In this assignment, you will put a historical document related to the production of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland alongside a small portion of the novel (a paragraph or part of a scene). You will write a two page analysis in which you use the historical document to reread or read more deeply the passage you choose from the novel. Your paper is teaching. Imagine that you are writing an exhibition essay (the short mounted essays that describe and contextualize the work on display). You should think of your audience as people not unlike yourself who have read the novel, but are interested in learning more. You are teaching them both about the document and about how they might consider reading part of the novel. The purposes of this assignment is to engage the novel and the exhibit at the Morgan Library and Museum more deeply and to explore how historical knowledge can affect (complicate, challenge, and support) a reading of literature.
NOTE: You will use this assignment for your group’s final American Alice project, so you might want to choose a passage or a thesis that relates to the particular binary your group will interrogate.
In order to complete this assignment you should:
- Visit the Morgan Library’s Exhibit on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
- Pick a document related to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland on display in the exhibit. Examples might be a photograph, a letter, a review, or a draft of a particular passage.
- Ask yourself:
- What does this document tell me about the novel as a whole?
- What part of the novel does this document best speak to (or. What part of the novel does this document make me think about the most?
- Is there something about this document that seems surprising given your reading of the novel?
- Is there some comparison between part of this document and part of the text?
- Are their similar or contrasting themes discussed?
- Do I learn an interesting fact about what Carroll was thinking when he wrote the novel?
- Are their similar words or images?
- Make a claim about how this document allows you to read differently and/or understand better some specific passage of the novel. The passage should be no longer than 4 sentences. This claim will be your thesis, so it should be something you can support by pointing to evidence in the document and the novel passage.
- Evidence your claim using specific, relevant, accurately cited textual examples from the document and the novel.
- Explain your evidence. How do you want your reader to understand this evidence? How does it illustrate your argument?
NOTE: The last three directions inform what I should see in the actual paper, but it is crucial that you do steps 1-3. I will provide a worksheet for those of you who go to the exhibit with me. If you go to the exhibit on your own, you should plan to download the worksheet, fill it out, and complete it to me after you visit the exhibit.
IMPORTANT: Pick a specific portion of the novel and make a specific claim. You will not do well with this assignment if you do not sufficiently narrow your focus.
Paper Formatting Guidelines
- 2-3 pages long. You must have a full 2 pages. It is not possible to do these assignments fully with less. Nor should you exceed 3 pages.
- 1 inch margins
- Double spaced
- 12 point Times New Roman Font
- Name and any relevant class or assignment info in the header
- Page number in footer
- There should be no identification /header in the body of the paper (i.e. date, instructor, etc). That space is for your paper.