12th September 2016

There are two tasks today (task 2 will also be dealt with next week):

  • Spend the first lesson reading through the summaries and text analyses your colleagues have written. Comment on at least THREE posts. This does not mean just writing one sentence, saying “I agree“ or similar (i.e. making funny, yet unrelated comments), but actually commenting elaborately on what your friends have come up with, possibly even asking questions that evoke a discussion. Of course you are also very welcome to comment on earlier comments made by your classmates and myself, sparking a lively discussion.
  • I would like you to get more involved with some of the themes in Death of a Salesman. This means that you are going to do some research on one theme and write a text relating that theme to the play. I would like you to come up with a text that introduces the theme (introduction) and analyses it through specific passages and characters (600-800 words). Round off your text nicely. To see what such a text might look like (or at least the beginning of it), check out the following:

An example of the beginning of a theme analysis

A major theme in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is growing up. Throughout the work Alice changes size twelve times. People change size when they grow up. The size change equating to growing up is also a metaphor; in English the description “being bigger” often means “being older.” For the purposes of the story, Alice grows both larger and smaller, but with each change, Carroll is symbolizing Alice’s maturation process. Each time she grows larger or smaller, she has to deal with a problem related to the change in her size.

The very first size change comes when she recklessly follows the White Rabbit down the hole and into Wonderland. She finds a key which unlocks a door, but she cannot go through it because she is the wrong size. This fantastical situation happens often in real life. As children are growing up, they often feel that they are not the right size to do whatever they want to do. One day they might feel that they should be bigger so that they might go wherever they wished and the next day they might feel that they should be smaller so they do not have to do chores. Thus Alice’s desire to be a different size in the very first chapter of the book indicates that growing up is a major theme in the work.

(http://www.teachingcollegeenglish.com/2007/08/10/how-to-write-an-analysis-of-theme/)

If you are going to use sources other than what you have come up with yourself (and you most likely will if you are doing research on your theme), you will have to respect these sources by citing them in your text. In order to make sure that you are doing this properly, I have created a little booklet for you with the most common and important things to know when citing and quoting. Please refer to this booklet at all times.

Task 2 is due for 26th September. You will have some more time to work on this text on 19th September.

Here is the list with themes:

  • DoaS, the American Dream & Capitalism
  • DoaS and Failure
  • DoaS and Reality vs. Illusion
  • DoaS, Gender (Relations) & Love
  • DoaS, Symbolism & Names
  • DoaS, tragedy or social drama?

If you like, you can work on a topic in pairs. However, if you do that, you still have to write an individual text. Not more than two people should pick the same theme.

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