Complete Discussion Activity 1 and Discussion Activity 2

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Write a 150-200 word response to each of the following discussion activities. Use specific references and direct quotes from our readings this week to illustrate and support your view/s.

Discussion Activity #1

  • Critic Roland Barthes has said, “Literature is the question minus the answer.” Considering Barthes’ observation, identify and explain a central question that Henry James’ “Daisy Miller” raises and the extent to which it offers answers. Explain how Henry James’ treatment of this question affects your understanding of the work as a whole. Avoid mere plot summary and use specific, concrete examples from the story to illustrate how the scene (or scenes) raises questions about the characters and the extent to which it offers any answers. For example, James uses psychological realism to present to us a picture of Daisy Miller that is at times as bewildering to us as she is to Winterbourne. Why does James choose to probe both Winterbourne and Daisy’s characters — both of them Americans you should note — using a limited narrative perspective (Links to an external site.). In other words, the narrator only reveals to us the same perceptions and observations as the limited perceptions and observations of the characters in the story themselves (versus a more traditional omniscient narrator who would divulge everything to us). What effect does the limited narrative point-of-view achieve and what questions does it raise? Use at least one scene in the story to support your answer.

Discussion Activity #2

  • Compare “The Yellow Wall-paper” to James’ “Daisy Miller” as portraits of American women in peril. Compare the complicity of men in these crises. READINGS ATTACHED

At least two follow-up responses (min. 50-words each) are required no later than midnight (CST) on Sunday, September 1. Be sure to use selective quotes in your follow-up responses.

To do this, you should NOT simply agree or disagree; instead, observe the following options for effective and thoughtful responses that put your ideas and your views in conversation with others:

Begin your response by briefly (in a sentence or two) identifying what you are specifically responding to (use brief, direct quotes to do this) and whether you agree, disagree, or both agree and disagree (i.e. “I agree with you up to a point”).

If you disagree, you need to do more than merely assert that you disagree with a particular view; you also have to give persuasive reasons why you disagree: because an interpretation and/or response fails to take other relevant factors into account; because it is based on faulty or incomplete textual evidence; because it rests on questionable assumptions; or because it uses flawed logic, is contradictory, or overlooks what you take to be the real issue, theme, or intended purpose. To move the conversation forward (which is the point of a discussion board, right?) you need to demonstrate that you have something to contribute.

If you agree, you need to do more than simply echo views you agree with. Even as you are agreeing, you need to bring something new and fresh to the conversation: you might point out some unnoticed textual evidence to further support a viewpoint, you might cite some corroborating personal experience, or explain a situation previously unmentioned. You can further the discussion and contribute simply by pointing out unnoticed implications or explaining something that needs to be better understood.

If you both agree and disagree, explain how you agree up to a point and where your view differs. This is especially instructive for responding to complex or particularly challenging works that you are as yet unsure about. This approach should weigh pros and cons rather than come out decisively either for or against. In this approach, the reasons for your ambivalence need to be made clear.

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