UCLA Week 4 Deconstructing View with A Grain of Sand Discussion
Assignment: Forum Discussion
Resource: Wislawa Szymborska’s “View with a Grain of Sand” and Texts and Contexts Chapter 5 on Structuralism and Deconstruction
Assignment Length: 1 initial post (200 words minimum) + 1 reply post to a peer (200 words minimum)
Due dates: There are 2 due dates for this assignment:
1st post: Week 4, Tuesday, July 7 by 11:55 pm
2nd post: Week 4, Friday, July 10 by 11:55 pm
Points: 20 (Coursework category)
Please note that you will not be able to see other student posts until you submit your own first post.
Exchange ideas with your classmates as you shape and narrow your own thinking in preparation for the essay you’ll submit at the end of the unit. Do this by clicking the “Reply” button below after you’ve read the prompt questions at the end of this assignment description.
These discussion forums are a vital part of the course. It’s here that you really get to talk about and wrestle with the readings, and the work you do here will feed directly into your essay work as it will also indicate to me the level of your engagement in the course and your comprehension of the readings. Please keep in mind that the purpose of these forums is to give you an informal space to talk about the work. It is not meant to be a place to engage in close critique of your peers’ writing – that’s my job. Focus your discussion on questions related to the strength or weakness of the assigned works we’re all reading together for the unit, not each other’s writing.
You may use edited portions of your own posts in your essay at the end of the unit if you wish. I encourage you to think of these discussion forums as draft spaces in which you can rehearse early versions of ideas and arguments for your eventual essay work.
Remember that I don’t take part in these discussions directly, though you may assume I am an ever present silent participant nonetheless, reading, monitoring and evaluating every post to see that it meets the criteria outlined above and below. You will only see me step in occasionally to redirect a conversation if I see it moving outside the boundaries of the forum; otherwise, you’re encouraged to talk directly with each other and without my intervention just as you would be in a facilitated classroom discussion in a face-to-face class setting.
- You need to submit a minimum of 2 posts to get credit. Partial credit for partial work isn’t given in these forums. In order to get any points for the forum discussion, you must submit an original post AND a reply post.
- Late, under minimum length, insufficiently proofread, poorly developed or off topic posts will trigger 0 points for the entire forum as, again, partial credit for partial work isn’t given in these forums.
- You must be sure to use the text to support you in every post. Individual posts that do not directly page cite textual references at least once cannot receive credit – Each post you make must parenthetically cite paraphrased or quoted passages from the text for support at least once.
For a comprehensive description of how I want you to approach these discussion forums and how I will be evaluating them, please make sure you’ve read this explanation:
Discussion Forum Guidelines (from the Resource Center)
Discussion Forum Grading Criteria (from the Resource Center)
Here are two additional Canvas guides to help you successfully complete this discussion activity:
Using Szymborska’s poem “View with a Grain of Sand” as your starting place, try out some of the theoretical principles you’ve learned in your study of Deconstruction. How might we go about deconstructing this poem? What needs to occur in our opening analysis of a poem before we begin questioning the integrity of the piece as a whole, as well as specific bits of contradictory language within it?
And then, by exactly what means do we actually begin the work of Deconstruction itself? What kinds of things do we look for in the poem in an effort to “read the poem against itself”? What kinds of questions do we begin asking of the text in our close interrogation of it?
You will need to have studied all of the resources and links in the module before attempting a miniature deconstruction of the poem, particularly those materials that teach you how to read a poem and then how to deconstruct a poem.
You’ll be doing two things in this forum, the same two things you’ll be doing in your essay at the end of the unit: first, you’ll try a brief, straight textual analysis of the poem, using the Poem Vocabulary sheet in the module to help you describe and explain the poem; then, you’ll do a focused deconstruction of the meaning of (at least part of) the poem, using the Deconstruction glossary terms at the end of Chapter 5 in Texts and Contexts to help you do that deconstructive work.
For this forum discussion though, you should spend most of your time practicing the deconstructive part of the analysis, but don’t worry about deconstructing the entire poem – that’s not what I’m asking you to do here. Just choose one element (a particular stanza, phrase, metaphor, motif, etc.) that you think you can effectively “undue” using the tools Deconstruction has given us to do that.
Look again as well at the sample student Deconstruction essay in the module on the Samples Page, paying particular attention to the last two sections of the essay in which the same poem is first analyzed, described and explained and then, after that’s done, deconstructed by essentially arguing against most everything that was said in the initial analysis of that very same poem. That kind of double examination process is what I’m looking for here (and in your essay for the unit as well).
In your response work, reference specific passages (through correctly page-cited direct quotes or paraphrases) to help you address these questions and illustrate your responses, and always be specific and thorough in your reasoning and argument.