Posted: June 13th, 2015

Step 1: Understand Marxism and Choose a Focus

Step 1: Understand Marxism and Choose a Focus
Experience the drama with a Marxist lens. While all students have a written copy of An Ideal Husband, plays are a live art. Students are still highly encouraged to read the text as according to the syllabus. A live audiobook can be found on Moodle. The audiobook is 2 hours long.

Students should consider the following concepts while watching the film adaptation:
•    Aristocracy
•    Blackmail
•    Capital
•    Class Levels (Upper, Middle, Lower)
•    Commodities
•    Ethics
•    Gender Roles
•    Gossip
•    Marriage
•    Materialism
•    Morality
•    Politics
•    Power
•    Propaganda
•    Reputation
•    Society
Students should choose three or four of these or similar ideas and construct a 10-page research paper about these areas in the Victorian Era. The paper should argue whether or not Wilde’s An Ideal Husband accurately represents the roles of these concepts in 19th Century England. Keep in mind that while all these ideas do not always resemble a role in the “workplace,” Marxist criticism looks at them from a work/production view. These items are meant to supplement the prompts on the original Writing Assignments Worksheet passed out in mid-May.
There will not be a participation quiz in class on Tuesday, June 9. Instead, students will complete an online quiz on Marxist Criticism. Students will read two sections on Marxism and complete the quiz on Moodle. The quiz includes questions on the reading, and it also requires students to submit their thesis statement for this paper.

Step Two: Introduction
Students should compose an introduction that focuses on their theme(s) within Victorian Society. The introduction should have the following items:
1    A hook
2    General background information about the theme(s)
3    A thesis statement that includes an argument, forecast, the author’s name, and the title of the work
a    Example: Ernest Hemingway’s “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place” accurately represents Post World War I culture through the plot’s references to the military, working class, and older generation.
Step Three: Biographical Information
Students should compose a focused biography on Oscar Wilde. Using the three or four ideas from above, students should research the same areas about Wilde. For example, if a student chooses “marriage” as a category, then the student may want to focus on Wilde’s marriage troubles. This information is relevant if the paper will also focus on marriage troubles in An Ideal Husband. While there is not a prescribed length to the biography, students should ensure that each focus is entirely relevant. The entire biography may not be more than twenty percent of the paper unless the student intends to “try to analyze the text in relation to its author’s potential political and social subjectivity and its reflections on the process of creation of the text / analyze the text in relation to its author’s potential political and social subjectivity and its reflections on the process of creation of the text” (Sumbul 163 on Moodle).
Step Four: Create an outline of the paper’s body
Students should create a rough outline of the paper’s body. Refer to the outline section of the worksheet “Writing Assignment #2: Tips and Examples” (from June 2) or Chapter 3 of RWL for more information.
Step Five: Find quotes from the story and the resources.
After students develop the outline, they should find relevant quotes from An Ideal Husband. Students should place these quotes in each section. After finding quotes from the story (do this first please), students should find matching quotes from the research. Since this is a summer term, there are several research papers available on Moodle, but students are still expected to find one source on their own. Again, after finding relevant quotes, students should place these quotes in this section.

Prompt 1:
•    Analyze the characters, setting, and/or dialogue through Marxist Criticism and integrate research about the author (Approach 2), time period (Approach 1), and any other applicable historical connections (Approach 3). Support your claims with evidence from the text.
In order to analyze the items from the story with a Marxist lens, you must incorporate the bullet points from the worksheet on June 4. Otherwise, you would be writing from a formalist approach. Marxist criticism does more. Whereas formalism looks at a poem for sensuality through its inverted syntax (Gardner 50-54), Marxist criticism looks at a text from its characters’ reactions to politics, capital, and other traits.
To complete prompt one, you can choose any four elements from the handout “Writing Assignment 3 Starter Tips” or any similar concepts. Remember, the concepts need to be in line with Marxist thought.
Prompt 2:
•    Analyze the position of women in society in An Ideal Husband according to Marxist theory. Support your claims with evidence from the text. Integrate research about the author (Approach 2) (including his mother), time period (Approach 1), and any other applicable historical contexts (Approach 3).
Prompt 2 is just a more focused version of Prompt 1. Prompt 1 is very liberal; there are endless options. Prompt 2 is quite similar, but it has a focus on women. Like Prompt 1, Prompt 2 still requires three to four items from the list of concepts. For example, how did the production of politics affect women in society? What proof do you have from the play? Was this content meant to be accurate or humorous?

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