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Assignment 2 Topic Development

In your group exercise, you answered questions that got you thinking about the archetypal characters of stories you are already familiar with.  The point was to inspire you to see them through the lens of critical thinking: to see them as more than just forms of entertainment, but, rather, as lessons, messages, and models of behavior.  
In today's Topic Development activity, you'll organize your ideas into a cogent introductory paragraph that could be developed into a full-length essay.  (However, you will not be asked to draft an full essay for Assignment 2.) 

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I. Free-write

Working on your own, free-write about 5 minutes about a character archetype of interest to you. Think about why it's an archetype, and what sort of lesson or message such a character might represent (even if it's a negative character). 

When finished, select one word or one single idea that generally sums up the type of character you selected. (This word doesn't have to occur in your free-writing.) This is your theme.

Then, list three specific traits (three examples) that illustrate and "prove" your character is aptly summed up by the theme you just chose. If possible, select these traits from your free-writing.

II.A Context

On another page or sheet of paper, write the word "Subject" in the left-hand margin, at the top of the page. Then, write one or two sentences that introduce your general theme. Do not, however, make any specific mention of your actual character. Just write about the theme behind it. 

For instance, if the character chosen were Ariel from The Little Mermaid, you could generally write about the theme of "sacrifice," but there should be no mention of the name of the character or the title of the story. 

Take no more than 5 minutes for this. (In your next working draft of your introduction, you're encouraged to compose more than two sentences for this stage of development.)

II.B Topic

Put a blank line or two between what you just finished writing and this next stage of intro development. Write the word "Topic" in the left-hand margin, then write at least two sentences that introduces the character and the title of its story. Make sure you specifically connect it to the theme or subject you just introduced.

Take no more than 5 minutes for this. (In your next working draft, you're encouraged to compose more 3-5 sentences for this stage of introduction development.)

II.C Thesis

Put a blank line or two between what you just finished writing and this next stage of intro development. Write the word "Thesis" in the left-hand margin, then write at least two sentences that answer this questions: "In what specific ways does this character represent the above-mentioned theme in an "archetypal" way.

Use at least two of your listed traits in Step I (Free-Writing). Also, try to add some personal opinion of your own about what the value of this character is.  Does it teach a lesson? Is it a good or bad lesson? Is it propaganda? Does it encourage progressive thinking? Does it promote tolerance? Critical thinking? Individuality?

You may wish to revisit the theme you wrote about in the "Subject" part of this exercise (II.A Context) and consider your own stance or personal feelings about it. However, at no time should you actually refer to yourself with personal pronouns.

III. Draft and Revise

At home, prepare a typed (printed) draft of your introduction that builds, revises, and improves on what you accomplished today in this exercise.  Bring TWO copies of this printed draft to the next class period: one for your workshops peers; one for your instructor.

DO NOT just bring your handwritten responses to today's exercise.  Your draft MUST be revised, further developed, and typed as an MLA document.  (Review the MLA Document Guidelines here.)

Note:  You may, if you wish, select a different topic than the one you chose for today's exercise.  However, you're strongly encouraged to put the new topic through the same steps of free-writing and outlining for a three-stage introduction before you compose a draft. 

Last Updated: 10/04/2017

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