Contextualizing the Past: A Journey through Literature
1. Introduction and Objective of the Project
Context is the key to understanding a story’s deeper meaning. Without context, a reader might as well be reading a foreign language. Literary works are not only about the words on the page, but they are also about the worlds in which those words are written. In this project, we will embark on a journey through literature, aiming to understand how the context of a story’s creation can shape its meaning.
The objective of this project is to deepen your understanding of the role of context in literature and to enhance your critical thinking and analytical skills. By the end of this project, you should be able to identify and analyze the contextual elements in a literary work and explain how these elements influence the story.
The context of a literary work includes various elements such as the author’s background, the time and place of the story’s creation, the social, cultural, and historical events surrounding the author and the story, and the intended audience. All these elements can significantly impact the themes, characters, and plot of a story.
For instance, a novel written during a time of war may have themes of grief, loss, and the futility of violence. Or a novel written by a woman in a patriarchal society may feature strong female characters and themes of gender inequality. Understanding these contextual elements can give us a deeper appreciation for the story and its messages.
3. Necessary Materials
- Access to a library or online resources for research
- Notebooks and pens for note-taking
- A computer with internet access for collaborative work and final report writing
4. Detailed Step-by-Step for Carrying Out the Activity
Formation of Groups and Preliminary Research (1 hour): Form groups of 3-5 students and choose a literary work. This could be a book, a short story, a poem, or a play. Conduct preliminary research on the author and the work to get a sense of the context in which it was written.
In-depth Research (2-3 hours): Dig deeper into the context of your chosen literary work. Research the author's biography, their literary influences, and the time and place in which the work was written. Look for social, cultural, and historical events and movements that may have influenced the author and the story.
Contextual Analysis (1-2 hours): Analyze how these contextual elements manifest in the story. How do they shape the themes, characters, and plot? Discuss your findings within the group.
Creation of a Presentation (1 hour): Create a presentation to share your findings with the class. The presentation should include a brief summary of the literary work, an overview of the context, and an analysis of how the context influenced the story.
Presentation and Discussion (1-2 hours): Each group will present their findings to the class. After each presentation, there will be a short Q&A and discussion session.
Compilation of a Final Report (1-2 hours): Based on your research, analysis, and the feedback from the class discussion, compile a final written report. The report should cover the following sections: (a) Introduction, (b) Development, (c) Conclusion, and (d) Used Bibliography.
- Introduction: Introduce the chosen literary work, its author, and the objective of the project. Contextualize the relevance of understanding the context of a literary work.
- Development: Detail the theory behind the project theme of "Reader in Context", explain the methodology used, and present and discuss the results of your research and analysis.
- Conclusion: Revisit the main points of your research and analysis, state what you have learned, and draw conclusions about the influence of context on a literary work.
- Bibliography: List all the sources you used for your research in the appropriate format.
Submission of the Final Report (As per teacher's instructions): Submit the final report as per the teacher's instructions.
5. Project Deliverables
The deliverables of this project are:
- A group presentation on the context of your chosen literary work.
- A final report detailing your research, analysis, and conclusions about the role of context in your chosen literary work.
Through this project, you will not only deepen your understanding of a literary work but also enhance your research, analysis, presentation, and report writing skills. This project is designed to foster collaboration, critical thinking, and creative problem-solving. Happy journeying through literature!