Friday, October 29, 2010

Post for November 1

Hello All,

This post should be easy (if you were in class on Friday): post your thesis statement for your film analysis.

On Monday, bring your introduction (at a minimum, for you can always write more) to class.

On Wednesday, we'll have a short workshop on transitions, and then we'll spend the rest of the time writing (or revising) your film analyses; the final drafts of those analyses will be due on Friday.

Take care, and have a Happy Halloween !

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Post for October 29

Hello All,

First of all, I apologize for the game of musical classroom on Wednesday. I thought our DDH classroom would be more comfortable, and who knew there would be a class that starts in there at 8:30 (I should have known, but still!).

Second, as we discussed on Wednesday, come to class on Friday having chosen your film and made a list of the important characters, settings, and plot of that film. This should be in your own words; don't resort to using a Wikipedia summary of the film.

And now, your blog . . .

Choose one of Eliade's concepts from Myth of the Eternal Return, and explain how it fits Sunshine.

The Center
Road to the Center
Abolition of Past/Concrete Time
Restoration of Primordial Chaos (Invasion of the Dead, Abolition of Norms, Sexual Excess, Indeterminate Unity)
Repetition of the Cosmogonic Act (Rekindling of Fire, Ritual Combat, the Erotic Element)

I'll give you an example...

The film uses the Abolition of Past and Concrete Time as one of its starting points; the crew has left Earth and in so doing has lost all traditional ways of measuring time: there are no seasons in space, and there is no night (since they're traveling to the sun, they live a constant day). Furthermore, after Mace and Capa get into their first confrontation and Mace has to get counseling with Dr. Searle, Mace says, "It's the time," to explain one of the causes of his losing control. This is also evident in his persona. Normally, men (especially professionals) shave and keep their appearance clean and neat, but at the beginning of the film, Mace has a scruffy beard and unkempt long hair, implying that he has lost touch with a man's daily rituals; this is another illustration of the idea of being disjointed and out of time.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Post for Wednesday, October 27

Hello All,

As we find ourselves in the midst of the quarter, it's a good time to review the course.

As the course title --Advanced Writing-- declares, this course is designed to assist you in becoming advanced writers, but what does it mean to be an advanced writer?

Obviously, a writer is one who writes, and to be advanced, one must be proficient or even skilled in the process and technique of writing.

Advanced writing can be defined in many ways:

Italo Calvino, an Italian novelist, divides and classifies the qualities of advanced writing into six categories: lightness, quickness, exactitude, visibility, multiplicity, and consistency. (Read his Six Memos for the Next Millennium if you're interested in these, or read If on a Winter's Night a Traveller if you want to read his most famous work).

William Zinsser, a former writing professor at Yale, has seven principles: the transaction (the writer's connection to the topic), simplicity, clutter, style, the audience, words, and usage.

CSUB's Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR) defines advanced writing as possessing five characteristics: tasks, reasoning, development, organization, and prose. (Here's the link to their explanation).

Advanced Writing as I define it in my English 310 course has the following criteria: insight, logic, organization, style, and adherence to grammatical/mechanical norms. In other words, a work of advanced writing should...

1. Be insightful (with an argument that moves beyond shallow or generic thinking);
2. Be logical (with a thesis, supporting arguments, evidence, and a lack of fallacies);
3. Be organized (with an overall plan to the essay and to individual paragraphs);
4. Have a style (with rhythm and precision through syntax and diction);
5. Be grammatically and mechanically correct (with an absence of errors).

In terms of English 310, the heavy foundation of reading complex texts is designed to assist students in meeting the first aspect of advanced writing. By reading and then synthesizing ideas from complex texts, 310 writers should be making more complex and insightful arguments. More specifically, I have emphasized the idea of archetypes in order to provoke more complex and insightful thought regarding contexts many people dismiss as being meaningless: popular music, popular film, and advertising. In other words, students in my Advanced Writing course will be finding and arguing a meaning that others may not see, which is the definition of insight.

The lectures on the parts of the essay and the rhetorical modes should assist students in organizing their writing more logically and effectively.

The lectures on syntax should assist students with style, and the grammar/mechanics lectures should assist students with understanding grammar and mechanics.

And now, your blog....

1. What is your strength regarding advanced writing? What would you like this class to include (in terms of advanced writing) before the quarter ends?

2. What film are you thinking of analyzing for your next essay?

3. One concept Eliade describes in The Myth of the Eternal Return is the idea of the Celestial Model. In the film Sunshine, we see that process at work in the names of the crew and the ship. Choose one of the following names, explain the name's etymology (this is one instance where you may use Wikipedia to find the name's word history, where it comes from, what it means), and explain how that name fits the person or thing in the film:

Icarus (the name of the ship)