Paper #1—Applying Critical Insights to a Tale

Paper #1: Applying Critical Insights to a Tale

The critics we have read so far all introduce their discussions of fairy tales as entrances into a debate over the meaning and purpose of fairy tales. Your task in this first assignment is to join in that debate, identifying the controversy as summarized by your chosen critic and then either agreeing or disagreeing with that critic as you analyze a tale s/he did not analyze in the essay you read. See the templates on pp. 24-26 in They Say, I Say for how to introduce your debate, and pp. 33-36 and 39-40 for effective summary. Please note that summary should not outweigh your argument in this paper—if it takes up much more than a paragraph, you’ve probably got too much.

To recap, there are three steps to this paper:

  1. Identify the debate
  2. Summarize the critic(s)’ position
  3. Advance your own argument, using evidence from another fairy tale we’ve read but that the critic did not discuss. Are the critic’s claims still valid when considering the tale you’ve chosen? Why or why not?

Parts 1 & 2, taken together, will constitute the “they say” of your paper. Part 3 will constitute the “I Say.”  The critical essays you may use are Jones & Schacker’s “How to Read a Fairy Tale,” Bettelheim’s “The Struggle for Meaning,” and Karen Rowe’s “Feminism and Fairy Tales.”

Your paper need not follow the format listed above rigidly. That is, you may take up more than one point from the critic you choose, and each point may take up a paragraph or more. In that case, you’d open each body paragraph of the essay with a brief summary of the relevant point, and then move into your claim following that summary. Much will depend on the critic and your approach to the text(s). The main point is for you to join the critical conversation and to analyze a fairy tale using the tools the critic(s) have provided.

Formatting Issues:

  1. Please give your paper a title (not just “Paper #1”) and center that title at the top of the first page. A title helps focus and direct your reader; it should be suggestive of the paper’s argument.
  2. Please number your pages.
  3. Please remember to provide parenthetical citations for all quotations or paraphrases, like this (Hallett & Karasek 54).
  4. When naming your document to email it to Katie and me, please use the following convention: tttp1[yourlastname]d1—which stands for: Twice Told Tales paper #1, your last name, draft one. When you turn in your final draft you’ll change that 1 at the end to a 2. This will help me keep the papers straight as I’m grading them. When you turn the final draft in, please also turn in the marked-up draft that you and Katie worked on.
  5. Your paper should be 3-5 pages long, double-spaced.
  6. The first draft of your paper is due by e-mail to Katie and me by noon on Sunday, Feb. 3  (this is a change). The final draft is still due on Friday, February 8 to me by e-mail, by 5 p.m.
  7. Sign up here for your conference with Katie. (E-mail her if you can’t find a convenient time.)
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