This week we have looked at two authors, each worthy representatives of their literary periods: Aphra Behn for the Restoration and Alexander Pope for the Enlightenment. Because that is so–because, that is, we only have to attend to two writers rather than many–we are given the opportunity to look more closely, specifically, and critically at each. And that is exactly what I want you all to do here in this forum. Specifically, I would like you to do the following in a 2-paragraph Reflective Response:
- After reading and considering Behn’s Oroonoko in terms of setting, character, plot, and theme, write one paragraph in which you identify what you think is the most important ‘point’ about the text? That is, does Oroonooko promote one particular idea, standard, code? Does it reveal concerns unique only to Behn’s time or ones that have carried over to today, and if so, which ones and how? Or does it ultimately reveal the limitations of ever ‘truly’ understanding the ‘point’ of anything? You must, absolutely must, point to specific details and examples from the text, with at least one quotation included.
- After reading and considering Pope’s An Essay on Man, paying particular attention to the passages of important lines indicated in the lecture notes in light of the author’s clearly identified and self-declared purpose of the poem, analyze ONE of those passages in terms of the specific ways it reveals that theme. Keep in mind, please, that what you must do here is move beyond just stating the theme and then summarizing the passage, but instead you must state the theme and then move carefully and thoroughly through the language/words/images of the passage and explain HOW it reveals/advances/is significant to that theme.
- You must write two full paragraphs, each paragraph devoted to one of the two texts.
- Be sure to identify the title of the text (and remember, since these are longer prose works you must use italics) in the first sentence of each paragraph
- You must cite the page number of the quotation(s) you provide from Behn’s text and the line numbers of the passage quotation you analyze from Pope’s.
- Keep in mind that a quotation should never just ‘hang’ alone…that is, you must explain how/why it is important and significant support for your theme/claim
- Avoid mere plot summary…this is analysis
- Remember, these two paragraphs should be well-developed and filled with specific detail…I cannot, in other words, stress enough how important it is that you point to details, examples, words, etc. Generalities will not, here, do.
- Remain aware that such matters as punctuation, grammar, spelling, and style are not just courtesies but also requirements