narrative of Tang Tri-colored Glazed Pottery
narrative of Tang Tri-colored Glazed Pottery
This ten-page research paper is worth 35% of your final course grade. Papers are to be double-spaced, using 12-point font. Please be sure to properly cite materials,
and to include footnoting and a bibliography where necessary. Students are required to keep a photocopy of essays. Late papers will have 2 marks deducted for each day
Your paper is to examine the relationship between narrative and craft. The goal of this paper is to further, or develop, a methodology for craft through narrative.
There are many different ways in which this can be achieved. Please carefully consider the following options before selecting your topic. If you do not find an
approach that appeals to you listed below, please come to see me about an alternative method.
Non-Fiction Narrative. Write a story about a craft-related experience that was particularly significant for you. Why was this experience important for you? What
details are necessary for you to re-create the experience in an engaging and interesting way? What will be the point of sharing this story? How will this story
contribute to the study of craft?
Historical Narrative. Select a historical craftsperson, craft community or technique and consider how the events/people have been sequenced through narrative. Who
decided upon the narrative recounting that has been accepted as historical fact? How has this particular narrative been used to teach or inform the field of craft? Has
it succeeded in changing attitudes toward the crafts? How would you represent your chosen person/event/technique to further the development of craft discourse?
Object-based Narrative. Using Paul Cobley’s discussion of the narrative sign (or any other theorist of your choosing), explore how narratives refer to specific
objects. Can objects encourage references beyond themselves? What distinguishes craft objects as narrative devices? How can we place these objects in a universal or
specific context? How are such objects employed to write historical “fact” through narrative?
Narrative Analysis. Select a text that is considered to be central to craft discourse and undertake a sustained critical analysis of its use of narrative. How has the
author chosen to sequence the people/characters/objects in time and place? How does this account differ from the approach taken by other authors? What is the central
problem that the author sets up, and how does he/she resolve this problem? Do you agree with the author’s conclusions?
Fictional Narrative. This is the most difficult option, and I would suggest that students selecting this approach have previous experience with creative writing. For
this option, develop a fictional short story that develops an aspect of the crafts. Be sure to utilize the elements of short stories (conflict, complication, climax,
falling action, resolution and characterization) and the elements of narration (sequencing, plot, structure, theme).
Hints on Writing a Narrative Term Paper.
Consider the main elements of narrative:
motives or reasons for change
conflict, confrontation, contextual change
continuity (how events/objects/people are related to make things more comprehensible, and how this continuity follows time, action or idea)
selection (inclusions and exclusions)
connections (coincidence, repetition, juxatoposition)
the beginning and the ending
the setting or context (real or imaginary?)
the formal elements employed (emphasis, repetition, parallels, motifs, metonyms [like a synonym – textile artist for weaver], metaphors)
Carefully choose your pronoun:
First Person. This is the person speaking, “I, we, me, us, my, mine, our, ours.”
Second Person. This is the person being spoken to, “You, your, yours.”
Third Person. This is the person or thing being spoken about, “He, she, it, his, her, hers, its, him, her, it, they, them, their, theirs.”
Be aware that the two most common types of narrators are the first person and the third person. The first person refers to a narrator who is also a character in the
story, whereas the third person is not a character, and therefore you have more scope for your narrative using the third person. The second person is the imperative or
command form and is the least used as it reads awkwardly [for example, “If you are looking for a good source for wool, go to that shop in the Hydrostone market.”
Focus on a single experience, object or craftsperson; you will then have room for the wealth of detail you need to make your essay interesting.
Make a central point about the meaning of this experience. You may discover this point in the process of writing.
Include only events, objects and details relevant to the central point.
Provide enough specific details about who, what, when, where, why and how for a reader to understand how events and actions relate to the central point.
Create interest through vivid writing, varied sentence patterns (length).
Put your thesis at the beginning, the end, or at the point in the narrative where the meaning of events becomes clear to you.
Make the sequence of events clear to readers by using transitional words or phrases to indicate time relationships (“following William Morris’s death”).
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