Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The assignment, more or less

I will be issuing a formal assignment soon, but here is some guidance for early readers.

This is what I wrote at the beginning of the assignment sheet for our last paper:

Daughter of Persia is the story of a woman who grew up in an aristocratic Iranian family with progressive ideals but also traditional expectations of their daughters, who nevertheless grew up to be something of a mover and shaker in her own right. Your assignment is to find something interesting in the thoughts or experience of this woman, write about what have learned from her book, and convincingly put your own analysis or point of view across to your reader.

In that book, you had the advantage of having reasonably close contact with one version of the author's thoughts, since this was an autobiography. Before Taliban is different. We are not so much interested in David Edwards' thoughts as we are in understanding the three Afghan men that he has written about, and whose experience he has reconstructed. My suggestion is that you will focus on one of the three, without forgetting about the other two entirely. Otherwise I can't think of anything better to say than what I did above -- find something interesting about experience of one of the three Afghans and write a convincing analysis or commentary of that material. More later.

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