September 19, 2021 Comment off
Write an essay of 700-800 words on one of the following topics, each of which asks you to analyze some aspect of Jeanette Winterson’s novel Written On the Body.
Write an essay of 700-800 words on one of the following topics, each of which asks you to analyze some aspect of Jeanette Winterson’s novel Written On the Body. Be sure to supply evidence from the text to back up the claim you make about the text in your essay, and draw some broader conclusion about Winterson’s novel.Note that this is not a research task. Rather, it is an exercise in reading and analyzing a text independently. I do not want to see any ideas from secondary sources in your essay; I certainly do not want you to plagiarize in your essay (now or ever), but I don’t want you to consult and document outside sources here either. I want you to demonstrate your ability a) to read a book on your own and reflect on it, b) to practice the skills of interpretation that we have been cultivating in our class discussions all term (analyzing rather than just summarizing the text, trying to make sense of why things are as they are in a literary text, accounting for apparent patterns and tendencies, and so on), and c) to write a convincing argument, with evidence from the text, to defend your interpretation of it. Remember that there are no “right” or “wrong” interpretations of this or any other text we study in this course—only interpretations for which there is enough compelling and well-presented evidence to be convincing to your reader.Again, the task is to demonstrate your ability to read independently. Do not consult online summaries, or conduct research in pursuit of something you can say in response to one of the questions below. Read the novel on your own, give it some thought, and take a shot at ONE of the questions below in an essay of 700-800 words. Be sure to present your work in MLA format, and note that the word limits are firm ones.I DO NOT CARE WHAT TOPIC YOU PICK, JUST PICK ONE OF THE THREE OPTIONS BELOW, PLEASE.1. What are we to make of the fact that Winterson’s novel offers us so little information about its first-person narrator, as we never find out the gender or even the name of the person who tells us this story? Write a 700-800-word essay in which you discuss the nature of this ambiguity about the narrator and its role in our understanding of the novel. Note that the task here is not to follow various clues and make a guess about, for example, the narrator’s gender (though there are plenty of these, and they point in conflicting directions). We are clearly not meant to settle on any specific identity, and Winterson herself may not even have chosen one for her narrator, so the task is instead to try to explain why it matters to our understanding of this very intimate and confessional novel that we know so little about the person who narrates it. (You can focus on one or another of the things we don’t know about the narrator—gender, name, something else—or you can try to account for all of it; it’s up to you. What matters is that you shed some light on the text by explaining why Winterson would have us know so little about the narrator.)2. Despite the lack of chapter breaks, the first hundred or so pages of the novel mostly consist of conventional first-person narration. When the narrator retreats from London to remote Yorkshire, deeply sad about Louise and “obsessed with anatomy” (111), the text breaks at last, and Winterson gives us four brief chapters that seem similarly obsessed: “The Cells, Tissues, Systems and Cavities of the Body,” “The Skin,” “The Skeleton,” and “The Special Senses.” Each of these is itself subdivided into short sections in which the language of anatomy textbooks appears side by side with the narrator’s intimate reflections on Louise’s body. Write a 700-800-word essay in which you discuss the significance of these short chapters to the novel in general. You might give some though here to Winterson’s intriguing title, Written On the Body, which emphasizes the importance of both our physical bodies (our pleasures, pains, illnesses, etc.) and our attempts to record our experiences in writing. What are we to make of these odd little chapters? How do they contribute to our experience and understanding of the novel?3. What does it seem like Winterson wants us to conclude about this narrator in moral terms? Write a 700-800-word essay in which you consider the moral status of the narrator, and shed some light on the text in general through an analysis of the moral conclusions that Winterson seems to want us to make about the narrator. You might choose to focus on the various romantic entanglements described throughout, or on the narrator’s interactions with other significant characters (Louise, Elgin, Gail), or you might examine other aspects of the narrator’s thoughts and behaviour that seem to lead to some moral status or conclusion. The task here is not just descriptive but analytical, so I do not want you merely to state whether the narrator is good or bad; I want you to go a step further and draw some conclusion about the novel in general by trying to make sense of its take on morality, interpersonal ethics, etc.For this assignment, you MUST submit a Works Cited list, and you MUST cite your quoted evidence from the text completely, accurately, and according to MLA format.