Pat Barker's Regeneration
Critical Contexts

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In Spring 2003, students in English 310 "Introduction to Literary Studies (For Majors)" began an online resource to accompany Barker's novel Regeneration, so other readers can have information about the novel and its themes. Students chose from a list of about forty entries, and they followed the directions and expectations in the assignment below.

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This assignment will ask you demonstrate a range of skills which connect to the learning outcomes for the course. As for Paper #1 and Paper #2, you'll be looking closely at how a particular element of the text develops the text's themes; you will also be using your research skills to demonstrate your ability to include other people's ideas in your own writing and to use those ideas for the development of your own critical analysis and argument. Essays receiving high marks will become entries for the online resource and posted to the web site for all to read. Therefore, the audience for your paper will be our class but also anyone else who has read Barker's novel.

Your essay should accomplish three goals. It should:

  • Summarize information about the person, place, or cultural reference, using at least three and no more than six published sources, available online or from print periodicals or books.
  • Develop a "close reading" of the passage(s) in which the person, place, or cultural reference appears: What does its appearance mean for our interpretation of that scene, that narrative description, that character's speech?
  • Argue for the significance of this person, place, or cultural reference to the theme(s) of the novel as a whole: How does its appearance help to develop the novel's theme(s)?

Your thesis, then, will make a claim about how the person, place or cultural reference is significant to the development of the novel's theme(s), identifying the theme(s) in the thesis claim as well. The body of your essay will use the researched information, the novel, and your analytical skills to support the thesis claim.

As you write your essay, you will want to pay attention to the development of your analysis and your argument as well as the integration of your research.

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Subsequent entries will be added from future English classes at K-State who complete the assignment. Please visit again!

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Last update: June 2007

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