you have put alot of thought and detail into the summarization of the paper. However, I feel that the analyzation aspect of the paper needs a little more time put into it. I think at this point in your paper would be a great time to sit down and do over each paragraph and see what questions it answers from the Critical Analyzation packet, similar to what Terry had mentioned. Try and focus on whether you are trying to analyze a specific character or scene from the text or of you want to review the text as a whole. The book sounds really interesting, I’d be interested to read it over the winter break. Keep up the good work!

  12.    Terry said,

    December 8, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    You have more than enough detail in your paper and it seems like a really good summary of the novel. The only thing left for you to do now is to expand on the analysis portion. I believe you’re using the psychoanalytic approach. You might want to take a look back at the questions on the handout, but more importantly think about how the characters are interacting with one another. Nevertheless, it seems like an interesting read, you just need to hone in your focus a bit more.

  13.    GordonWTam said,

    December 8, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    I get the feeling we’re all starting to sound like a broken record, but from the very beginning Terry hit the nail hard.

    I enjoyed the essay. It keeps my interest, and actually had me wondering what would happen at times. It was also impressive that you made me think only of a psychoanalytic lens while reading it, but never mentioned you were using it once. All the other critics whose essays we have read never usually go out and smack you in the face with what lens they’re using either. Your opinion gives the paper a very real feel, (Luzhin IS a JERK) and less of that robotic book report approach I’m so used from reading in college papers.

    Like everyone else mentions. Focus! Your love for the text is definitely there, you now need to tell us how all these characters are afflicted with your particular critical lens. You’ve certainly got enough subject matter.

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