Model Papers
Writing a Good Analytic Paper
Grading Standards

Peer Feedback and Evaluation Rubric for Analytic Papers
Peer Feedback and Evaluation Rubric for Creative Writing Projects
Evaluating Webpages for Use in Research


For your last paper you can chose to write a 4-5 page analytical paper on a topic of your choice OR meaningfully engage in the Child_lit Listserv.

OPTION 1: Analytic Paper
If you choose the first option, please refer to at least two specific critical articles (discussed or other) as you build your argument. Make sure that you have a clear focus and strong thesis (see guidelines for Writing a Good Analytic Paper).

OPTION 2: Posting on child_lit Listserv
If you choose the second option, begin by signing up to receive e-mails through the child-lit Listserv. (Go to the options page at Login, then enable mail delivery.  I recommend also checking the box for “Digest Mode” to receive e-mail bundled instead of having individual e-mails flood your inbox.) “Lurk” for a few days before entering an existing thread or starting a new one. Then compose your first post, run it by one of your classmates and, after incorporating feedback, send it to the list.  Carefully follow the thread and respond to comments.  By the deadline (December 4) send me electronically the subject of the thread you have created or participated in as well as a 2 page reflection on your experience with the Listserv.  Why did you choose a particular discussion?  What does it mean to you?  What did you learn from the experience?

Please carefully follow the general guidelines for Lisserv postings. In assessing your postings, I will look for these qualities:

Good postings . . .

Offer a new perspective and relate it to the thoughts of others.  If you enter an existing discussion, be sure that you know what has already been said and build on the conversation.  If you post on a new subject, make sure that you check the archives of the last few months to see whether a similar issue has been discussed. Outstanding posts show a high awareness of audience, synthesize good points already made while they contribute a new, original perspective. 

Provide enough contextual information but do so economically.  Be sure others understand that you have thought through the various elements of the question or issue and "done your own homework.” Good posts provide the audience with substantial, clear background information.

Have a clear point and stimulate discussion. Superb posts develop a thoughtful, in depth argument for a well articulated, specific.  The posts provide vivid detail and invite discussion. 

Be pleasant and polite.  You all know the difference between posts that are confrontational and personal and those that voice a differing view in a thoughtful and kind fashion.  Best posts are of the latter kind.

Make sure that your writing is at its best.  Excellent posts have flawless grammar and are elegantly written.




First Paper Assignment -- Fairy Tales

The following are suggested topics; you are free to design your own! If you choose this option, please send me a draft of the question you would like to tackle by Tuesday, September 25.

  1. "Folk literature [including the fairy tale] speaks to universal experiences of what it means to be human," writes Diane Mitchell in her textbook "Children's Literature: An Invitation to the World" (2003, pg. 225). This widespread view on the educational potential of fairy tales is inspired by Bruno Bettelheim's theory about the importance of fairy tales for children. Read the excerpts from Bettelheim's "The Uses of Enchantment" in Maria Tatar's edition "The Classic Fairy Tale" and carefully analyze his position. How does it relate to Zohar Shavit's historical research and the feminist criticism of Susan Gubar and Sandra Gilbert? Evaluating each of these different critical perspectives, what is your understanding of the place of fairy tales in the education of American children today?

    Guidelines for Writing a Good Analytic Paper

  2. In her reader, Maria Tatar compiles a number of "classic fairy tales" and their adaptations. Choose a fairy tale and three or four variations of it and carefully analyze the underlying social values present in each text. Please provide concrete examples from the texts as you address one or two specific questions such as these:

    • What assumptions are made about children and human society?
    • What do the different texts see as sources of power (for example, wisdom, knowledge, wealth)?
    • How are heroes and heroines portrayed? What do these portrayals tell us about gender roles and/or social class systems in the context of a paricular text?
    • What is the place of animals and nature?
    • What is the function of magic in fairy tales? What do you make of the various miraculous and not so miraculous resolutions?

    Please refer to at least two specific critical articles (discussed or other) as you build your argument. Make sure that you have a clear focus and strong thesis!

    Guidelines for Writing a Good Analytic Paper

  3. Enter the dark forest of the "Classic Fairy Tale" and let your creative juices flow. What were the images that you found most puzzling, enjoyable, disturbing, unforgettable, etc.? Why did they move you? What does your reaction tell you about the ideological, historical and cultural difference that separates you from the texts or film adaptations that captured your attention?

    For this option choose a creative writing genre (such as a poem, a mini-drama or a fairy tale) that suits your purpose and your implied audience best. Think back to the various "appropriations" we have read and identify the authors' particular approaches. How can they guide you as you sit down to write your own "creative commentary" on a particular fairy tale? Would you like to channel your energies into writing a revisionist fairy tale such as Dahl or Avery? Were you more inspired by critical commentary such as Anne Sexton's or Martin Moony's? Or were you taken by writings that use the archetypal power of the fairy tale to evoke certain emotions in a different context? (See list below for my attempt to classify the adaptations we read in class.) What ever approach you are drawn to, please provide me with a copy of any particular fairy tale that inspired your creative project.

    You may want to include a short introduction explaining your thinking behind your project and the choices you made. How did you go about picking a genre, a fairy tale, and your approach?

    Peer Feedback and Evaluation Rubric

  4. Revisionist or "updated" fairy tales
    Examples: Tex Avery, Red Hot Riding Hood (animated version shown at screening)
                     Roald Dahl, Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf (a.o.)
    Also: Politically Correct Bedtime Stories; Three True Story of the Three Little Pigs: By A. Wolf

    Social Commentary

    Examples: Anne Sexton, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
                    Martin Moony, Dwarfs (see handout distributed in class)

    Creative fiction that draws on the archetypal power of fairy tale imagery

    Examples: Jeanne Marie Beaumont, Where is the Wolf (see handout)
                    Gregory Orr, Two lines from the Brothers Grimm (see handout)