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Thursday, October 26, 2017

Paper 3 Handout


ENGL 1213 / 2017/ Jennings
Paper #3: Literary Analysis

Due Date: November 21, 2017, by 2:00 p.m.

Length:  Around three to five pages


Format:  MLA format 

Content:  This is a literary analysis of Eleanor Arnason’s novella, Mammoths of the Great Plain. You should read the work more than once, taking notes and thinking about it. We will also read papers relevant to the novella, and we will talk about all this in class.

You should choose some question you want to discuss in your paper. You may choose one of the questions provided here, or create your own. Be sure to cite all sources correctly.

Sample Questions:

·         Arnason’s novella is a work of alternative history. In alternative history, actual history is mixed with the alternative or fictional history to create a new narrative. Choose one real historical event from the novella and research it. (Lewis or Clark and the events of their lives, for instance; or the loss of North American Megafauna.) How does Arnason change or the event? Why do you think she makes these changes?

·         Choose one of the articles we read in class. Use that article to analyze or comment on part of the novella. For instance, we read an article called “Child Socialization among Native Americans,” which gave us information on how children are educated in the Lakota culture. You might compare specific details from that article with details in the novella – how does the socialization or education of children compare in the two? 

·         Throughout the novella, characters are guided in their decisions by dreams. Yet many characters are scientists. Are the scientific worldview and the mysticism of the dream world in conflict?

·         Many obvious symbols run through the novel – white mammoths, turkeys, hawks, trains. Choose one symbol, and discuss the use and development of that symbol through the novella.

·         Choose one character, either major or minor, and explain their role, motivation, and importance to the overall narrative. Explain why Arnason includes this character.

·         Choose one of the essays we read in class and use it to discuss some aspect of the novella. For instance, in “Child Socialization among the Lakota Sioux,” we read about how cultural transmission takes place among the Sioux. You might, for instance, use what you learned from this essay to discuss how Sioux culture is portrayed in the novella.

·         Read one of the supplementary works included in the text – the interview with Arnason, or the essay she writes, “Writing Science Fiction during World War Three.” Use some aspect of one of these works to comment on or interpret part of her novella.


·         Any other question that occurs to you – if you’re not sure it will work, feel free to check with me! 

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