Blog post for Monday, 2/11 by
5:00 10:00 p.m.: Embracing “difficulty.” Interesting claims take time to develop. They develop not from ideas that immediately jump off the page, but rather from passages that intrigue you; ones that give you a nagging sense that something important is going on, but that you can’t quite grasp it. The work of struggling through a difficult passage to arrive at an understanding makes for nuanced and successful reading, good discussions, and ultimately a strong paper. This prompt asks you to do just that.
Choose one of these short sections for review. Within the section, select one or two sentences that strikes you — perhaps for some reason you can’t quite pin down — as significant. In one paragraph, write about your struggle with that selected passage and what understanding you eventually attained. For example, you might start with, “when I first read this passage” and explain what you thought it meant, or that you were initially baffled. Explain what you did to try to figure it out (look up words? Go back to earlier sections of the book involving that character? Try to connect it to themes from lecture? Talk to a Humester? . . . ). Then in one sentence state the resulting claim:”this passage means x,” “this passage does y,” “this passage matters for p because q,” etc.
1) The narrator’s conversation with Kirillov (pp. 112-116);
2) The narrator’s conversation with Shatov (137-140)