Paper #3: Deepening your critical engagement with texts

By now we’ve read a variety of fairy tales, and a variety of critical approaches to fairy tales. Now it’s time to put them into conversation with each other. Taking one critical essay we’ve read in class, consider how its central insights might interestingly illuminate two different tales we’ve read. Unlike in our first paper, when part of the task was to test the theory against a tale, this time we are trying to make use of the theoretical lens to gain insight into tales the critic may not have considered. So your task is not so much to discover whether the critic is “right” about the tale, but, rather, to find out what new insights into the tales you uncover by considering them through the lens of the critic.

You may use the same critic and tale from your first paper, and simply expand that paper to consider a second tale as well, bearing in mind that this may require reworking your approach to the critic you considered in the first paper. (I.e., if your argument the first time around was that the evidence of a particular tale invalidated, say, Bettelheim’s analysis, this time you’ll have to consider what insights Bettelheim nonetheless leads you to.)

Your central claim, or thesis, should be in one of the forms outlined in pp. 62-65 of They Say, I Say; here you will find templates for agreement with a difference and “agreeing and disagreeing simultaneously.” We’ll discuss these templates in class; please make sure to review this section as you are working on your paper.

A few more notes: while you are free to use any two tales we have read this semester, it will probably work best if there’s some important point of connection between them, whether that is authorship (both are by Perrault, e.g.); time period (both are roughly contemporary with each other); subject matter (both are enchanted bride[groom] tales); etc. Please do not, however, choose two versions of the same tale (e.g., “Cinderella” or “Little Red Riding Hood”) for this paper, and be very cautious about comparing a modern tale with an older one.

First draft due: March 29, 5 pm

Revised draft due: April 5, 5 pm

Papers should be 5-7 pages long, typed and double-spaced. All papers should have a title but not a title page. Submit your first draft to me and to Katie electronically, using the same naming convention as we used for the first paper: tttp3[yourlastname]d1. Submit your final draft to me electronically, using the same naming convention again (changing the d1 to d2), and also submitting the marked draft that you worked on with Katie.