February 11

Housekeeping

  • Some MLA reminders
  • Response #2 due to Blackboard before midnight tonight
    • some reminders
      • avoid first and second person
      • get to your point early
      • use textual evidence
      • refrain from stating the obvious (e.g. “this is a story by Edgar Allan Poe”)
      • use summaries thoughtfully, as we had discussed
  • Reading feedback on BB: my grades, look at rubric and click on grade to see full document, where I leave most feedback. Come to office hours if you have trouble finding any of this
  • Bring your introduction and thesis for Project 1 to class on Wednesday (2 printed copies)

Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849)

  • Master of the macabre
  • Influential to the writing and theory of literature — focusing on art rather than morality


Poe’s most conspicuous contribution to world literature derives from the analytical method he practiced both as a creative author and as a critic of the works of his contemporaries. His self-declared intention was to formulate strictly artistic ideals in a milieu that he thought overly concerned with the utilitarian value of literature, a tendency he termed the “heresy of the Didactic.” While Poe’s position includes the chief requisites of pure aestheticism, his emphasis on literary formalism was directly linked to his philosophical ideals: through the calculated use of language one may express, though always imperfectly, a vision of truth and the essential condition of human existence. Poe’s theory of literary creation is noted for two central points: first, a work must create a unity of effect on the reader to be considered successful; second, the production of this single effect should not be left to the hazards of accident or inspiration, but should to the minutest detail of style and subject be the result of rational deliberation on the part of the author. In poetry, this single effect must arouse the reader’s sense of beauty, an ideal that Poe closely associated with sadness, strangeness, and loss; in prose, the effect should be one revelatory of some truth, as in “tales of ratiocination” or works evoking “terror, or passion, or horror.”

Poetry Foundation

Some themes in the story?

  • revenge
  • broken friendships
  • psychotic behavior
  • murder/violence
  • secrecy
  • public vs. private
  • morals (idea of retribution)
  • ego and pride (re: masculinity?)


  • Words you needed to look up?
  • Quotables: pick a line you highlighted as important. Let’s do some close readings…
  • How does this story work with foreshadowing?
  • What does the narrator’s motto mean? What does that say about him?
  • As you watch, takes notes to answer the following questions:
    • What is one visual/setting choice that most caught your attention? Why?
    • Is this a good or bad adaptation? What makes it so?
    • What is the role of editing and lighting in telling the story?
    • Were there elements you pictured differently? Which ones, and why?

William Faulkner (1897-1962)

Group work: get together in groups of 4 and decide how you might adapt A Rose for Emily. Take these last 20 minutes of class to write the details of your adaptation (to be handed in). Your adaptation should consider:

  • setting (same/different time period?)
  • characters (do you focus on the same protagonist, or take on a different point of view?)
  • narrative (how/when do you reveal information? e.g. through a voiceover? through flashbacks? having characters talk to each other? something else?)

For Wednesday

  • Read Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis”
  • Bring 2 printed copies of your introduction for Project 1 (including your thesis)

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