literature writing 02 2

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Choose from: (1. The Importance of Being Earnest satirizes, 2. Aphra Behn and The Rover)

The Unheard Voice project is an exercise in learning the importance of point of view in the meaning of a given play. It is also a good way to see how, when you tweak any one of the major elements of literature, you have an affect on every other element. For this project, you are going to bring a shadowy figure out of the background of one of our plays and make him or her the foreground figure by giving him or her a larger role or stronger voice.

Choose any minor character in any of the plays we have read so far. The only rule is that they do have to appear somewhere in the original piece. You can’t make up a brand new person for the play. You will write a scene in which they play an enhanced role (if you want to re-write an existing scene) or in which they play a whole new scene/role. Plan on writing about 2 pages worth of dialogue, although it’s more important to write a good scene than to count words. Then plan on writing at least a one-page (250-word) essay in which you talk about what you think the effects of changes that you made in your version are. Remember that these page/word-limits are minimums. Your grade depends upon the quality of your work.

How to Begin:

Your finished project should look just like a play script, with characters with a page or more following it in essay form. But before diving into that level, do some planning:

  • Decide on a character. This week you have some time to start thinking creatively about this project. Think of a character in a scene in the plays we have read so far whom you admired or were curious about or whom you thought didn’t get enough “air time.”

    List one or two topics you would like your character to talk about and list the character/s that you would like to “stage” them with.

  • Write a sketchy outline. Jot a few phrases down in the voice of your character, using your chosen topics as a basis.
  • Now, write a scene with dialogue between your “unheard” character and another character.
  • Alternatively, you can write a “monologue” or “soliloquy.” Remember we established the first day of class that a monologue might occur with another character on the stage; a soliloquy is just between the speaker and the audience.
  • If you want to get really creative, you can create a dialogue between two characters across plays. But they must be “minor” characters—leave Oedipus and Willy in supporting roles only.

For the essay part of your project, read over what you’ve created and think about what could change with other characters, with the plot, or with the overall meaning of the play if things happened differently–if, in other words, the “unheard voice” that you’ve let speak, was heard.

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