English 110 Introduction to Literature
L. A. Coleman
Oral Presentation Notes and Guidelines
Every student is responsible for at least one formal oral presentation, comprising 10% of your final grade.
One major goal of this assignment is that each student’s contribution enhances everyone’s experience and understanding of the literature.
You may choose one of following options or approaches to this assignment.
- Present a creative project suggested by the reading assigned for the day you present.
- Present a discussion of a critical essay about the reading assigned for the day you present.
- Present a discussion prompted by exploration of an allusion from or topic suggested by the reading assigned for the day you present.
- You must sign up for a presentation date (I will distribute a schedule/sign-up sheet in class).
- Your presentation should be about the reading(s) scheduled for that day.
- No more than three presentations may be scheduled on any one class-meeting day.
- Group presentations are permitted.
- Your presentation should be about ten (10) but no more than twenty (20) minutes in length.
- You must present on the date to which you commit or accept a zero for the assignment. Simply missing class because you are unprepared does not constitute an excuse. Very rarely I will allow a student to reschedule a presentation, but this is at my discretion and only if there is an open time slot in the schedule. You must request this consideration, ideally in advance of the scheduled date.
CRITICAL ARTICLE PRESENTATION OPTION
One goal of an introductory literature class like ours is to not only read and discuss literature, but also literary criticism and analysis by other scholars.
- For this presentation you will read, review, and provide an analysis of a critical article about the reading. I am happy to suggest appropriate scholarly essays, but you are encouraged to browse the literature. The MCC library provides excellent database resources.
- An acceptable critical essay should come from a scholarly, peer reviewed journal and provide more than a summary and cursory discussion. You do not want to rely on Google for this assignment. I am happy to provide suggestions and or guidance in selecting appropriate essays.
- Your presentation should accomplish at least the following:
- Tell us the title, author, and specific publication information (i.e., journal, book chapter, etc.). Simply stating that you found the essay “online” is not acceptable.
- Tell us the topic and thesis of the article you read.
- Summarize the author’s main point or points and supporting arguments.
- Provide your opinion as to the merits of the article, including how it contributed to your own understanding and appreciation of the reading. Was it useful, helpful, difficult, complex, and or relatively straightforward? Explain.
- Would you recommend the article to your peers? Why or why not?
CREATIVE PROJECT PRESENTATION OPTION
The possibilities are about as unlimited as your imagination.
Here are just a few examples, some of past presentations:
- Paintings or drawings of characters or settings as the artist imagines them based on descriptions and clues from the text
- Costume design, including drawings, samples of fabrics and findings. One student produced this project to good advantage, designing a costume for a specific character.
- Needlework. One example is a quilt a student made in response to Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use” in which the student used different colors and textures in each square to represent different characters.
- An original song or poem. Write a song or poem about a reading and or character. At least one student composed and performed an original song in response to his interpretation of a specific reading.
- Create a board game, a comic strip, a skit, a talk show . . .
ALLUSION/CONTEXTUAL PRESENTATION OPTION
Often a reading will prompt further interest in a specific topic. What questions are raised in your own mind as you read? Organize an oral presentation based on your own interests or curiosity. For example, what were the expectations for women when writers like Kate Chopin or Charlotte Perkins Gilman were writing? Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour” was first published in 1894. Might you explore the historical/social/political context in which the writer and her characters lived? More specifically, what were some of the expectations for a woman of Mrs. Mallard’s race and class in the period? Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” was published in 1931, set in the South 65 years after the Civil War? What is revealed to us about life in the period that might be interesting to research? Consider a story like Melville’s “Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street.” Might an exploration of the history of Wall St. or Wall Street in the 19th century be interesting to you? Does Hemingway’s “Soldier’s Home” prompt an interest in World War I or some of the battles alluded to in the story or a discussion of the treatment of veterans in the period?
Remember that a main goal of this assignment is to enhance, enrich, and supplement all of our understanding of the literature and the world from which it springs.
If you have an alternative idea for this assignment, please see me to discuss its possibilities.
Again, I am happy to brainstorm with you, discuss possibilities, serve as sounding board, etc.