PURPOSE: To continue practicing literary analysis via a specific lens (or combination). You’ll again analyze a piece of fiction using the fundamental premises and rules of interpretation outlined by a school of criticism, but this time you’re going to do extrinsic as well as intrinsic analysis. While you’ll use outside sources to analyze your chosen literary text, you’ll still need to analyze elements of the text. Sometimes textual analysis is lost in service of contextual articles and essays, so you’ll want to ensure you balance both here.
While you need to use several sources aside from the literary text, this isn’t a research paper. Rather, it’s a literary analysis supplemented with several outside sources that will prepare you for the research paper. You will likely have to do very little research as I provide a good deal of source material for you – I want you to focus on why we use certain kind of sources and incorporate them fluidly, not finding them.
***If you choose to write about The Handmaid’s Tale, you will have quick access to multiple critical essays that respond to/analyze the novel. If you choose to write about a film, you’ll have access to multiple theoretical essays that will help you build your approach (and I’ll post a few essays about several of the films as I find them, but you will likely need to find at least one source on the film).
ASSIGNMENT: In a 6-8 page, MLA-formatted paper, analyze a) The Handmaid’s Tale or b) a dystopic film (see choices below).
****Your paper must include direct quotes from your chosen text that support your examples and thesis, a clear and thoughtful thesis (see sample Handmaid paper), direct quotes from your outside sources and a Works Cited page. You must use two but no more than four outside sources.
1.) You need to use at least one written analysis of your text, whether it’s the novel or the film (“practical criticism”). This is the same thing you’re doing. Ideally, this literary analysis will be your scholarly source. If you cannot find a scholarly source for a film, you can use a popular source – just look for something credible, written through a theoretical lens (ideally Marxism or Feminism, but anything that analyzes race, ethnicity, social class/stratification, identity/identity politics, discourse/politicized language, ideology, sexuality, gender, characterization of women, portrayals femininity and masculinity, etc. can work. You can find a scholarly source on something else.
2. An essay that explores/critiques the genre/subgenre, an author or your chosen theoretical lens – or both. So, a source exploring dystopias (in general or topically), the use of/developments in/responses to the theory. If you don’t use a scholarly source for the above, try to find an appropriate one in this pool.
From the scholarly anthology The Dystopian Impulse in Modern Literature: “Introduction: Utopia, Dystopia and Social Critique” or “The Contemporary Communist Dystopia”
3. A recent news article/opinion piece on the novel or your chosen film (or one that explores a major theme in your text (particularly if that news article/editorial intersects you’re your own analysis).
See developing sample paper in Google Docs
DRAFT DUE DATE: MON, JULY 17
(If you want the opportunity to submit a revision, you need to turn in a completed paper on the draft due date – one that meets length and topic requirements.)
FINAL DRAFT DUE DATE:One week after I return the paper to you
The Running Man
Children of Men
Never Let Me Go
Mad Max Fury Road
Professor Amy Bolaski
24 April 2016
“Issues-Based Paper Using Intrinsic and Extrinsic Analysis From a Marxist and Feminist Perspective (Issue – forced surrogacy/reproduction)”
Introduction: [didn’t write one – the purpose of this document is to demonstrate the use of intrinsic and extrinsic analysis via a theoretical lens to provide analytical structure/inclusion of various sources. Thus, the paper begins below with what would be a body paragraph.]
Comparing surrogacy to other forms of assistance in conceiving and raising children, writer Nayantara Mallya (volunteer for SuDatta, an association for adoptive parents) here highlights why surrogacy is an oppressive, unethical form of such assistance:
For one, getting help for childcare, education and the care of elders pays people for their skills and work. It’s not an invasion of their bodies. Surrogacy is. To me, it compares (in terms of ethics) to paid live organ donation … a person’s body is being used to save someone else’s life. Or commercial sex work … a woman is paid to satisfy a man’s desires . . . . Surrogacy is the wrong solution to pleasing the patriarchal notions about the requirement for a bloodline produced obediently by the wife and the superiority of genetic ties.
While Mallya explicitly identifies modern (particularly outsourced) surrogacy as a form of patriarchal oppression, she also goes on to locate the practice in class-based oppression. The forced surrogacy in Margaret Atwood’s A Handmaid’s Tale is presented similarly: the practice is at the apex of the handmaids’ psychological, sexual, physiological and physical oppression. Atwood’s darkly dystopian surrogacy forewarns of the very real dangers inherent in perhaps any exchange that trades on the pregnancy/birth of child – whether the surrogate is paid in the form of financial currency (as in Maliya’s non-fictional critique) or the alleged honor and physical safety promised to the handmaids in Atwood’s fictional account. In a modern world wherein we seemingly have more choice than ever in deciding whether/how/when to conceive a child, both Maliya and Atwood remind us that such choice almost always belongs to those of privileged races, ethnic identities, social classes, and geographical locations. For many, many others, choice is much less a part of the equation – often playing no part at all.
The aunts/enforcers go so far as to liken the handmaids’ new existence to, literally, a form of freedom rather than a world of bodily coercion and force, proposing that the handmaids are lucky in that they no longer have to deal with catcalls or fear violence from strangers. Aunt Lydia, seemingly having internalized the new but wildly perverse ideology of her country’s fundamentalist leaders says brightly, “ [i]n the days of anarchy, it was freedom to. Now you are being given freedom from.” This defective but catchy truism is meant to help the handmaid understand and reconfigure the conditions of her freedom while maintaining the outrageous fiction that she possesses any form of freedom at all: they are free from sexual harassment, the threat of home invasion, touch to which they have not consented, forced and perhaps violent sexual contact. In exchange for such “protection” she has simply had to give up freedom “to” – to make decisions, to choose sexual partners, to choose whether to try to conceive or not, to have any agency whatsoever. This anachronistic ideology is similar to the kind Mallya recognizes in the rhetoric that favors surrogacy: “ . . . First we had BPO [business process outsourcing] then KPO [knowledge process outsourcing], and now reproduction process outsourcing. . . . A couple who cannot birth a child exploits a woman in a developing country, walks away with a baby in hand, and feels like they helped the surrogate mom get a better life.” The perceived mutually beneficial exchange, mirrored in Aunt Lydia’s version, is often the selling point. However, “The professional surrogate mother also appears to be a winner, with all the money she’s paid. But she’s not. She’s a victim” (Maliya).