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CMP-203: Literature and Composition (Harris, Spring 2020)

Assignment: Essay 2

Library One Search cross-searches all of our literary databases at once.

Use the ADVANCED SEARCH.

General Rule for searching literature:

 

1. Search for the AUTHOR of the story or poem as the SUBJECT.

 

2. Search for the TITLE of the fairy tale as a KEYWORD (when limiting to the Rider University Libraries Catalog) or  the SUBJECT (to get more relevant results for articles or book chapter citations in databases).

 

Screenshot showing author (here:Grimm) as SUBJECT and the tale (here: "maiden without hands") as keyword. Narrow search results in 4 hits only.

 

BUT ALSO TRY searching your tale name in quotes as a keyword by itself, so you can pick up references in table of contents and abstracts. Also, fairy tales are "tale types" that transcend any individual telling, so knowing about the properties of the tale type will inform how your tale's telling is unique or how it upholds or reworks the tale type.

 

Screenshot of search box showing "maiden without hands" in quotes being searched as a keyword (no option selected in drop-down box). Result of 43 hits.

For more popular tales, put the tale in quotes and limit to "SUBJECT:

 

Search box with title of tale "snow white" in quotes being searched as SU Subject Terms with a result of 1,669 hits

 

 

 

Synthesis Essay Research Collection

 

Which of the approaches on the assignment sheet do you intend to take for this essay (Feminist, Historical, Cultural Studies, Psychological)?

 

Which primary sources will you focus on? (Ex. “Little Red Riding Hood” and “Little Red Cape” or “Little Red Cape” and “The Company of Wolves” or “Little Red Riding Hood” and Into the Woods)

 

What is your specific research question? What do you want to learn about “Little Red Riding Hood” and its adaptations, revisions, and/or references?

 

Source #1: 

Write the source citation in MLA as it would appear on a “Works Cited” page below:

 

Write a short summary of the source that explains its purpose and central argument. Make sure to directly quote and give page numbers for any material taken directly from the source.  

 

Write a paragraph below explaining how the source responds to or changes your research question. What insight does the source give you? Make sure to directly quote and give page numbers for any material taken directly from the source.  

 

Source #2:

Write the source citation in MLA as it would appear on a “Works Cited” page below:

 

Write a short summary of the source that explains its purpose and central argument. Make sure to directly quote and give page numbers for any material taken directly from the source.  

 

Write a paragraph below explaining how the source responds to or changes your research question. What insight does the source give you? Make sure to directly quote and give page numbers for any material taken directly from the source.  

 

Synthesis:

  • How do these sources together illuminate your research question?
  • How do these sources expand or transform your original reading of the primary sources (the stories or other cultural materials on which you’ve decided to focus)?
  • What is the working thesis for your next essay based on the above answers?

Synthesis Essay

Initial Research Question Due: Thurs., Feb. 27

Library Visit: Tues., Mar. 3

Scholarly Source Citations and Summaries Due: Thurs., Mar. 5

Peer Review Draft Due: Tues., Mar. 10

Final Draft Due: Thurs., Mar. 12 

 

In our last unit on literary analysis, we continued to develop skills in the exploration and interpretation of literary texts through writing. We also considered how these interpretations are part of a scholarly conversation. In this unit, we will draw from our experiences with reading, writing, and thinking critically about texts, and we will develop skills in research and synthesis that will be particularly useful for our final research paper. 

 

For this unit, we will focus on “Little Red Riding Hood,” a story that is likely familiar to us all, and as well as its various permutations and adaptations. Our exploration of this story and its rewritings will enable us to conduct historical and theoretical research that will deepen our understanding of what this story has meant historically and what it continues to mean. In this 4-5-page (1,000-1,500-word) synthesis, you will explore one of the following options:

 
  1. Historical critical approach: Explore the historical origins of “Little Red Riding Hood,” considering how and why different versions appeared in Perrault’s and Grimms’ writings. To develop your thesis, consider how knowledge of this historical understanding might transform contemporary understandings of the story. (Review pages 176-77 in Reading and Writing about Literature.)

  2. Feminist critical approach: Consider how one at least one of contemporary feminist rewritings of the “Little Red Riding Story” by Angela Carter, Nalo Hopkinson, and/or Suniti Namjoshi we have read and discussed challenge and/or shift the familiar meanings of the story. (Review page 172 in Reading and Writing about Literature.)

  3. Cultural studies approach:  How and where has the “Little Red Riding Hood” story been represented and transformed in contemporary culture? You might consider here how the story appears in books for children, in popular television shows, or in popular music. (Review pages 174-75 in Reading and Writing about Literature.)

  4. Cultural studies approach:  Are there stories similar to the “Little Red Riding Hood” story in other cultures? What compelling differences and similarities are revealed when comparing these stories? What does this comparison show us about the European story? (Review pages 174-75 and 175-76 in Reading and Writing about Literature).

  5. Psychological theoretical approach: What are the psychological interpretations of the “Little Red Riding Hood” story as it is traditionally known and told and/or as it is rewritten? What do these interpretations show us about the relationship between the understanding of psychology and familiar stories? (Review 177-78 of Reading and Writing about Literature.)

 

Here is the process we will use to develop a thesis for this essay:

 

--Begin by framing a question using one of the above approaches;

--Find, print, read, and annotate at least two scholarly secondary sources that address this question;

--Develop a thesis around your central question based on what you have discovered in your secondary sources;

--Organize and draft an essay developing this thesis;

--Rewrite the thesis and revise the essay;

--Edit and proofread for the final draft.

 

Make sure to include a Works Cited listing all of your sources--primary and secondary.

 

Students should bring four hard copies of their paper to class on the peer review date. Final papers should be submitted on Canvas by midnight on the day they are due. Papers can be revised once upon return provided the student discussed the revision with me or with a tutor in the Writing Studio. All revisions are due two weeks after the paper has been returned.


.

1. Fairy tale chosen: "Le Turbot" (1699) by Henriette-Julie de Murat
This story is about a fairy who turns her cheating husband into a fish (the turbot), and who, in the course of undoing his spell, unites the main prince and princess through elaborate scheming. There is a lot going on in this tale, especially given that it was a reworking of an older and much simpler tale that originally had no fairy whatsoever.

 

2. Theories applied (and my conclusions):
  • Feminist and Gender Criticism: Power relations in the tale. How do they work and what do they mean?
    • The fairy possesses both traditionally feminine and masculine powers
      • She wages war and arranges marriages
    • She is a queen more powerful than her husband king.
    • She controls the trajectory and the telling of the tale.
  • Structuralism/Historical critical approach: Cultural and literary context
    • The fairy is the heroine of the tale. This appears to be unique in the French fairy tale corpus.
    • The fairy represents the woman writer of the time.
 
3. This took me four years (!!!) and I wound up with a bibliography of 46 scholarly books and articles.
  • I benefited from those doing New Historicism. Knowledge of French history, culture, and law is necessary for understanding.
  • Since no one had ever written at length about my tale (it was barely mentioned in the literature), I had to gather my evidence from:
    • Criticism on other tales my author wrote (mostly from feminist/gender perspectives)
    • Criticism on her fellow fairy tale writers, both their stories and their milieu
    • Criticism on similar tales/previous versions

 

Use the books below to help you find a tale!