Weeks 7, 8, 9: On-line Assignments and Readings


Due Date for Final Draft: 11/14/99.

For Weeks 7-9, there are two assignments:

Assignment 1:  We have so far applied the four levels to written texts.  But life itself is a text, and so the four levels can be applied elsewhere. You apply them--in fact, you should apply something like them--to the next movie you watch, the next sports column you read, next political speech you hear, next lecture you attend, next dispute you get into.  To illustrate the universality of this approach to life, apply the four levels of interacting with texts to either "The Gossips" or to "Where the Mountains Meet the Sea" (see below; you may want to see how this is being applied to "The Nut Gatherers" before starting):

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The Nut Gatherers 1882; William Adolphe Bouguereau (French, 1825-1905); Oil on canvas; 87.6 x 134 cm (34 1/2 x 52 3/4 in.); Gift of Mrs. William E. Scripps to the Detroit Institute of Arts.

gossips.jpg (41743 bytes)

The Gossips.  Norman Rockwell.


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Where The Mountains Meet The Sea.  George Sumner.  Original Oil on canvas   7 ft X 4 ft.


Assignment B also involves a choice:

If your reading and writing are so-so, you might wish to apply all four levels of interacting with texts to   one of the three "Readings for Fun."

If your reading and writing are pretty good, and if you want at least a B+ in this course, choose one book from the following list and write a book review. Your review should be between 900 and 1,300 words. The final draft of your review is due on 11/14/99. (Before starting, you may wish to see how others write book reviews. You can start with a couple of mine, or, better still, you can find zillions of good reviews on the internet or in the library--ask your reference librarian).

As you read such reviews, you will quickly discover that a good review masterfully interweaves our four levels:

  1. There is almost always a brief, albeit partial, summary (it's partial in part because readers don't want to know the end of a work of fiction).
  2. Interpretation, especially of serious fiction, is mandatory.
  3. The whole review, more than anything else, involves critical evaluation.
  4. Most reviewers give their own personal reaction to the story and how it affected them--assimilation.


List of Books

This list has been prepared from memory, so expect some inaccuracies (corrections will be appreciated). * before the title means: easy or short. ***** means: very hard or long.


Children’s Fiction:

*Anne of Green Gables (Montgomery)

**Treasure Island (Stevenson)

*Regarding the Fountain (Kate Klise)

**Abel’s Island

*Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Dahl)

**Wrinkle in Time

**The Wind in the Willows (Grahame)

**The Little Prince

**Call of the Wild (London)

***Lord of the Flies (Golding)

****Huckleberry Finn (Twain)

**My Side of the Mountain (George)

**Cress Delahanty (West)

Adult Fiction

**Three Men in a Boat (Jerome)

***Moo (Smiley)

*****Crime and Punishment (Dostoyevsky)

*****Brothers Karmazov (Dostoyevsky)

***Women of Brewster’s Place (Naylor)

****Things Fall Apart (Achebe)

****For Whom the Bell Tolls (Hemingway)

**The Old Man and the Sea (Hemingway)

****East of Eden (Steinbeck)

****I Swear and I Vow (Olivier)

****An Ancient Enemy (Moinot)

****Devil’s Advocate (West)

****Island (Huxley)

****One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Kesey)

****The Razor’s Edge (Maugham)

****One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (Solzhenitsyn)

**Carry On, Jeeves (Wodehouse)

****Middlemarch (Eliot)

***The Lilac Bus (Binchy)


Adult Non-Fiction

*****The Third Chimpanzee (Diamond)

****Silent Spring (Carson)

***Parkinson’s Law (Parkinson)

***Media Monopoly (Bagdikian)

*****Brave New World Revisited (Huxley)

****American Aurora