ENGL582 Written Essay

Weight: 45%

Length: 3000 words

Due date: 2nd June, 2021 at 11.59 pm

Submission format: Word or .pdf

Assignment Instructions

This assignment requires you to write a critical essay aboutprimary prescribed readings from module 2 and 3.

Module 2:New Nature Writing (Giggs, MacFarlane)

Module 2:Poetry (Rukeseyer, Lorde, Spahr, Clover)

Module 3:A Thousand AcresJany Smiley,On Earth We’re Briefly GorgeousOcean Vuong, “The Camille Stories” Donna Haraway.

Your essay must be written in response to ONE of the questions below. You will need to include reference to at least three pieces of secondary criticism (can be “Recommended” in reading list).

Question 1: More-than-Human Life and Non-Life

Both Robert McFarlane’s “Ghost Species” and Rebecca Giggs’ “Whale Fall” are creative non-fiction essays. They both draw on ethnographic research, scientific data and their own particular experiences at field sites to tell new stories about human relations with non-human landscapes, plants and animals. Whereas the poetry explored in Week 9 examines in different ways humans relate to inanimate materials such as rocks, fossil fuels and other inert aspects of Anthropocene landscapes.

With reference to at leastONEessay from Week 6 (“Ghost Species” and “Whale Fall”)ANDat leastONEpoem from Week 9, examine how the texts represent the relationship between human life, non-human life and non-life. You may wish to focus on both the localised relations and bigger social, political and ecological implications of these representations.

Question 2: Kinship and the Environment

A Thousand Acresrepresents a white American family transforming and managing a landscape for agricultural purposes;On Earth We Are Briefly Gorgeousis an epistolary memoir of an individual caught up in global struggles for territory and political dominance seeking to find a community or family. The text is written as a letter to his mother. Finally, “The Camille Stories” represents an alternative future kinship structure and different way of relating to both people and place. These texts weave economic, political and ecological circumstances into interpersonal relationships.With close and careful reference to at least two of the aforementioned texts, examine how the texts link kinship structure with the environment. You may wish to consider the hierarchical, sexual and emotional aspects of interpersonal relations and reflect on which kinship structure, if any, is natural.

Question 3: Everyday Apocalypse

In “Climate Change and the Struggle for Genre” Stephanie LeMenager argues for close reading that is attuned to “environmental degradation, war, and even extinction without the self-indulgent excitement attached to narratives of apocalypse” (225). In other words, she argues for thinking about how these bigger ecological and political struggles are represented on a smaller scale, in novels about everyday life, love and loss.

With careful reference toat least one text from module 2 and at least one from module 3discuss how the environmental crisis is represented as a mundane part of everyday life, and to what extent the text/s endorse or reject apocalyptic excitations.

Question 4: Story as Proposition


Something proposed for discussion or solution; a problem, a riddle; a parable.

– Something suggested or put forward as a scheme, plan, or course of action. See also: proposal.

The action of setting forth or presenting something to view or perception. (OED).

Take 1500 words to write a creative text that proposes new care-relations or kinship structures as a vital part of any response to environmental crisis. This can be in any genre or theme (e.g. sci-fi/spec-fi, poetry, creative non-fiction, utopia/dystopia, mundane, apocalyptic). Then, use the remaining 1500 words either write a critical reflection on what you are proposing or, like Haraway, use the 1500 words for footnotes to elaborate on your creative vision.

In other words, the answer can be split ineithertwo parts (a creative proposition [1500 words] and critical reflection [1500]),orit can be a creative text [1500] with lots of footnotes [1500]. See the footnotes of Haraway’s text in theENGL382/582 Reading Listfor inspiration if you choose the latter. The exegesis or footnotes must be scholarly. The should reference other primary texts from module 2 and contain at least three independent research sources to elaborate the creative vision.

You must use MLA referencingfor referencing texts, quotations, paraphrasing and for citing works used, at the end of the essay.

Relevant primary texts from Week 6:

Macfarlane, R. (2008). Ghost species.Granta: The Magazine of New Writing,Summer(102), 109–128.

Giggs, R. (2015). Whale Fall.Granta: Magazine of New Writing,133.

Relevant primary texts from Week 9:

Clover, J. S., & Juliana. (2014).#MISANTHROPOCENE 24 Theses. Commune Editions.

Lorde, A. (1991). Making Love to Concrete.Callaloo,14.1, 41–42.

Lorde, A. (1972). Coal.Transatlantic Review,41, 47.

Rukeyser, M. Selections from ‘The Book of the Dead [1938]’.Collected Poems of Collected Poems of Muriel Rukeyser(pp. 73–75, 106–111). University of Pittsburgh Press.

Spahr, J. (2015). Tradition. InThat Winter the Wolf Came. Commune Editions.

Relevant primary texts from Week 10-12:
Smiley, J. A Thousand Acres
Vuong, O.On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous
Haraway, D. “The Camille Stories”

Marking criteria

This assessment task requires you to prepare a formal academic essay. The marking criteria for this essay assignment are as follows: relevance of the answer to the essay topic demonstrated ability to engage closely with and to critically analyse the meaning, language and structure of the literary text demonstrated ability to develop and articulate a clear thesis in the essay introduction and to present a sustained, coherent and convincing argument based on that thesis in the body of the essay, with a conclusion paragraph drawing the argument together demonstrated ability to support the argument with textual evidence demonstrated proficiency in locating relevant secondary material (two or more critical articles/books) and using that material critically in presenting an independent analysis of the literary text demonstrated understanding of the relationship of the text to developments in the broader field of environmental literature and related philosophical, ethical and historical issues (as appropriate) compliance with presentation and referencing requirements compliance with the UNE Plagiarism and Academic Misconduct policy

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