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ISFI Presentation

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Jacqlyn Young

on 13 October 2012

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Transcript of ISFI Presentation

Interacting with Literature Writing Your Way into a Text MyEnglishDegreeIsUseful.com A collaborative blog
with a friend from college;
the basic premise involves randomly selecting
a literary reference and a (potentially
completely unrelated) "real life" problem,
and trying to derive wisdom or
sense from the literary
to help with
real life. Rakes, Hoes, & Tools:
A Literary Field Guide to Dating So often the focus falls on literary paragons,
and yet, the villains are so much more common - in literature, as well as on the dating scene. For every Darcy or Elizabeth, there are at least five Wickhams or
Caroline Bingleys. If literature can be supposed to be instructive, it seems like it would be really useful to compile this knowledge in a handy field guide. A Maine Summer Night's Dream Somewhere between children's literature at bedtime with my daughter and my preference
for early 17th century literature in my
Secret Nerd Life, I decided that more of Shakespeare's comedies should be adapted as children's books. And wouldn't it be funny
if A Midsummer Night's Dream was
re-cast and set in Maine? And then... there was a surfeit of real life. As I worked on these projects, though, it occurred to me that they all share a common trait - in each, the process of writing is a vehicle that allows me to enter into and "own" the original text. Isn't that what we ultimately want for our students, and shouldn't it be possible to fashion more writing prompts that invite our students to co-opt, subvert, or re-purpose characters, settings, plot devices, or literary references? And couldn't the blog idea be adapted, even,
so that the literary references all come from whatever novel or period or genre that we're studying at the time? The real-life references could be re-written, too, to appeal more to the average adolescent's sense of "real life situations."
This would allow students to demonstrate their understandings of characters, themes, or conflicts in a less formal, more creative way than my standard in-class essay. My epiphany: In the process of reflecting on my work, I realized that I've always derived the most enjoyment out of those writing exercises that asked me to imitate the style of a famous work, but with my own twist to the topic, extend a story beyond the last sentence, or delve into an alternate point of view or a plot departure. When I get to choose a topic or develop a project idea, I tend to take inspiration directly from a work of literature, and through my writing, make it my own in some way. Writing has, to some extent, always been the way in which I best interact with and "own" the works that I've read. And now you
can play, too!
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