This assignment will measure what you have learned not only in this course but also what you have absorbed during your entire educational experience. When you first learned to recite, "A,B,C,D,E,...et cetera, you were preparing for this moment. And now, at last, it is here.
What I expect on this one is perfection, or at least your best run at it. You should be able by now to produce a work of scholarship that is free from grammatical and spelling errors, competent in form and content and interesting to read from a stylistic point of view.
For one thing, this paper should develop a comparison and contrast on the topic of character, meaning that you will take an in-depth look at the two principals drawn here, Napoleon and Snowball.
I want you to carefully observe each character as you read. What are the major strengths and weaknesses of each? Imagine you are meeting these two for the first time. What impressions do you take away? Which is the stronger? Which is wiser? Why? Do not feel limited by these few questions; you should go beyond these and develop your own as you re-read.
In addition to the above, you should examine the novel in terms of its major elements, including the following:
Plot: What happens? You have one, long--possibly very long--paragraph to summarize the basic plot line. By this, I will be testing your ability to summarize and re-tell a story since this requires that you use your intellect to mentally extract the highlights and boil things down to the essentials. Re-write this several times if you must until it is pointed and concise. Think Hemingway.
Character and the discussion thereof will form the core of your paper. You should have at least one paragraph describing the virtues and flaws of Snowball and Napoleon. Then you should compose several paragraphs comparing and contrasting each as to qualities such as intelligence, cunning, morality, work ethic and so forth, including any other areas you can think of when you examine these two "personalities".
Setting: Is setting important here? Why or why not? Could the plot action have taken place somewhere else with similar impact?
Theme: What are some of Orwell's major themes here? What is he trying to tell us in this modern parable of communism and capitalism? How does he view human nature? What is Orwell's vision of history? [Remember: these are not animals, per se; all this really pertains to humanity, as does--after all is said and done--literature.]
Point of View: Why does the author adopt this POV? Could the story be improved by changing the narrative focus? What are the advantages and disadvantages of the POV that Orwell adopted?
Style: We did not look at style up close as we did with the other elements such as the above, so this one is optional, for who want to earn a higher grade by going beyond what's required. One idea here would be to go back and compare Orwell to someone such as Hemingway who is known for his simplicity and directness, or perhaps the difficult and twisty Victorian syntax of a Will Cather. [Orwell has been called one of the best stylists in the English language, so you might want to research a critical article or two that looks at this author from the point of view of style.]
Symbolism: What are some major symbols in the story? [Hint: there are tons.] [You may also wish to comment on the parallels to the various Commies Orwell has based his characters on.]
Again, do not feel constrained by these questions as stated herein. I offer them as guides and suggestions with the fervent hope that the Creative and the Motivated among you will go beyond these and devise (and answer!!) some of your own.
In addition to the above, you must include at least three critical articles on the novel found in the library databases. This means researching, reading and incorporating what the critics have to say about the book. By this I am not just asking you to look into the thoughts of others, but to add their voices to your own. For the most part, literary critics are highly professional, learned thinkers who can show you how to think about and analyze a work of fiction, an art form that unlike a painting, a sculpture or a piece of music, demands a level of involvement far deeper and more complex than we ordinarily are asked to go. [Think about it: movies, tv, and the like require only a passive response as they wash over us; books and literature are for the few, not the many; welcome to my world (see Lesson One/Day One of this course).]
Additionally, you must use MLA style for in-text citations and the works cited. An outline page will also be required, separate from your text, but sent to me in the same submission [in other words, send me one package only with everything in it.]