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February 16, 2007

Identity is Easy - You Have to Do More for it to be Meaningful

Hamilton, Essential Literary Terms (98-111; 150-166) -- Jerz: EL150 (Intro to Literary Study)

"it is important to keep in mind that simply summing up themes of complex poems, plays, and novels cannot yield their full meaning" (155).

I think this is especially important now that we are moving from, as Jerz always emphasizes, what was good enough in high school to what is good enough in college and beyond in terms of literary study. Being able to identify themes in a work is almost just a slightly higher form of plot summary. When working with themes now, we really need to be able to look at other rhetorical strategies and techniques that an author uses to contribute to a theme in addition to the elements of the plot. Sounds like a lot more work doesn't it? Darn. But, at least it is a lot more interesting.

Posted by LorinSchumacher at February 16, 2007 6:54 AM


Lorin, I really like how your blog entries model the active intellectual engagement that I know you want to get your own students excited about.

You're right, simply being able to list the themes (because you read them on the SparkNotes page) is not going to help you develop the skills of analysis and synthesis, which are the higher-order intellectual skills that we go to college in order to develop.

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at February 16, 2007 10:58 AM

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