WRIT 501 header

Critical or Creative Assignment
Posted Tuesday Dec. 1 by NOON


  1. I want you to experiment with what you have learned this semester.
  2. I want you to think about and choose a medium of presentation that suits your composition.
  3. I want you to finish the possible elements for your portfolio


You've been asking for some "fun," so here you go. For this assignment, you can

  1. Apply a traditional literary critical eye to Watchmen or The 9/11 Commission Report--that is, pick an argumentative literary paper topic and write about it in say 5-8 pages (for instance "Water Symbolism in Watchmen" or "The Narrative Voice in The 9/11 Commission Report"--in other words, play with the ways you can apply a traditional lit crit eye to seeing and reading a graphic novel. (For instance, how would you incorporate a direct quote from a graphic novel? With or without the picture?) Document the research you bring to the paper in MLA style, and produce it as closely as you can to a traditional lit crit document (probably a Word file).I'd like you to focus on one of the two major graphic novels we read for our class if you take this option, not some other text. (The article by Uchmanowicz, though it's in APA style, is a start at how you might include pictures in an academic text.)

  2. Or....choose a short narrative (and by short, I mean "short"--think "Hills Like White Elephants" or "Araby," not Finnegan's Wake or Paradise Lost) and write a treatment for how you would turn it in to a graphic novel. As an example, you can look at Neil Gaiman's script for "Calliope" (or at least the beginning of it...it's long and I only scanned about 40% of it) and his discussion of the various ways a writer might write such a script to give to an artist.

  3. Or, if you have the inclinations and talent, try to draw your own short graphic narrative. (Macs have a program that let you do this fairly easily; I'm not sure there's an equivalent Windows or Linux program, but if you find one, let us know!)

In any of the three cases, be prepared to discuss what rhetorical principles and concepts you used to create your text. You'll need these ideas to include in your metanarrative if you choose to add this assignment to your portfolio, so start taking notes (and blogging about the process) now.


Post a link to your project on our class Ning site
before noon on December 1 so that people have a chance to at least "surf" your text before class time. (Earlier announcements will of course be gratefully welcomed!)