ABOUT THE BOOK
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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Xavier University is launching the Common Reading Experience 2010 with the book Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. All incoming Freshmen will receive a copy of the book at PREP. During the summer, students will read the book and respond in writing via “The Road to Xavier” web page. During the Manresa orientation in August, students will have an opportunity to discuss their reactions to the book with Xavier faculty, who will have read the writing assignments submitted electronically.
For this assignment, Xavier students should submit an essay of two pages, double-spaced (about 500 words) using ONE of the three following writing prompts:
Rationale: Writing prompts should encourage critical thinking and invite the students to make connections to their own lives. Such prompts may help to discourage students from responding with canned answers or from relying too heavily on the plethora of online information available on this novel. Also, discussion moderators might find it easier to engage the group with such prompts rather than those that focus exclusively on literary terminology and approaches. Prompt 1 addresses your connection with this novel, prompt 2 gives you an opportunity to discuss cultural stereotypes, and prompt 3 addresses the use of images in this novel. For additional tips on leading a discussion see Advice for Discussion Leaders by Drs. Graley Herren and Stephen Yandell.
- As portrayed in Persepolis, Marjane's life in many ways is very different from yours, but there may be more connections than are at first apparent. Explore this possibility by comparing and/or contrasting one of your own experiences with one or two of hers as you know them through the book. Make sure your comparison and/or contrast adds up to more than just an observation of similarity or difference. What is the significance of these connections and why should it matter that your experiences in some way may resemble hers?
- In her introduction to Persepolis, Satrapi offers a brief history of Iran before stating the following: “Since then, this old and great civilization has been discussed mostly in connection with fundamentalism, fanaticism, and terrorism. As an Iranian who has lived more than half of my life in Iran, I know that this image is far from the truth. This is why writing Persepolis was so important to me. I believe that an entire nation should not be judged by the wrongdoings of a few extremists.” In what ways does Satrapi counter these often stereotypical views of her country? In your response, reference those parts of the book that best illustrate her desire to show that Iranians are like people everywhere, leading normal lives and having similar hopes and dreams.
- A unique feature of Satrapi’s Persepolis is its ability to convey story, to evoke emotion, and to construct reality through images. What is gained by the telling of this memoir through images? What might be lost, or at least less effective, if told through words alone? In your response, mention some of the images from the book that you find to be particularly powerful or interesting, and explain how they add to the book’s impact.
Faculty members may choose to grade and return to the students the essays submitted to them prior to the Manresa discussion sessions. The following are guidelines the faculty may use when grading.
- Clarity of argument
- Quality of organization
- Depth, originality and development of ideas
- Support from the text
- Style and mechanics
Grades may be assigned as follows:
A DEMONSTRATES UNUSUAL COMPETENCE: The purpose is clear; ideas are original, substantively developed, and supported with details and illustrations. The paper is well organized and shows effective use of graphic design techniques. The paper displays careful use of language: complete, clear and engaging sentences; correct and distinctive diction. There are few errors in usage, punctuation, and spelling.
B DEMONSTRATES COMPETENCE: The purpose is clear and ideas are adequately developed and supported with details and illustrations. The paper is organized and attractive to look at. The sentences are clear and complete. The diction is correct and appropriate. There are few errors in standard English usage, punctuation, and spelling.
C SUGGESTS COMPETENCE: There is a sense of organization. The paper has a central idea. The central idea is apparent if not always clear; the ideas need more development, along with more details and illustrations for support. While the sentences are complete and clear, their structure or rhythm may seem repetitious. The diction is appropriate though limited. There may be recurring errors of standard English usage, punctuation, and spelling.
D-F FAILS TO MEET CRITERIA FOR ASSIGNMENT: The paper lacks an apparent central idea, and ideas that are present need more development and support. It is unattractive to look at and poorly organized. There are incomplete sentences. The diction is inexact. There are many recurring errors of usage, punctuation, and spelling. The paper is sloppy, skimpy, and disorganized. All or part of the paper is plagiarized. For more information about plagiarism, see the online tutorial in XU.Tutor.
The deadline for submission of the writing assignment is August 2, 2010.