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Your projects represent a considerable amount of time and effort, and collaborative efforts. To what extent were they beneficial to your own growth? Is the effort commensurate with the benefits-or should time be better spent in other ways? What might those other ways be? Is writing a long paper (10-20 pages) for one potential reader a relic of the 20th century?

In the beginning we wondered: “Students and professors may and likely do have differing opinions on the content and form of a course on literature.  What are your expectations? What are you hoping to learn?” Re-read your original posts and those of your classmates, then briefly describe what you have LEARNED this semester. I am also eager to hear what you believe can  or ought a class in literature TEACH.

Project Summary

One member of each group should describe in 100 words or less the project, provide a link or access to the project, identify all contributors and if possible indicate the major contributions of each to the final project.

Levin’s visit to Anna has a striking effect on him, on Anna and on Kitty. You may choose to reflect on her power to impress people. Or you might examine her portrait. Finally, Tolstoi uses as he had in War in Peace his last pages to tell the reader what he feels he has not adequately conveyed in his novel. Is his message, much like Dostoevsky’s, too important to be left to fiction?

Tolstoi gets into everyone’s mind, even Laska’s-the dog. Yet each sees the world and events in a different light. Tolstoi sees the irony, hypocrisy, and superficiality of conventions-societal, religious, legal. He also employs a technique called “defamiliarization” in which a common occurrence is presented from a unigue perspective so that we the readers can experience the old and familiar in a refreshingly new way.  What have you learned from the assignment?

Tolstoi builds his novel on contrasts and comparisons, Anna and Kitty, Vronsky and Levin, Petersburg and Moscow and many more. By bringing his main characters into contact with one another he highlights them for us the reader. Choose one of the comparisons-contrasts and comment on who emerges in a more favorable light.

“But here begins a new account,… It might make  the subject of a new story.” Write a 250 word proposal for this sequel suggesting a title and outlining the future of Raskolnikov. Be sure to make his final dream a central part of the action or serve as a central theme of your own creation.

Crime and Slime

The novel which begins with a simple murder turns into a melting pot of sub-plots: Sonya and redemption, Dunya and female courage, Svidrigailov and suicide, Porfiry and criminal investigation, Luzhin and exploitation, and even poor Raskolnikov and his search for meaning. So pick a plot and share your thoughts.

Where does one begin? Is the novel a search for motive? What drives Raskolnikov? Is it simple arithmetic-kill the old lady and use the money for good? What is Sonya’s response to economic despair? How close is this to a perfect crime? Does Raskolnikov care too much for others to be a real man of decisive action? What is the meaning of dreams in real life and in literature?   Answer any of mine or raise your own and answer it.

When you have read Part I and the first part of Frank’s article, then familiarize yourselves with Existentialism (Wikipedia believe it or not is good place to start). So armed re-read the footnote in Frank drawing on Hirsch’s definition of “meaning” and “significance.” Since Frank attempts to provide the meaning of the text, let your own response be to its significance for you. The Underground man desires a debate-give it to him. You can accept or refute his assertions on “two times two,” “The Crystal Palace,” “the toothache,” “the anthill,” “free will,” or whatever other topic might strike your fancy.  (300 words is plenty-we do want to discuss the text.!

One other possibility is to remember Karamzin’s “Poor Liza.” As an alternative to the despicable actions and words of the Underground man, Dostoevsky provides us with a prostitute whose actions speak louder than words. What is the answer to the Underground Man’s ranting and ravings? Is it important or even essential that the response resides in a woman?

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