Short Assignment 1: Textual Transformation
Today weve looked at how texts can change drastically when they are moved from one context or medium to another. We have discussed that these changes also alter the genre conventions and the rhetoric of these texts. Through our work with Glenn Ligons text-based artwork, Walt Whitmans poetry in the Levis commercial, and the William Blake mosaics, we have identified how texts are situated and how genre conventions often change the meanings of texts. Well also read in Stanley Fishs How to Tell a Poem When You See One about how texts are defined in part by their interpretive communities. Now that we have practiced together how to identify and analyze genre, this is your opportunity to identify a recontextualized text and compose a short paper about it.
Find a text that has been transformed by its being moved from one context to another. This can be a piece of art (or graffiti) that incorporates a famous quote, a reading of a poem, a setting of text to music, or a meaningful appearance of a quote in a movie or TV show. Once you have identified the text you will investigate, write a short essay (2-3 pages) in which you analyze the genres the text appears in and compare/contrast the ways genre can affect meaning for these two versions of the same text.
You do not need to spend much of your essay explaining what the text means; were interested in how the text means. Your essay should describe the rhetorical choices determined by the texts original and new interpretive communities. The audience of this assignment are your peers, who are members of an academic community and share an interest in texts and rhetoric.
Try not to spend too much time looking for the text youll analyze. Finding videos on YouTube or images through Google search are fine. Once youve found the text you will analyze, ask yourself these questions to begin the process of writing your essay.
What is the texts intended audience? What is the new audience now that the text has been recontextualized?
What are the conventions of the original genre? What are those of the new genre?
Who are the discourse communities/interpretive communities for each of these versions?
What is the relationship between the texts genre and the texts audience?
What is gained or lost by changing the texts context?