Assignment #3: Secondary Source Analysis

As we saw in Stephen Bandy's article on "A Good Man Is Hard to Find," the work of other scholars opens up new readings, and allows us to participate in the discourse surrounding a text. This assignment is preparation for your final assignment, in which you will find three articles on a text we've read in class and use them to form your own argumentative reading of that text. To do that, you will need to know how to analyze secondary sources.

For this assignment, you will pick one of the two provided articles about Alice Munro's "The Love of a Good Woman," either Mary Conde's "The Ambiguities of History in Alice Munro's 'The Love of a Good Woman'" or John Gerlach's "To Close or Not To Close: Alice Munro's 'The Love of a Good Woman'," and write a 4-5 page non-argumentative analysis. This is not like the previous two papers, as I will not be requiring you to make an argument (though if you find that to be helpful and not limiting you are welcome to use one). What I will be asking you to do is answer a number of questions about the article, using quotations from the article as evidence to back up the analysis you provide. The questions are as follows:

  • First and foremost, what is the writer's argument? What are they trying to demonstrate about the text, and how are they doing it?
  • Second, where is the writer situating her- or himself in the discourse? Who does the writer make reference to, and what does s/he use those references to accomplish? How?
  • Third, what are the writer's implicit and explicit assumptions? What does the writer take for granted? What kinds of terminology does s/he use, and how might this affect the way we understand the article?
  • Fourth, where does this get us? How could this be useful in reading the text in a new way? What are the article's strengths? What might the article be less useful for doing?
  • Write this as a single paper (no subdivisions for the questions or otherwise) that appraises the article along those lines.

    Additionaly your paper will:

  • Make many explicit, cited quotations of the text to support your analysis (with citations!)
  • Make no block quotations.
  • Be 5 pages in length (more than four complete pages and no more than five), double-spaced, size 12 Times New Roman font, with your name and page numbers in the header.
  • Have either "The Ambiguities of History" or "To Close or Not To Close" as its title (as appropriate) and start at the top of the page.
  • Have a filename on the pattern (Surname)-(Given Name)-(Assignment3).(doc/docx), like so: FordBurley-Richard-Assignment3.doc.
  • Be e-mailed to me at no later than 11:59pm on Monday, March 31.
  • Pick ONE of the following two articles:

    Conde: Ambiguities of History

    Gerlach: To Close or Not To Close