Response Assignment # 7

* Note: for those of you who have already missed two or more blog response assignments, be aware that these online responses are worth 30% of your final grade and can very quickly pull down your entire average in this class. If, at any point, you miss more than three, you will need to meet with me.

Reading Due (to be discussed in class):

  • Selections from Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World (online):

Chapter 2 / Chapter 5 / Chapter 7 / Chapter 9 / Chapter 11

Chapter 10 is optional (very short – but would help flow from 9 to 11)brave_new_world.jpg

Discuss some of the similarities and dissimilarities between Frankenstein and Brave New World. DO NOT simply compare each and summarize the two – ANALYZE and DISCUSS the two in relationship to each other (talk about WHY you think the two texts might be similar or different and what the texts might be trying to do, suggest, or imply). Use examples and/or quotes from the text to illustrate your points!

Some topics/ideas you might think and write about are:

1) the creation of a “being” versus the conditioning of a being – what’s the difference, in terms of the impact each has on the “being” itself and/or the society in which such a being is being created or “conditioned”?

2) What were the goals of each creator/controller (Dr. Frankenstein’s goals versus Mustapha Mond (the World Controller in Brave New World) in their attempts to create another being versus condition other beings? Make sure you reference the text.

3) How did these concepts (of creation and conditioning) forsee any of what is happening in digital media technology today? MAKE SURE YOU REFERENCE BOTH TEXTS.

4) Compare what each text implies or suggests about human “feelings” and independent thinking. Do you think it is important to either feel or think independently in either of these two texts? Why or why not?

5) In Frankenstein, everyone is miserable; in Brave New World, supposedly, “everybody’s happy.” What does “happy” mean in Brave New World? Is it really an emotion? And how does that experience of happiness in Brave New World compare to the misery both Dr. Frankenstein and the monster feel?

6) In Frankenstein, the “monster” is feared and hated because he’s not at all human-like. Conversely, in Brave New World, it is “John the Savage” (and all from whence he came) that are feared and hated because they are TOO human. What do you make of this radical narrative difference? And which, in your opinion, more closely resembles our current societal fears and perceptions (and why, do you think?)?

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Response Assignment #6

For next week, read the following:snowcrash.jpg

  • Stephenson, Neal. (1976/1992) Snow Crash. New York: Bantam Books.

Chapters 1-5 (p. 1-44)

Blog about whatever most takes your attention. We’ll finish watching Metropolis in class next week. Also, if you have suggestions for films to watch that you think speak to many of the issues we’ve thus far discussed (or is in any major way relevant to this course), I’m open for suggestions.

Paper #1 Topics

Hey folks — next week’s assignment is below this post. But you can post your first paper topics here. Please feel free to ask questions of your studentlionstudent.jpg colleagues, offer advice, and engage in conversations about your topic. I’ll be responding to student’s proposed topics on this blog — because most of the feedback I typically give is relevant to most students. For more information about the essay itself, click here.

Remember, the best way to begin any paper is by asking a question (such as those I often ask within the blogs). What is it that you want to know more about? Or what particular theme or idea do you want to further explore? Be sure, too, that you will be able to draw relevant connections between the literature you have read and are discussing and contemporary cyberculture/s.

Also — be prepared to talk about your proposed paper topic in class next week. We will be discussing your proposals as a class.

Response Assignment #5

For next week, please read the following (handouts given in class):

  • Fox, Gardener. (1965) The Hunter Out of Time. New York, NY: Ace Books, Inc.

Chapters I-II (p. 5-35).

Chapters VII-VIII (p. 97-119).

This time, instead of listing questions, I’m going to ask you to either write about whatever most takes your attention (as it relates in style, content, or concept) about the culture/s of cyberspace, compare this reading to another previous reading, or engage in a conversation with someone who has already posted.

Response Assignment #4

Hi folks — since the reading I had originally designated for next week isneuromancer.jpg available in handout only, I’m jumping ahead in the syllabus a bit.

For next week, please read the following:

  • Gibson, William. (1984) Neuromancer. New York: The Berkley Publishing Group.
  • Part Two * The Shopping Expedition, Section 3.

    This time, instead of listing questions, I’m going to ask you to either write about whatever most takes your attention (as it relates in style, content, or concept) about the culture/s of cyberspace OR compare this reading to another previous reading.

    Response Assignment #3

    For the next class, please read:

    • Wells, H.G. (1940) “The Time Machine,” Chapters I-IV, p.201-236 intime-machine.jpg The Time Machine & The Wheels of Chance. London: J.M. Dent & Sons Ltd. (Handout)
    • Borges, Jorge. (1941) The Garden of the Forking Paths.

    Consider the following questions, as you read through each, and be sure to address BOTH readings.

    1. Discuss Well’s description of time travel and the fourth dimension. What parallels does he draw to contemporary cyberspace and/or cyberspace culture? Be sure to include examples.
    2. What is the significance of the reference in “The Garden of the Forkinggardenforkingpaths.jpg Paths” to Ts’ui Pen’s labyrinth?
    3. In what ways does Borges problematize the seeming authority and truth of a history book? How is this significant to contemporary cultural cyberspace perspectives?
    4. In the “Garden of the Forking Paths,” what non-linear narrative dynamics are at play? Explain and give examples.
    5. Why does Wells chose to give most of his characters jobs to identify them instead of names? What is the effect of not naming the characters?
    6. What did Ts’ui Pên mean when he wrote, in his letter, “I leave to the various futures (not to all) my garden of forking paths”? Why is his “garden” absent from some “futures”? Which ones? What role do such letters play in the story, literally and symbolically? Are these letters in any way related to Yu Tsun’s statement, “the future already exists … but I am your friend. Could I see the letter again”?
    7. How does the time traveler describe the sensations of time travel? And what, if any, fears arise that parallel contemporary concerns? What sort of world does the time traveler enter, and how does it compare to today?

    And, as always, feel free to write about anything else that takes your attention in each (that you believe is relevant to this course); just be sure to make those connections explicit and provide textual examples.

    Response Assignment #2

    For next class, read the following:orlando.jpg

    • Woolf, Virginia. Chapter 1 of Orlando (the link might take you to the table of contents, rather than the actual chapter; if so, be sure to click on Chapter one)
    • Joyce, James. Chapter 2 of Ulysses (ditto above)

    Consider any of the following questions as you approach and begin to think about these readings:

    1. How does the style of each (the way each is written) reflect or inform some of the ideas, concepts, and themes we have thus far discussed in class? In other words, in what ways do both Joyce and Woolf explore contemporary themes through the use of sentence structure, plot narrative (or lack thereof), the construction of the writing, and/or use of language? In what ways do both authors challenge the boundaries of language and narrative construct? And what does any of that got to do with cyberspace culture of today?
    2. What themes arise within the content that begin to portend (or predict) many of the contemporary cyberspace themes of today, which we have discussed in class? In what ways doulysses.jpg both authors address issues of gender, time, space, and/or identity, for instance? And how do these themes reflect or in some way begin to inform much of our cyberspace culture today?
    3. In what ways are each of the texts highly “coded”? How would identifying these kinds of literary codes help us to begin understanding literature within contemporary culture?

    In this instance, I will ask that you only focus on one of the readings (for the blog response) — whichever is your choice. However, be prepared to discuss BOTH in class. Remember to provide textual examples when appropriate.