ENG 209: Modern Irish Literature
Section GA:  Monday and Wednesday
                   11:00 am–12:15 pm, South 216

James Joyce, DublinersSean O'Casey, Three Dublin PlaysJ.M. Synge, The Playboy of the Western World...WIlliam Trevor, The Oxford Book of Irish Short Stoires

Brian T. Murphy

Bradley Hall, Y-203
516-572-7185, ext. 25686

e-mail: brian.murphy@ncc.edu

Schedule and Office Hours
 

 

TOPICS AND GENERAL ESSAY INSTRUCTIONS:

For each of the assigned essays and projects, a topic or list of topic choices will be provided. Your work must be on one of the assigned topics for that assignment or developed in consultation with the instructor* or it will receive a grade of “F”. Select one of the topics to discuss in a well-developed, coherent, and thoughtful essay. Be sure to focus carefully on the topic, and remember that these are formal essays: they must have an appropriate, original title; contain an introduction, body, and conclusion; have a clear, explicit, assertive, objectively worded thesis statement (thesis statements must be underlined); and (unless otherwise indicated) avoid use of I or you throughout.

*Note: You must obtain prior approval to write on topics other than those listed below; speak to me before or after class to set up an appointment during my office hours. Approval must be obtained at least one full week in advance of the due date.

All writing assignments must be received by the instructor on or before the due date, by the beginning of the class period, as indicated on the schedule,. Essays submitted by email or otherwise submitted late will not be accepted. All at-home work must be typed (in 12-point Times New Roman), double-spaced, with one-inch margins, and stapled when submitted. In-class work must be neatly printed in blue or black ink on loose-leaf composition paper or in bluebooks provided by the instructor and double-spaced§. All essays must also include a proper heading (see Purdue Online Writing Lab's Formatting and Style Guide), including Word Count; have an appropriate, original title; contain a clear, explicit, assertive, objectively worded thesis statement (thesis statements must be underlined); and (unless otherwise indicated) avoid use of I or you throughout. Finally, all work should be grammatically correct, free of errors in mechanics, grammar, usage, spelling, and documentation, and will be evaluated according to the Model for Evaluation of Student Writing. Please refer to the Paragraph Outline or Essay Outline and Revising and Editing Checklist for additional assistance.

Please refer to the following as well:

ball2.gif (137 bytes)   Formatting and Style Guide (Purdue Online Writing Lab)

ball2.gif (137 bytes)   Incorporating Sources (class handout)

ball2.gif (137 bytes)   Class Plagiarism Policy (on syllabus)and the LaGuardia Community College Policy on Academic Integrity (.pdf).

You might also find the following additional resources useful:

ball2.gif (137 bytes)   Works Cited page (Instructions & Sample) (Microsoft Word document)

ball2.gif (137 bytes)   Avoiding Plagiarism (Houghton-Mifflin web site)

ball2.gif (137 bytes)   Practice Incorporating Sources into Your Work (Houghton-Mifflin web site)

ball2.gif (137 bytes)   MLA Documentation of Films: Works Cited and In-Text Citations

ball2.gif (137 bytes)   MLA format (Purdue Universitys Online Writing Lab)

Also, one would think that this would not even need to be stated, but read the work or works about which you are writing, and read carefully! Do not rely upon your general impressions based on what you think was said in class, or on what you read online. There is no reason for your essays to contain factual errors.

Please feel free to communicate any concerns or questions to me before the essays are due; I will be available to meet with any student who needs assistance or additional instruction. Please speak to me before or after class or email me to set up an appointment during my office hours.

 

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Essay One: Due Wednesday, 10 February
Essay one should be a well-developed, coherent, and thoughtful essay of at least five pages (750 to 1000 words minimum). Essays must have an appropriate, original title; contain an introduction (with an explicit, assertive thesis, underlined), several body paragraphs supporting the thesis, and an appropriate concluding paragraph; and avoid use of I or you throughout. Be sure to use appropriate topic sentences and transitions to guide the reader.

Remember that you are not summarizing the works, but responding to them in a critical manner. Include evidence or examples from the specific text or texts that you are writing about, but do not retell the story, and do not copy directly except when quoting. Remember to incorporate sources correctly: use signal phrases and document with parenthetical citations and a Work or Works Cited reference at the end of the essay.

Your essay will be evaluated in terms of Main Idea, Organization, Support, and Mechanics (Words and Sentences). Therefore, make certain your essay is not only well organized and developed, but also grammatically correct, free of errors in mechanics, grammar, usage, and spelling.

Note: This is not a research essay; the only sources utilized or quoted should be the texts themselves. Use of secondary sources, whether credited or not, will be considered grounds for failure.

In James Joyce's Dubliners, several images, tropes, or themes recur. Select one of the following and discuss how Joyce develops the idea throughout several stories, how it changes or evolves, how and why it is important, and what it suggests both within the context of the story itself and in society as depicted by Joyce. You may also choose to include examples of how the same idea is utilized in one or more additional short stories, including Elizabeth Bowen's “Her Table Spread” and Seán Ó Faoláin's “The Faithless Wife” and “The Sugawn Chair.”

  • Religion and the Priesthood

  • Family and Family Obligations

  • Coming of Age/Loss of Innocence

  • Ireland and “Irishness”

Please feel free to communicate any concerns or questions to me before the essays are due; I will be available to meet with any student who needs assistance or additional instruction. Please speak to me before or after class or email me to set up an appointment during my office hours. If you wish to write on a topic other than those listed here, approval must be obtained at least one full week in advance of the due date.

 

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Midterm Exam (Short Essays): Due Monday, 28 March
Instead of a traditional midterm essay, you should write three short essays of at least 250-300 words apiece. Essays must be typed, in 12-point Times New Roman, double-spaced, and stapled when submitted. Before you begin to write, take time to focus on your subject and to plan your essays carefully. Essays must have an appropriate, original title; contain an introduction (with an explicit, assertive thesis, underlined), body, and conclusion; and avoid use of I or you throughout. Your essay will, as always, be evaluated in terms of Main Idea, Organization, Support, and Diction and Mechanics. Therefore, make certain your essay is not only well organized and developed, but also grammatically correct, free of errors in mechanics, grammar, usage, and spelling.

Remember that you are not summarizing the works, but responding to them in a critical manner. Include evidence or examples from the specific texts that you are writing about, but do not retell the story, and do not copy directly except when quoting. Remember to incorporate sources correctly: use signal phrases and document with parenthetical citations and a Works Cited reference at the end of the essay.

You may use the texts themselves (textbook, printout, or online versions) and a dictionary and/or thesaurus (print, electronic, or online) for this essay, but no other materials or sources. Use of secondary sources, whether credited or not, will be considered grounds for failure.

Topics: select one from each of the following pairs; that is, one per author.

James Joyce, Dubliners

1.   In many ways, The Dead is unlike the other stories in Dubliners. Not only the longest selection in the text, it also differs in both structure and theme. Why is it the last story, how does it bring the rest of Dubliners into focus, and in what way does it serve to complete the collection?

2.   The stories in Dubliners all have different characters, involve varying family structures and problems, plots, and settings; in fact, perhaps the only thing they all have in common is their setting in Dublin. How does Joyce unify these different stories to form a coherent whole? Consider themes, order of presentation, age or seasonal progression, and so on. 

William Butler Yeats, selected poems

1.   Discuss the ways in which Yeats presents nationalism and rebellion in at least three of the poems, including the related ideas of violence and disillusionment. Be sure to consider the effects of language, imagery and verse form in your answer.

2.   In some ways Yeats is both a modern poet, one who transforms the genre in terms of both structure and content, and one who looks backward, echoing traditional images, forms, and themes. Using at least three of the poems, discuss this double nature of Yeats’ poetry.

J. M. Synge, The Playboy of the Western World

1.   The Playboy of the Western World is simultaneously broad comedy and an indictment of certain aspects of Irish life in the early twentieth century. Using specific examples from the text, discuss how Synge’s play uses comedy as social commentary and critique. Possible approaches to consider include religion, conformity, the family, and so on.

2.   What exactly is “the playboy of the western world”? That is, the concept of “playboy” changes throughout the course of Synge’s play, reflecting the changing status and role of Christy. Explain how the idea changes over the course of the story, and why.

 

 

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Essay Two: Due Wednesday, April 13
Select one of the short essays you composed for the Midterm Exam and develop it into a well-developed, coherent, and thoughtful essay of at least five pages (750 to 1000 words minimum). Begin by reading my comments on your midterm, and then expand upon the ideas you have already; be sure to add more detail, explanation, and analysis, though, not just more words. In addition, you may also use examples from any of the other works on the syllabus to further develop and support your thesis; for example, using a poem from Richard Murphy as a counter-example in your discussion of nationalism and rebellion in Yeats' poetry, or something from Bowen or Ó Faoláin to contrast with your reading of Joyce or Synge. Be sure to keep the emphasis on the topic as originally posed, however, and not stray from your original essay's thesis

As with Essay 1 and the midterm, essays must have an appropriate, original title; contain an introduction (with an explicit, assertive thesis, underlined), several body paragraphs supporting the thesis, and an appropriate concluding paragraph; and avoid use of I or you throughout. Be sure to use appropriate topic sentences and transitions to guide the reader.

Remember that you are not summarizing the works, but responding to them in a critical manner.  Include evidence or examples from the specific text or texts that you are writing about, but do not retell the story, and do not copy directly except when quoting. Remember to incorporate sources correctly: use signal phrases and document with parenthetical citations and a Work or Works Cited reference at the end of the essay.

Your essay will, as always, be evaluated in terms of Main Idea, Organization, Support, and Mechanics (Words and Sentences). Therefore, make certain your essay is not only well organized and developed, but also grammatically correct, free of errors in mechanics, grammar, usage, and spelling.

Note: This is not a research essay; the only sources utilized or quoted should be the texts themselves. Use of secondary sources, whether credited or not, will be considered grounds for failure.

 

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Research Paper: Due in stages (see below)
Select any one of the authors from the syllabus, and find one long work (a novel or play) or at least two to three short works (poems or short stories) by that author but which are not listed on the syllabus. For example, if you enjoyed reading Yeats’ poetry, you may elect to read and analyze his play The Death of Cuchulain or, if you enjoyed O’Casey’s Juno and the Paycock, consider reading The Plough and the Stars. Your essay should be a close, critical analysis of the work or works, showing familiarity with the selection, its context, and its significance, and demonstrate independent thought and research, including an argumentative thesis. Do not provide a biography of the author or a summary of the texts; instead, your thesis must be a claim about the work or works that represents your interpretation and that is supported with textual evidence. Your project  must address specific appropriate elements including (but not limited to)—depending on genre—plot or dramatic structure, setting, characterization, point of view, speaker or narrator, language (including figurative language or imagery, diction, and allusions) and for poetry, structure (including meter and rhyme scheme, or the lack of them), intended audience, and theme, as appropriate.

Your essay should be a clear, well-written, properly documented (MLA format) argumentative essay of at least 1500 words (roughly six pages minimum), with a cover page and Works Cited page (cover page and Works Cited do not count toward the six-page requirement). The paper must be argumentative (persuasive), with a clear, explicit, and assertive thesis statement (thesis statements must be underlined), and must use a minimum of five to seven sources: up to three primary sources and a minimum of three to five secondary sources. Secondary sources must be scholarly criticism or analysis, not summaries, reviews, or analysis” from sites such as e-Notes, SparkNotes, Wikipedia*, 123HelpMe, or Gradesaver.com; instead, use the library resources, including the available electronic databases such as Academic Search Complete, Literary Sources through Artemis, Literature Resource Center, Bloom's Literary Reference, Literature Criticism Online, Humanities Source, Project MUSE - Standard Collection, MagillOnLiterature Plus, and JSTOR Arts & Sciences I Current Collection  to locate appropriate sources. To access the databases from home, click on the individual database link. Then, when prompted, enter your username (N #) and password (PIN). You must include at least one short quotation, one long—block—quotation, and one paraphrase, and these sources must be properly documented (utilizing MLA format), and integrated into your writing smoothly and correctly. See also Research Paper checklist.

* On use of Wikipedia in college-level research, see Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales on PBS NewsHour, here: I dont think at a university level it makes sense to cite any encyclopedia in an academic paper. Thats just not what an encyclopedia's role is in the research process. Maybe if you’re in junior high, you know? If some kid out there is twelve years old and they wrote something and they put in a footnote, we should be thrilled, right? Thats his first start on the idea of crediting other people with ideas and things like that, but at the university level? No, its a bit junior high to cite an encyclopedia.

The final research paper must be submitted in a research folder, including copies of all sources used. Be sure to print out or photocopy all secondary sources, and highlight all relevant passages, whether quoted, paraphrased, or summarized. Failure to submit a complete research essay in a folder according to these instructions will be grounds for failure on the assignment. In addition, plagiarism, either in whole or in part, will result in automatic failure (a grade of zero) for the assignment, just as for any essay, and therefore likely failure for the course as well.

Refer to the following as well:

ball2.gif (137 bytes)    “Writing about Texts” (Rules for Writers 7 ed. 70-83, 6 ed. 346-358)

ball2.gif (137 bytes)    “Citing sources; avoiding plagiarism,” “Integrating sources” (Rules for Writers 7 ed. 464-479, 6 ed. 415-426)

ball2.gif (137 bytes)    Research Paper Revision and Editing Checklist

ball2.gif (137 bytes)    Research Paper Folder Checklist

Topic Selection and Preliminary Thesis, Due Monday, 7 March
You must establish a clear thesis before you can begin to put together a focused, well-organized, and purposeful research essay. Therefore, as your first step in the research essay assignment, you must develop and submit a clear, well-written, one-page explanation of the topic you have chosen, your reason for the selection, your focus and opinion, and an explicit, assertive preliminary thesis. This proposal may also include a preliminary idea of the plan of the paper, its intention or research question. Note: Choose your topic carefully. You will not be allowed to change your topic once you have made your selection, although you may change your position on the particular issue and will, presumably, modify your thesis during the process of research and writing.

Your work should take the following form:
Topic: the specific topic you have selected
Rationale: why you have chosen to research and write about this particular topic.
Focus: a narrowed form of the subject, and the issue or debate involved.
Opinion: your subjective opinion on the debate or issue.
Preliminary Thesis: your opinion, worded objectively.

For example:
Topic: W. B. Yeats The Death of Cuchulain
Rationale: We read about Cuchulain in Prof. Anderson's History of Ireland class this semester, and she mentioned Yeats
’ use of mythology, too, so I'm curious about it.
Focus: How does Yeats use Irish legends in Cuchulain, and why? What is his intent?.
Opinion: I think that Yeats wants to rekindle an interest in Irish tradition and mythology, which were being ignored in favor of English versions.
Preliminary Thesis: In The Death of Cuchulain, Yeats rewrites Irish legend in order to emphasize the richness of his native tradition
, as a reaction against English dominance in art, politics, and religion.

*Note: students must obtain prior approval for independent topics; speak to me before or after class or email me to set up an appointment during my office hours.

 

Annotated Preliminary Bibliography, Due Wednesday, 6 April
You must submit an annotated preliminary bibliography with a minimum of five to seven sources—up to three primary sources and a minimum of three to five secondary sources—correctly cited according to MLA style. Sources must be scholarly criticism or analysis, not summaries, reviews, or analysis” from sites such as e-Notes, SparkNotes, Wikipedia*, 123HelpMe, or Gradesaver.com; instead, use the library resources, including the available electronic databases such as Academic Search Complete, InfoTrac General OneFile, Lexis-Nexis Academic, Opposing Viewpoints in Context, Points of View Reference Center, and CQ Researcher, to locate appropriate sources. To access the databases from home, click on the individual database link. Then, when prompted, enter your username (N #) and password (PIN).

In addition to a correct citation for each source, you must include a description or summary of the source, at least two to three sentences, and an explanation of how you foresee incorporating it into your essay. For additional information on Annotated Bibliographies, see the Purdue University Online Writing Lab (OWL)’s Annotated Bibliographies, as well as “Sample Annotated Bibliography” and Ebel, Kimberly, “Class and Gender in Cinderella: Annotated Bibliography.”

You might also find the following additional resources useful:

ball2.gif (137 bytes)   Works Cited page (Instructions & Sample) (Microsoft Word document)

ball2.gif (137 bytes)   MLA format (Purdue university's Online Writing Lab)

 

Research Paper, Due Wednesday, 27 April
The final research essay must be submitted, in its folder with all supporting materials: photocopies or printouts of all sources, preliminary thesis, preliminary bibliography, outline–if you have completed one–and any preliminary drafts. Failure to bring the required essay will result in a zero for the assignment.

 

Tuesday, 12 January 2016
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Main page: www.Brian-T-Murphy.com

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