Mess Posts


On the syllabus you will see that after first week of class, we will go through four rounds of what I call Binary and Mess post.   Each round will focus on a different theme relevant to our class discussions; however the essential requirements for the post will be the same throughout the semester.

In a Mess Post you will : 

1) Pick a binary post from the week before that you find compelling.

2) Find a moment in the literature that messes with the binary addressed in your classmates post.   You should use the reading from this week or the week before (when the binary post was posted),

3)  Posit a claim about how that moment messes with the binary in your classmate’s post.  For example: Perhaps I find a moment in which a boy dressed as a little girl is described as an angel  in a way that suggests that gender crossing for boys might  not fall under the same moral scrutiny.  Or perhaps I find a moment in which a good girl is cooking cakes like a good angel should but decides to put too much salt in her brother’s cakes because he has been mean to her.  I might argue that here is an examples where angels can be resisting devils too, or that under the guise of adhering to gender roles, girls find ways to affect boy-life and boy play

4) Provide specific, relevant, and accurately cited examples from the text that illustrate/support your claim.

5) Explain your evidence (what you quoted) and how it actually illustrates the binary story you said the text was illustrating.


NOTE:  All binary and mess posts should be between 100-200 words, clearly written, and accurately cited.

SECOND NOTE: There are four rounds of Binary-Mess Posts.  Rounds 1 and 3 are general  binary and mess.   You can pick whatever binary you want to discuss, and the mess post can respond to those binary post as they please.  Rounds 2 and 4 have specific themes that your binary should focus on.  see the syllabus for which week is general and which is a theme.  The description for those rounds are as follows:

  • Round 2:  The “American Adventures in Gender Assignment”, you will focus on a gender binary: What kind of binary narrative about male and female/men and women/ boys and girls does the narrative prevent?
  • Round 4: In the “Racial Animal Assignment” you will focus on racial binaries: What kind of binary narrative about race does this story tell?  This may be a story about black and white or it may about the human and nonhuman animal or both!?