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CMP102 - Composition 2 - Folk: Recommended library sources for each approach

Recommended Sources

Below are some recommended sources based on the six approaches focusing on the topics and research questions associated with each approach. 

In addition to searching the literature databases, consider using some of the book sources below.

Formalist Approach

Text is analyzed by its literary elements: plot, character, irony, metaphor, etc.

Topic: Analyze the white symbolism in Sarah Orne Jewett's "White Heron" and Robert Frost's poem "Design."

Research Questions: How is the color white used as a symbol in "White Heron" and "Design" and what does it represent in each piece? How does these symbols contribute to the overall theme of the piece?

Mythological Approach

Text is analyzed in terms of universal themes, myths, or archetypes.

Topic: Compare and contrast Anne Sexton's poem "Cinderella" with the iconic Disney Fairy Tale. discuss tone, themes, symbols, and/or plot points that are similar and different.

Research Question: How is Sexton's Cinderella different from Disney's Cinderella? How is it the same?

Historical Approach

Text is analyzed as a document reflecting the social conditions of its time.

Topic 1: Bruce Weigl's poetry on war and the ramifications of war, i.e. how one processes killing, grieves the dead, PTSD, the camaraderie/brotherhood between soldiers. Analyze two poems.

Research Question Topic 1: What Bruce Weigl poems depict the grief/killing/PTSD/brotherhood of war and how (i.e. what are the literary elements used to express these themes)? Chose one theme, two poems. See Wiegl's Song of Napalm for poems of The Poetry Foundation.

Topic 2: Sylvia Plath once said, "I think that personal experience shouldn't be a kind of shut box and mirror-looking narcissistic experience. I believe it should be generally relevant to such things as Hiroshima and Dachau, and so on." Charles Newman, a Plath biographer, explained that, "in absorbing, personalizing the socio-political catastrophes of the century, [Plath] reminds us that they are ultimately metaphors fo the terrifying human mind." Explore this idea in the poem "Daddy" and one other poem.

Research Question Topic 2: How does history, specifically the socio-political catastrophes of hte 20th centry influence Plath's work?

Gender Approach

Text is analyzed in terms of the masculine and/or feminine themes.

Topic: Examine the feminist element in Adrienne Rich's poetry (2 poems which may or may not include "Rape" and "Aunt Jennifer's Tigers").

Research Question: Who was Adrienne Rich and how did feminism influence her work?

Biographical Approach

Text is analyzed with respect to the author's life and philosophy.

Topic: Discuss how Emily Dickinson's self-imposed isolation affected her poetry. Choose two poems to analyze.

Research Questions: How does Emily Dickinson's isolated live contribute to her poetry? What poem(s) show(s) her loneliness and alienation? how cant this isolated life be "full" and "rich"? Wat part of the "outside world" does Dickinson include in her poetry?

Psychological Approach

Text is analyzed by unconscious human impulses, desires, and feelings that influence behavior and psychological states.

Topic: Define manic depression and identify it in two Sylvia Plath poems.

Research Questions: Clinically speaking, what is manic depression and where does it show up in Path's poetry?