Thursday, October 29, 2009

Beowulf: Neil Gaiman Screenplay

The National Post has a feast of articles on the CGI movie from a screenplay Neil Gaiman based loosely (very very loosely) on Beowulf.

Copy-Editing Symbols

Follow this link, as well as this other link, for a legend of the standard copy-editing symbols used in the marking of your essays

Some of the more frequently-used are the following.
  • SYN: faulty syntax
  • GR: faulty grammar
  • AWK: awkward wording or awkward expression of idea.
  • SP: faulty spelling
  • PRON: missing or faulty pronoun.
  • AGR: faulty agreement (grammar.)
  • T: incorrect tense (grammar.)
  • M: incorrect mood (grammar.)
  • //: lack of correct parallelism
  • ¶ : faulty paragraph structure
  • CAP: capitalise
  • MM: mixed metaphor
  • NO CAP: don't capitalise
  • WDY: excessive, roundabout or unhelpful wording that obscures the argument.
  • ARG: argument required.
  • DEV: faulty development of the argument
  • D: faulty diction (e.g. use of jargon or informal idiom.)
  • PASS: passive (usually adjectival rather than adverbial) form
  • WC: faulty word choice
  • WW: wrong word
  • RELEV: irrelevant remark.
  • PETITIO: a petitio principii ('begging the question')—assuming as a conclusion that which needs to be established as a premis. Often in essay argument, a statement delivered as a proof which itself is as yet unproven.
  • UNCL: unclear expression of an idea
  • REP: repetitive wording or repetition of a previously-presented idea.
  • REL: faulty relation of idea or no clear relation to surrounding idea.
  • TRUISM: statement of the obvious: unnecessary.
  • P: faulty punctuation.
  • ITAL: italicise this text.
  • DEL: unnecessary text requiring deletion
  • PLEON: pleonasm
  • REPORT: book report--i.e. absence of argument. 
  • CIT: missing citation
  • DANGL: dangling modifier.
  • STR: faulty or absent argument structure.
  • R-O: run-on sentence.
  • FRAG: sentence fragment
  • THESIS: misplaced thesis-level sentence
  • X: false statement.
  • SS: faulty sentence structure

Final Paper

See the course syllabus for deadline information.
  • Three thousand to thirty-five hundred words
  • Open topic. An effective way of deciding upon a topic is to conceive of the possibilities in three categories. 1.] An analysis of one literary aspect of the graphic novel that has captured your attention during lecture and seminar. 2.] An analysis of one or two features of the visual art component, in terms of the ways that it supports or complements some specific literary aspects. 3.] An engagement against, or development away from, any of the firm positions presented in lecture.
  • A minimum of two primary course texts
  • A minimum of one secondary source. Use the Bennett Library: I recommend the catalogue as a useful resource. Search with keyword "comic," "comics," or "graphic novel."
The direction I would give you pace the topic is to discipline yourself away from the Egotistical-Hedonistic approach to graphic novels. I would also say that it will be very difficult to narrow your focus down too finely. By all means run a draft thesis paragraph by me in an Office Hour....

A creative option is available. To use this option, submit a proposal in writing which details your proposed project with clear failure standards.

Evaluative Essay Examples

With permission of the authors, I am posting here two of the Evaluative Essays that fall into the "A" range. The two both support and challenge course lecture, but in reverse proportions, both with admirable subtlety in their minor proportion. These essays can be used as comparative examples.
For the second, Review, part of the assignment, there is full detail in the assignment post. In brief, isolate your particular thesis statement and review your position on it now that you have much more information from lecture and have studied more course texts.

Nazi Propaganda Film

Click here for the link to Der Ewige Jude, the Nazi anti-Semitic propaganda film. The clip from it I that showed in lecture today was the section which Joseph Goebbels designed to draw equivalency between Jews and rats: the feature which Speigelman engages directly through his various representations in Maus.

The image I display in this post is from the website of the Holocaust History Project, and shows the connecting imagery of Jews and flies from Der Ewige Jude, which Spiegelman references in the "Time Flies" section of Maus, as we discussed in lecture today.

As I said in lecture, I loathe this film and cannot watch it without being deeply saddened.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Ken Steacy

The homepage for our Guest Lecturer today, this year's Joe Shuster Award winner for visual artistry in comics, Mr. Ken Steacy is online at this link.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

No 383 Classes Thanksgiving Week

An on-line reminder that with the week's lectures and Monday tutorial falling on the Thanksgiving Holiday, there will correspondingly be no Wednesday or Friday tutorials.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Seminar Contributions

Seminar discussion is going vigorously in all three sections for our course: this is partly by design (material is being presented and set stimulatively); partly by nature (comics evoke keen engagement); and partly by quality of participants (kudos, that is, to you.)

I would like to give a recognition of the vigour and substance of the contributions; allow all three seminars to share in what each of the others is doing; and to give opportunity to perhaps continue the discussions.

Here, then, is a summary from classfellow S.K., Monday tutorial, on a vector of approach to Maus.
While looking at the chapter "Time Flies" in Maus, we discussed the idea of Art's mouse mask representing wearing his Jewishness on the surface. I can relate to this because it is not easy being raised Jewish in a Christian world. For example, everyone gets time off for Christmas and Easter, regardless of religion, but if I wanted to take a Jewish holiday off (like Yom Kippur which falls this coming Monday and is the holiest Jewish holiday) I could but I would have to miss class, so I choose to not take any holidays off because I can't afford to. I always felt like people couldn't relate to me either, like they don't understand what it is to be Jewish. I went to a private Jewish elementary school, but went to public high school and this transition was difficult. Anyways, with time I learned to adjust to my new surroundings. Again, many Jews may wear their faith as a mask in that they were born Jewish but are not religious, like me. I'm Jewish by birth but don't necessarily believe all of it.

The bodies we see following Art seem to be representing the idea that the Holocaust is always lingering in our thoughts. From a young age we are told about what happened and often times forced to "stay" Jewish, like keep Jewish friends, marry a Jew, etc. I married a non-Jew and this was a huge issue for my father at first, but in time he learned to look past that and accept my husband for who he is. I think that because Jews have pretty much always been persecuted in one way or another and the fact there are now so few left is a driving force behind many parents urging their children to remain Jewish and keep tradition alive. For example, mt children will be Jewish because I, their mother, am, whereas if my brother married a non-Jew his children would not be. This is a big issue for my parents and they act very happy that he is dating a Jew so that they need not worry about it continuing through him.

We also touched on the fact that Vladek appears to be perpetuating the stereotype of the miserly Jew. My aunt does this as well. She is bitter and very prejudiced (her daughters don't even have non-Jewish friends) and acts like everything she's been through is the worst ever and anybody's other problems don't matter. It's very frustrating. I wonder if it was hard for Art being the child of Holocaust survivors since nothing he'll ever experience will compare to the hell they've been through and seen. I don't have any direct family that survived the Holocaust, but my uncle was sent to Holland to live with a non-Jewish family while his parents fled to Canada in order to keep him safe. My husband is half German as well and his grandparents apparently were forced to bake for the Nazis and when his grandfather eventually refused, they locked him in a cellar where he almost died. This reminds us that not all Germans were Nazis; it's very important to distinguish between them.

Dachua: Classfellow's Photography

Classfellow A.K. took several pictures at Dachau concentration camp during a visit this past summer. Some samples are online for us at this link--helping visualise the experience, and contrast the modes of representation, in Spiegelman's Maus. The files number are glossed by A.K. as follows
  1. The gate to the camp-embossed with the now-notorious "Work sets you free" slogan
  2. The rows of foundations behind the one building. These are where the barracks used to stand. There are a couple that have been reconstructed.
  3. Map of all of the concentration camps in Europe.
  4. One of the signs in the memorial
  5. Upon entering the camp. To the right is a memorial monument, a black sculpture.
  6. The camp was covered in gravel so the Nazis could hear if anyone was trying to escape.

Seminar Contributions: 'Conan"

From Friday's tutorial, here is a commendably solid literary analysis of one of the "Conan" comics.
(Posted as Word document to preserve formatting.)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

H1N1 Registry for Students

SFU has created an on-line registry in order to have students register their absence in the case of flu.

Students will inform their instructors in the usual way if they are absent due to flu and register on-line through the authenticated web survey.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Seminar Group Project Proposals & Reports

Your Status Report of the Group Project will say (a.) what your proposed project is, (b.) what the schedule of the proposed project is, and (c.) where you are now.

Proposals -- in this case, proposals to yourselves for the Group Project-- can be helpfully constructed as failure standards. Failure standards are a real-world use of the falsification concept from experimental science, where a theory becomes ranked as scientific only when it is capable of being falsified in a replicable experiment.

So, for your assignment proposals, you would list (in either essay or point form) the full set of criteria by which your project can be gauged to have failed. for example "Our project will have failed if:"
  • it does not meet the criteria detailed in assignment post
  • the project does not advance an academic thesis.
  • the project does not have [some measurable degree of] quality
  • the project does not identifiably incorporate relevent scholarship
  • the project fails to relate to some number of the primary course texts
  • the project fails to represent and demonstrate advanced understanding of the central ideas of the course
  • &c, &c.
This effectively prevents creativity from being devalued to open license.

An effective proposal describes (nb. look up the etymology of this word in the OED) three components of a project:
  1. Area
  2. Range
  3. Structure
The Area is the specific subject of your project: e-mail writing, for instance. Range delimits the specific aspect of your subject: courtesy and professional manner in e-mail, say. And Structure outlines the manner in which the project will formed.

One to two pages is a reasonable length for a proposal of this type, four pages at most.