Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Blogging In-Class Writing: Comparing and Contrasting Violence in the American South

from Southern Horrors

In class, we just looked at the incredible passage "Burned at the Stake." In it, Wells recounts the kerosene lit crucifixion of Henry Smith. We discussed how the lynching exceeded our definitions of hate and even terrorism, in part because the "curiosity seekers" carried away souvenirs of the "memorable event" (95). The pleasure white southerners seemed to take in the violence was labeled sadistic by a few of you; sadism refers to the pleasure one can feel from inflicting pain on others. Another said that the event was a project for making the white southerners feel "better" or superior than African-Americans. In this way, the lynching was a machine (not a technological machine, but a social, collective, participatory machine) for creating who could be human and who could not.


Several of you have already asked me about incorporating context into this paragraph. What I would say is this: practice comparison and contrast in this paragraph, not context. IF and WHEN this becomes part of your second essay, you will probably have already introduced When I Was a Slave and Southern Horrors. You probably won't have to do it again here, unless you're introducing the specific context (a little bit about Mary Reynolds, a little bit about the passage from A Red Record).


For this paragraph, I'd consider practicing "short quotation." Short quotation is the quotation of a word or phrase rather than entire sentence. Then you can pick up one or a few words you really want to concentrate on, define, and analyze. This might be a good time to produce or refer to a keyword.


Since the violent events in these passages are so crucial to our analysis, it is probably going to be worthwhile for you to describe and summarize them in a few sentences for your reader.


I already see you making different kinds of lists: what the violence has in common, what the violence doesn't have in common. Or: what motivations persisted through time, and what changed.

Citation and Reference

When you refer to an event from the text Southern Horrors edited by Royster, you can refer to the specific pamphlet, such as A Red Record  and Lynch Law in all its Phases in your sentences. But in your citations, you need to refer to the overall text edited by Royster, such as "(Royster 94)."

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