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English 2121 critical response topics, spring 2019

Note that critical responses must be turned in as hard copy (printed on paper) and have a 200 word minimum (in the body of the response, excluding name, date, header, etc.): responses shorter than 200 words will not pass. Avoid plot summary or straightforward retelling of "what happens" in the work—see nugget 1.

Format your response according to MLA guidelines for margins, spacing, name, date, etc., headers, etc. as outlined on my "simple stuff" page. Note that I will not accept critical responses that have any errors in document formatting: responses submitted with any "simple stuff" errors in formatting will be returned to you ungraded, and you will have to fix the errors and resubmit your work to get credit for it. Works cited pages are unnecessary for critical responses. Even without works cited pages, do still follow the MLA conventions for documenting quotations as explained in Q1-4 on my quotations page.

1.3 Due Tuesday, January 22nd: Quoting from lines 2200-3182 twice or more to illustrate your claims (see Q4), explore similarities and differences between the Beowulf we see in the final third of the poem and the younger man we have seen in the first two days' reading. How is Beowulf "still Beowulf"? How does fifty years of aging seem to have changed "our hero"?

On deck:

1.4 Due Thursday, January 24th: Discuss the portrayal of women in "Lanval," or perhaps of the interactions between women and men. How does Marie de France appear to view women in this "lai"? Explain, including at least three quotations to support your observations. See Q4 for the mechanics of citing poetry.

Previous critical response topics—no longer valid for submission:

1.1 Due Tuesday, January 15th: Discuss three or more specific qualities that establish Beowulf as an heroic person in the first 835 lines of the poem. Go beyond focusing simply on events: concentrate on the personal qualities or attributes of the character that would be considered heroic in modern circumstances as well as in the time of the poem. For each of the three or more qualities you identify, quote specific lines of the text to support your claims, following the the mechanics of citing poetry explained in Q4.

1.2 Due Thursday, January 17th: Open assignment. Respond to the second installment of Beowulf however you like, so long as your response is analytical and avoids plot summary (see nugget 1). Comment on any events or aspects of the poem in pp. 58-87 that strike you as interesting or worthy of note. Quote the poem at least twice in illustration of your claims. For the mechanics of citing poetry, see Q4.