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english 563 | drugs, sex, and rock & roll
professor william nericcio
spring 2010 sdsu
Imagination Challenge Essay Extravaganza Number ONE
This is your first formal writing assignment
for our English 563 class--don't stress too
much over it! Stress kills provocative
and compelling writing.
DON'T try to guess what I like and spoon-feed
it to me; that's the worst thing you can do.
Read the prompts. Adapt them so that they
fuse with your brilliant imagination and write
about things you love.
That's the only way to become a great writer--
love what you study so much that your prose
carries the influenza of your passion into the
eyes and soul of your reader.
So, here we go.
Your first Imagination Challenge Essay
Extravaganza! Papers, 4-7 pages, due Friday,
February 26, 2009 at 12noon in the box or into my hands
at professor's office, Arts and Letters 273.
You will know you are in the right place if you see
hundreds of things stuck to the door of my office.
NO LATE PAPERS WILL BE ACCEPTED; EARLY
PAPERS ARE ADORED AND WORSHIPED (if they
are damn good!).
Any student who wishes to receive a mark of "A+" or
"A" will incorporate research drawn from at least
two (2) scholarly journals (use Love Library's online
links to peruse what's shaking on Project Muse or
JSTOR); additionally, they will type their work,
double-spaced, and NOT use a cartoony, silly font.
They will carefully proofread their essay and they
will ensure that they are not merely regurgitating
inanities that have spilled out the mouth of their
professor. An essay is an independent project born
of curiosity and filled with ideas that are carefully
substantiated by the writer--sort of like a lawyer
building a killer case.
Here are your prompts:
1. Narcotics are the Finest Lovers Department
Compare or contrast the tactics of Thomas de Quincey, Greil Marcus, and Darren Aronofsky when it comes to the depiction of narcotic addiction. Is it possible that such divergent intellects also reveal great similarities when juxtaposed in a critical exercise?
2. Sex is My Drug Department
While Thomas de Quincey, Greil Marcus, and Darren Aronofsky spend a fair amount of time documenting the consequences of narcotic use and abuse, they do not turn a blind eye when it comes to sexuality. Write about the role of sex in the work of at least two of these writers.
3. Freud is in the House
Go to the library and find and read ONE of Freud's famous case histories--some suggestions: the Wolf-Man, Little Hans, Dora, or others. Having filled your head with Freud's irregular, erratic, delicious methodology, do a Freudian analysis of key passages from any of the works we have read/screened thus far this term.
4. Film Theory: Aronofsky and His Ilk
Contrast the representation of addiction found in Requiem for a Dream with that of any other film of your choosing; some suggestions: The Days of Wine and Roses, Trainspotting, or Leaving Las Vegas.
5. Addicts Sans Stereotypes
Write a brief meditation that evaluates the representation of drug use in the work Thomas de Quincey and Nelson Algren. Do they undermine or reinforce stereotypical views of addiction.
6. The Erotics of Pleasure
Find and read essays/chapters on pleasure and pain from the writings of Michel Foucault (Discipline and Punish; The History of Sexuality; Power/Knowledge); instead of focusing on drugs as pathological, consider pursuing an essay, a Foucauldian exercise, wherein you explore the complicated dynamics of substance use with an emphasis on pleasure.
7. You are the Professor!
Design your own thesis based on your readings/screenings the first few weeks of our class--you must submit your proposal for this paper topic to me in class, printed, by Tuesday, Februraryy 23, 2010 for greenlighting/editing.