Methods of Reading Autumn Essay-Australia

Assessment Checklist:
You should:
1) Choose one of the two topics listed below.
2) In your response you must discuss two of the following poems by Ginsberg:“Howl”; “America”; “Kaddish”; “Sunflower Sutra”; “A Supermarket in California”. Do not base your response on any other poems in Howl, Kaddish and Other Poems.
3) Organize the analysis around a central argument or “thesis” and provide
textual evidence to support its claims.
4) Engage with relevant themes and ideas from the lectures and tutorial
discussions. If you quote from a lecture verbatim or paraphrase substantial
passages from a lecture, then you must cite it.
5) You must engage with the chapter from Bennett and Royle that is specified in the topic. You can, where relevant, draw on other chapters from Bennett and Royle that we have studied this semester.
6) Cite your sources by employing either MLA or Chicago (Humanities)
referencing style.
7) Additional research, beyond the relevant chapter from Bennett and Royle, is optional, not required. However, research can enhance your understanding of the texts and topic. The important thing is that the research that you engage with is relevant to your essay.
8) Employ an appropriate writing style with minimal spelling, grammatical, or other errors.
Methods of Reading Autumn Essay-Australia

Methods of Reading Autumn Essay-Australia

The quotations given before each question below are only there to guide you; you do not need to employ them if they are not relevant to your particular argument. You must use additional textual examples to support your claims.


“It occurs to me that I am America./I am talking to myself again.” (“America”, 23)

“What sphinx of cement and aluminium bashed open their skulls/and ate up their brains and imagination?/Moloch!” (“Howl”, 8)

“I walked on the banks of the tincan banana dock and sat down under the huge shade of a Southern Pacific locomotive to look at the sunset over the box house hills and cry.” (“Sunflower Sutra”, 19)

Analyse Ginsberg’s representations of America in two poems that we have studied this semester. You might want to consider how the speaker portrays America and how Americans relate to their country. In your response you must engage with relevant ideas from the Bennett and Royle chapter on “Ideology”.

“Will we walk all night through solitary streets? The trees/add shade to shade, lights out in the houses, we’ll both be lonely./Will we stroll dreaming of the lost America of love past/blue automobiles in driveways, home to our silent cottage?” (“A Supermarket in California”, 14-5).

“. . . angel headed hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night” (1).

“One time I thought she was trying to make me come lay her—flirting to herself at sink—lay back on huge bed that filled most of the room, dress up round her hips” (“Kaddish”, 50).

Critically examine the theme of desire in two poems by Ginsberg that we have studied this semester. What kinds of desire do the poems explore and how is desire represented?
In your response you must engage with relevant ideas from the Bennett and Royle chapter on “Desire”.

We have given you a topic. It is your responsibility to construct a thesis.

Your Thesis/Argument should be a disputable claim. This means that other people can potentially disagree with it. If no one can disagree with your argument, then it is not a real argument.

Methods of Reading Autumn Essay-Australia

An academic thesis or argument is not quite the same as an “argument” that you might have with a friend. An academic argument does not need to involve an angry, heated exchange between two people. However, an argument in the everyday sense of the term shares with an academic argument the common characteristic of being disputable and debatable.

Bad Thesis: Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice is phallocentric. This assertion is too general and does not supply any justification for the writer’s interpretation.

Better Thesis: Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice is phallocentric because Portia must follow her father’s guidelines for choosing a suitor. This is better because you can imagine some readers disagreeing and it provides a clear justification (“because”) for the writer’s position. It is a bit simplistic, however, because it completely disregards how Portia guides Bassanio toward choosing her, the masculine role she assumes in the trial, etc..

Methods of Reading Autumn Essay-Australia

Good Thesis: Portia may be constrained by the phallocentric rules of her father, but the play itself is not phallocentric because it allows Portia to employ some amount of female agency. This is much more specific than the previous example and more thoughtful. It makes a clear distinction between the phallocentrism of a character (Portia’s father) and that of a play. It implies that a text has agency, that it can reinforce or challenge existing norms. In order to prove this thesis, the writer would need to give specific examples that illustrate Portia’s female agency.

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