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How is nature in conflict or sympathy with man and his objects, how does it reflect (or fail to reflect) human life and the human condition, how does it deal with issues of sustainability, change, loss, and memory?

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Humanities Through the Arts

INSTRUCTIONS:

HUM1010/101H: Humanities through the Arts (Simon)

Paper One



Due Date: October 27, 2015, by 11:59pm

Please upload your paper to the Canvas website by the time you arrive in class on the due date. Note that late submissions will be penalized by one-third of a grade (B+ to B, e.g.) for each day the paper is past due. 



Assignment

Your first HUM1010/101H paper should offer an original interpretation of one of the artworks we have studied thus far this semester. You are invited to use the paper topics provided as a jumping off point for your own reflections on the artwork, and you are also more than welcome to ignore them altogether and follow your own instincts. Regardless, your goal is to develop your ideas about the piece into one clear argument (your thesis). This argument should be original and debatable. The aim of your paper will be to make the case for your argument, by 



1) stating your thesis clearly; 

2) organizing your thoughts into a logical structure, with each claim building up to the next;

3) providing evidence of each claim;

4) explicating that evidence—that is, analyzing the formal properties of the artwork that most clearly illuminate your claim.



You should choose only ONE work of art to discuss, unless you have already spoken with me about an alternate plan. Begin by considering which piece has made the most profound impression upon you this past month—whether puzzling or perplexing or fascinating you—and then use the topics here to brainstorm analytical approaches to the piece. In other words, devise a list of questions that speak to your confusion or fascination with the piece—choosing one nagging question in particular to focus on—and look to the formal properties of the piece to help you address this concern. Your goal will be to articulate clearly and directly the answer to this problem, developing and sustaining a coherent, unified line of argument in four to six pages (Honors students will produce six to eight pages).

I invite you to visit me in office hours over the next few weeks to discuss the thesis and organization of your paper; talking through your ideas often provides clarity and a sense of direction, and I am more than happy to be your sounding board and to offer guidance where I can.





Technical Requirements

1) A cover page with paper title, your name, my name, course number, and date;

2) Page numbers;

3) Works Cited page with full and correct bibliographic information in MLA format;

4) A solid PROOFREADING—on paper, not the computer screen!









Rhetorical Suggestions

1) That you state your thesis in the opening of your essay, telling your reader with painstaking clarity (!) what you will argue in the following pages.



2) That your thesis is not merely an observation, but that it is a claim about an artwork that has to be argued in order to be regarded as a valid and convincing idea. 



3) That your thesis is sufficiently narrow as not to attempt to outline what should be the contents of a novella in the space of five or six pages.



4) That every sentence of your paper speaks to this narrowly focused idea.



5) That the sentences of each paragraph are organized into a coherent idea that builds as the line of reasoning progresses.



5) That the structure of your paragraphs works to move forward in a logical way this line of thought. 



6) That you conclude your paper neither by discussing abstractly the ramifications of your idea to our modern situation, nor by merely reiterating in detail each point you have just made in your essay; rather, your conclusion should briefly remind your reader of the larger points of your argument, and should perhaps make some suggestion about how criticism could proceed from the endpoint of your own thoughts on the subject. 



7) That you do not need to consult outside sources for this paper—so don’t. The only sources you should consult in the construction of your paper are the artwork itself and the ideas formulated in your own mind. If you use information that you’ve gleaned from class discussion, and you are not sure if the inclusion counts as plagiarism, cite the information—safety first. Writing something like “As noted in class discussion” or “As mentioned by a fellow student in class”—or footnoting the information—will secure your integrity. There should not be many occasions when this would be necessary.



8) That you pay close attention to mistakes you generally make in your formal writing, and revise your paper looking specifically for those errors. Some common ones include the following:

a) Noun/verb agreement errors (check gender and number)

b) Expletive constructions (They are, It is)

c) Vague pronoun references

d) Verb tense shifts and lack of the literary present tense 

e) Misused or absent apostrophes

f) Improper use of the semicolon (should only separate two independent clauses)

g) Quotation incorporation errors 

h) Topic sentences that do not advance your argument

i) FLUFFY language



Topics

Disclaimer: I have not provided these topics as questions merely to be answered. Rather, each topic functions as a starting point, offering a broad scope from which many narrower concentrations might be derived. 



1) Discuss the role of nature in one of the works we have studied this semester, considering how natural imagery is used in the piece, especially as it relates to the world of mankind. How is nature in conflict or sympathy with man and his objects, how does it reflect (or fail to reflect) human life and the human condition, how does it deal with issues of sustainability, change, loss, and memory? Though there sometimes appears to be an absolute opposition between things natural and things manmade, you may find (I hope you will find) that the relationship is much more involved, revealing the complications of defining human contributions to the composition of matter.



2) Consider how memory functions in one of these pieces—how it defines the structure of the artwork, how it informs the themes and issues explored by the artist (themes perhaps related to the past or to impending change), and where it surfaces in the imagery of the piece (through ideas of nostalgia, forgetfulness, e.g.). Your discussion of memory will hinge on a discussion of time. Think about the piece within the context of social history—how were people imagining time when the piece was produced (as a linear construct, or a seasonal one, or an infinite phenomenon)? How does memory play a part in constructing that version of time—is its goal to write history, to maintain tradition, to link past to present, to make the broader story personal?



3) The question of interiority has been vitally important to aesthetic debates for centuries, as artists attempt to capture something in their work of the life within. Think about how physical manifestations of interiority (like the insides of buildings, or the closed off spaces of painting and sculpture, or the private mediations of a lyrical poet) might represent psychic interiority, telling us something about feeling, the imagination, the conscience. Consider how privacy is defined—how the human individual carves out a space for him/herself in the world at large—and what sort of boundaries that carving out entails (Are they fluid or fixed? How easily are they crossed? What threatens them?). You might think further about the work of art itself—does it possess a private life that we, its viewers, have no access to? 



4) On a related note, think about how one work of art reflects tensions between the individual and the community. Take into consideration the political climate in which the piece was produced, and read its formal properties according to corresponding ideas of uniformity, democracy, dominance, tyranny, subjectivity. You might think about how state institutions (the church, the government, the ruling party) are depicted, specifically in opposition to the individuals who populate the citizenry. Does the individual have rights, autonomy, self-awareness, self-interest? How are individuals connected to the state and to each other? How is the very idea of relation understood, and how is it conceptualized aesthetically in the artwork?



5) Spiritualism is a running concern in almost all of the artwork we have studied this semester. Questions related to the essence of spirit abound: How do we understand and define the human spirit? Is the human spirit connected to a larger, divine phenomenon (that is, is it the same or different from a divine spirit)? How are spirit and matter related—both in the human form and in aesthetic (art) forms? By what system of governance does the spirit abide (Can it be controlled? Does it participate in morality? What is morality?)? And are the shape and the trajectory of the spirit predetermined, or does it exert freewill? You might also think about how philosophers and artists register conflict between logic and intuition. How are these two terms defined, and what is their role in determining how humans communicate with one another and express themselves through art?



6) A related topic involves the thematic connections between life and death. Take one work of art and examine how it reflects social and personal understandings of life. What does it mean to be alive, to be living? Do these words signify something material alone, or spiritual alone, or both, or neither? And, conversely, how is death imagined? What does it mean? How is it achieved, and what are the consequences? Returning to our earlier discussion of time, think about how the life cycle is understood—does it take a closed or open shape? You might also consider aesthetic depictions of closed and open forms, of color and light, of frames and borders and boundaries.







CONTENT:

Art Name: Course Number: Date: Nature plays an important role especially to mankind. Moreover, the operations of man are as a result of nature which comprises of the environment. Moreover, man is able to develop artistic objects by the use of the environment. In this case, man is able to create objects that depicts picture of certain images which can be used in form of art to pass certain messages to other people in the society. Nature at times may be against the expectation of human beings and therefore as a result it might keep changing and as a result human beings might benefit from the changes or at the same time experience losses that give rise to the conflict between human and nature. Furthermore, nature is beyond human control and therefore man can only accept the nature’s way. In this regard, human beings might be favored with nature whereas on the other hand find it rough with it. However, manmade things are also linked from natural things in a way

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