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So the honors exam is divided in three sections: genre, historical context, and theory. I can use some secondary sources at hand to make “The Yellow Wallpaper” applicable to all categories, but I’m conflicted on which one I should use it for.
As of now, this is my strategy plan:
For genre, I plan on using “Bartleby the Scrivener.” As of now I cannot connect this to any other text on our honors exam reading list through a parable lens. I have started my research and have found plenty of sources that support my reading of Herman Melville’s text as a parable, some scholarly and respectable sources while others not so much. I think my main secondary source for this will be: Stempel, Daniel, and Bruce M. Stillians. “Bartleby the Scrivener: A Parable of Pessimism.” Nineteenth-Century Fiction, vol. 27, no. 3, 1972, pp. 268–282., www.jstor.org/stable/2932890.
For historical context, I want to use more than one text to talk about slavery. I can do this through “Negro Hero” by Gwendolyn Brooks and Harriet Jacobs’s Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. For this section, I am not sure what kind of historical research to bring into conversation with my texts. I can obviously talk about slavery in America and the impact it had on the black community. On the other hand, I could talk about something more specific like marriage conditions for slaves or different forms of cruelty. Any suggestions? For this section, I was originally planning on A Midsummer Night’s Dream because there’s a lot of Greek mythology in that text that I can use as historical context to interpret that text, but I want to use more than one primary text in at least one section. I mean if anyone knows what other text I can use with Shakespeare’s text and have an actual historical connection, I would happily do this instead.
For theory, I am going to use Robert Parker’s reader-response chapter because it is the one I understand best so I will be able to talk about it in the course of 700+ words. I guess I’ll use “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman for this section. I know we can bring in one primary text of our own so I was thinking of bringing in Arlene Sardine, which is a children’s book that I used in my senior thesis. For Gilman’s work, I can use the secondary source that I used when I gave my presentation while connecting that to Parker’s chapter. For Arlene Sardine I can use Karen Coats’s “Teaching Fish Stories,” which discusses multiple readings done by a variety of readers as well and then tie that back to Parker. Sounds solid, no?
Flexibility and Modularity: I think for this section, one text that I can be really flexible with is “The Yellow Wallpaper.” However, I feel like if I’m going to bring in other texts and be flexible with them, they have to have some sort of connection with the texts at hand, but as of now I don’t think there are any other texts that correlate with this pool of works. However, I am open to suggestions that’ll help me to see some texts other ways and work with multiple texts.
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