Tompkins Handout

CRTW 201

Dr. Fike


You must have a copy of "Tompkins's "'Indians'" article in order to participate today. If you do not, go to the nearest computer center and print it off. The text is linked to the course calendar.



Announcements: 10 minutes




Why is Tompkins's article a good text for us to begin with? Eight reasons.

1. It is about FBIs (the subject of your first paper). Key word for our analysis: bias.

2. Tompkins uses the elements of CT (Nosich, chapter 2). That makes "'Indians'" a great introduction to Nosich, chapter 2. (Page 730, the par. starting "It may well seem" is full of elements!)

3. Tompkins notes that there is CT in "practically every phase of life" (733). This point sounds like "deep learning."

4. Tompkins illustrates the idea that CT is "recursive" (a major point in WA). She is going back over her own thinking. She is thinking about her thinking.

5. She analyzes before she evaluates. This is one of the prime directives of CRTW.

6. She states, "Reasons must be given, evidence adduced, authorities cited, analogies drawn" (733): this is a pretty accurate description of how to write analytically.

7. There is an SEE-I on page 724.

8. There is a cool connection to WA 39: "'because language is open to interpretation, and history is conveyed through language, history must also be open to interpretation.'"




Tompkins's article is about the impact point of view has on our thinking.

You are already very familiar with the role of point of view from HMXP:

Note that point of view is often expressed as follows: Someone has a _________ (adjective) point of view or the point of view of a _________ (noun).

Note that WA uses "point of view" to mean attitude (tone) toward the subject or the reader and "a form of judgment" (opinion). See pages 38, 45, and 47. We will use the term in Nosich's sense: perspective, vantage point, or "hat."



Preliminary Question

Question for whole-class discussion: How do you learn a foreign language? What does this have to do with our approach to Tompkins's text?




Our Purpose: To slow down the critical reading process by using Tompkins's article as a laboratory for practicing various CR techniques that you can apply in your other classes and add to your toolbox. Here are the techniques:

  1. look at the title

  2. do an outline

  3. use The Method (esp. strands)

  4. find FBIs, consider context: HOMEWORK

  5. use charts

  6. list concepts

  7. draw the article

  8. identify the SEE-I

  9. apply the 8+ elements

It will take us 2+ days to get all the way through this list. Stuff at the bottom of this handout will inform our next class. All of these techniques can be added to your "toolbox."




STEP ONE: Look at the title.

"'Indians': Textualism, Morality, and the Problem of History": What clues to meaning does this title hold?




STEP TWO: Outline the Article

WA 55: "Divide the subject into its defining parts, its main elements or ingredients. Consider how these parts are related, both to each other and to the subject as a whole." In other words, do an outline!

Outline: Talking through an outline of the text (note that recitation is a critical reading strategy).

I. Introduction

A. Context: Imagination vs. fantasy: Tompkins's personal experience

B. Complication: Poststructuralism

C. Problem: See par. 4.

D. [Q @ I]:

II. Secondary Sources

A. M____________

B. V____________

C. J_____________

D. M____________

E. H____________

III. Primary Sources

A. Captivity narratives--Norman Heard, Mary Rowlandson

B. Other contemporary sources--William Wood, Alexander Whitaker

C. Sources that comment on these primary sources--Berkhofer, Kupperman

IV. Epistemology/Theory

A. Poststructuralist literary theory

B. Relativism

V. Conclusion




STEP THREE: Use The Method from WA

Group Work: The Method. 10 minutes. Look for a strand: a pattern of language. Four groups: Each group looks for one of the following: repetitions, strands, binaries, anomalies. Just pick a page and dive in.

WA 53: "Move 3: Look for patterns of repetition and contrast and for anomalies (aka The Method)" (emphasis added here and below).

WA 60: The Method



STEP FOUR: Filters, Bariers, and Impediments (Homework)

Reread the essay: reading is recursive.

Four groups: This exercise will test your critical reading. What FBIs do you find here? Locate and write down specific words. You are looking for repetitions and strands--things that make it difficult for us to tell what happened in the 17th century. (You may want to divide your passage into chunks and assign a chunk to each group member.)

  1. 718-21:

  2. 722-25:

  3. 726-29:

  4. 730-end:

Report your findings at the beginning of our next class session.