Project #2: Curating Beloved

In Beloved, there are moments or occurrences that characters believe—and readers understand—have ramifications throughout the story. When we talk about these moments, we might say that the story would not have happened, or not in the way it did, had this event not occurred. For Part 1 of Project# 2, choose one of these moments or scenes from Beloved and argue for its centrality. That is, create a thesis statement that justifies why this moment or occurrence is key for the novel, and support that thesis statement throughout your essay with quotations from the novel that you use as evidence in your argument. In your essay, you are arguing for the significance of the moment not only in how it contributes to the plot, but also characterization, theme, tone, and as it gets told with different character-focalizers, narration style.

To organize Part 1:

  • take time for focused freewriting and note-taking before you start writing this essay;
  • begin the essay with an introduction that identifies your topic and narrows to your thesis statement, which should be specific and should suggest an organization for the essay (but remember that this might not be the first paragraph you write);
  • provide a thorough application of the five-step method for incorporating quotations for the central moment you’re writing about (we’ll discuss this in detail);
  • draw a connection to three to five other passages that relate back to your chosen moment and use the five-step method for that as well.

Your essay will:

  • interest your colleagues in ENG 2001 and others interested in Beloved
  • be 1000-1500 words (4-5 pages);
  • use MLA formatting for the page layout, in-text citations, and a works cited page (especially since we have different printings of the novel)
  • be carefully proofread, achieving accuracy with spelling, punctuation, character names, locations, quotation formatting, word usage, sentence structure, and overall clarity.


Then … Part 2: Beloved OpenLab Gallery!

With a novel as creative as Beloved, let’s let it inspire us. For the creative portion of this assignment, now that you have become an expert on the moment or scene you wrote about in your essay, re-imagine all or part of it in another medium. That is, ask yourself what it would be if it were freed from the novel and given a life as a painting, a song, a photograph, a video, an graphic representation of the text—there are many possibilities—and then create that! This is your chance to shine, or to learn a new tool or skill!

Along with your creative rendition of the scene, you will write a curatorial comment, approximately 200-300 words, to give visitors to our Beloved OpenLab Gallery an explanation of your work, details about its production or medium, and any other important pieces of background information to better understand the work on display. You do not need a lengthy summary of the novel, although you might need to include a sentence or two orienting a viewer to the novel and to the specific moment.

We will gather a list of suggested media for this project, but keep in mind that it can be as high-tech or as low-tech as you like—though you do need to post it on our OpenLab site.


Schedule of upcoming due dates and events:

4/19: choose your scene and draft a thesis statement

4/26: draft of Part 1 due online

4/28: drafts of Part 2 due online

5/4: final version of Project #2 due; presentations due online (instructions to follow)

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Principles of Narrative