Course & Assignment Description – Re-presentation: Kate Chopin’s The Story of an Hour (4.1)

ENGL206 E-Literature and Writing Course

This course examines how electronic media are reshaping literature. Students will survey important concepts in poetics, and they will consider how these concepts can be applied to literature online. Reading and writing assignments will acquaint students with established and emerging genres of literature, processes for composing and publishing electronic texts, and literary resources on the Internet.

We have been evaluating and discussing for some time now various narratives that use electronic media to significant effect. Hypertext, blogs, purportedly machine-written narratives—all of these have taken advantage of electronic media to present some piece of literary work in ways that are just not possible on the conventional printed page.

Now, with this assignment, I want you to explore these possibilities yourself by manipulating and re-presenting some poor unsuspecting piece of print literature. This piece of literature may be something previously published and well-known, it may be something relatively obscure that you have stumbled across, or you may use your own writing if you like—the only stipulation is that it come from a print source that is arguably literature. (Remember all of our discussion on definitions here. There needs to be some element of expressive or artistic textual communication, but after that, it’s pretty wide open.) Whatever you’re doing, try to do it with an eye for the overall artistic effect—you might choose to emphasize the original message of a piece of literature, or you might choose to completely undermine and subvert that message or original idea—but in your presentation of this project to the class, be prepared to explain what you did and how it changes the work itself, or the experience of reading it, in a significant way.

There are a couple of obvious ways you can manipulate and re-present these works. One is to take a previously linear narrative and chop it up into a nonlinear or multilinear narrative, or even just mess with the order of the story; hypertext or even a creatively done Powerpoint presentation might be interesting here. Another approach is to present the original material alongside other pieces of text, visual images, audio, whatever, in ways that will influence the text’s meaning or a reader’s experience of it. Of course, there are probably many more productive approaches too—if you aren’t sure about an idea, talk to me about it.

If this sounds beyond your technical means, don’t despair: I’m looking for thought and creativity here more than flashy programming skills. In Blackboard, if you click on the “Atomic Learning” tab in the upper right of your screen, you can access a variety of fairly quick and easy tutorials on how to use and work with programs like Powerpoint, Dreamweaver, Flash and quite a few others. If you want to work in a program you don’t have on your own personal computer, we can probably arrange for you to get access to what you need here on campus, if not on your own computer. And if you have an idea for what you would like to do but aren’t sure how to make it happen, talk to me, and we’ll review some options.

Shoot for around ten minutes for these presentations. You can use that time however you like—for example, you can have a presentation prepared to roll itself for roughly ten minutes, or you can project screens onto the front of the classroom and talk about what we’re seeing, or you can turn the class loose to explore individually what you’ve done for a few minutes, and then take questions…just about anything can work here.