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Creative Responses to Literature. Ways to explore literature. Although reading response papers and critical analysis research papers are the two primary ways scholars explore and interpret a text, there are other ways as well

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ways to explore literature
Ways to explore literature
  • Although reading response papers and critical analysis research papers are the two primary ways scholars explore and interpret a text, there are other ways as well
  • Often creative writers will explore and interpret by turning a story over in their hands through writing
    • Writing the same plot but from a different character’s point of view
    • Rewrite one story in the style of another
    • Writing a story that is influenced by other stories (this may be in terms of plot, characterization, setting, style, themes,
    • Adapting a short story to a short video
    • Creating a set of criteria and ranking stories according to those criteria

All of these alternate assignments require a review of literature terms

    • Point-of-view
    • Style
    • Review and Criteria
point of view
Point of View
  • The point of view is how the story/scene is told to the reader. Essentially, it answers the question, "Who's eyes are we seeing this story through?" Different points of view can tell the reader different things, some more in-depth, and others more limited. The following are the 4 types of point of view, with their benefits and limitations:
  • 1st Person - The 1st person narrator is seen through the eyes of the main character. Although the reader can both see what the narrator is seeing and what the narrator is feeling, the limitations lie in that same issue. We are only aware of things as far as the narrator knows. If the narrator isn't there, we have no direct knowledge of what happened. 1st person narration usually takes the form of "I" story-telling.
  • 2nd Person - The least used form of narration. Usually takes the form of "you" story-telling, and tries to tell the story so that you as reader can become more involved in the happenings of the story.
  • 3rd Person Limited - 3rd person narration is told by someone other than the main character. You are allowed the same benefits and limitations of the 1st person narration. This allows you to view the story from a different vantage point. The only problem is the same as 1st person narration. The narrator is limited so far as what he/she sees.
  • 3rd Person Omniscient - This type of narrator sees all and knows all. Anything that is important to the story is told. The problem with this type of narrator is sometimes too much information can overwhelm the reader.
  • Style is not what is said, but how it’s said
      • Word choice (vernacular, slang, contractions, local idioms)
      • Sentence length
      • Sentence structure
      • Use of sensory details, figurative language, symbols, repetitive images or phrases
      • The use of dialogue (or lack of dialogue)
      • The tone. The treatment of characters and things (standoffish, doom and gloom, tongue-in-cheek)
compare the three different comedians here
Compare the three different comedians here
  • How are their styles different?
compare the three different comedians here1
Compare the three different comedians here
  • How are their styles different?
  • Practice writing a Mitch Hedberg joke in the style of a Seinfeld joke. (Don’t worry about it not being funny. This is an exercise is understanding style, not humor.)
  • Practice writing a Seinfeld joke in the style of Chris Rock.
  • Practice writing a Chris Rock joke in the style of Mitch Hedberg.
  • Etc.
  • An influence is something that shapes something else
  • Writers are influenced by many things, but foremost for professional writers is often other writers
  • Influenced and inspired are often used synonymously, but for our purposes I’d like a more influenced work
  • One way to really understand the power a story or author holds is to see how it influences other stories that come after it
    • How stories can influences your work
      • Theme
      • Setting
      • Characters
      • Style (tone, sentence structure, word choice)
      • Point-of-view
      • Symbols
      • Motifs
      • Ideas
  • Chuck Palahniuk on Amy Hempel
  • David Remnick, New Yorker editor, on his influences
  • In his 1991 introduction to Ender’s Game (the novel), Card discussed the influence of Isaac Asimov's Foundation series on the novelette and novel. Historian Bruce Catton's work on the American Civil War also influenced Card heavily.[7]
  • A review can argue a lot of things, but for our purposes, your review should argue what five stories (of all the ones we’ve read so far) are “the best” (not “the ones I like the most”). This is not to say you shouldn’t use first person. A review, after all, is your ranking of the stories.
  • Your review may be based on one or more of the following criteria
    • The beginning: Does the introduction draw the reader into the story? How does it do so? Does it compel the reader to read on? If so, how or why?
    • Realistic story: Is the plot believable? Even if it’s not, does the storytelling make it so? How relevant is the plot to life today? How much do the themes and motifs in the story reflect your values and concerns?
    • Characterization: Are the characters believable? Even if they’re not, does the storytelling make them so? How relevant are the characters’ values, beliefs, and concerns to today? How much do the characters your values and concerns? Do you sympathize with—or even just care about--the characters?
    • Themes: What themes are prominent in the story? Is the author’s treatment of them insightful or thought-provoking? Have you encountered this theme before in other sci-fi stories or books? Do the themes connect to your values and concerns?
    • Diction: How does the author use words? Sensory details? Figurative language?
    • Style: How does the author use sentence structure? What is the pace of the story? What is the tone? Do these things connect to your values or sensibilities?
    • Ending: Does the end of the story give closure to the reader and “leave her with something”? Or does the ending seem fabricated or cliché?
review examples
Review Examples
  • “Blood Music”:
video adaptation
Video Adaptation
  • Does not have to be exactly like the story and can even cut some things out to fit time and technology limitations
  • However, avoid extreme deviations from story (6 minutes of rain on flowers for “There Will Come Soft Rains”)
    • High school students’ video adaptation of “Harrison Bergeron”
    • “There Will Come Soft Rains”
works cited
Works Cited

Kastin, Kolin. “Practicing Point of View—Writing Exercises.” Ezine Articles. EzineArticles, n.d. Web. 28 Feb. 2011.

Rock, Chris. “Gun Control.” YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 28 Feb. 2011.