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Presentation Assignment Example

Below is another example of a presentation and group project. It requires groups to read a text not assigned in class and then give a presentation on it using specified criteria. Following the assignment, you will find a list of potential texts for students to choose from as well as a sample grade sheet:

Spring 2009

Collaborative Paper & Presentation

Fifteen percent of your semester grade will be determined by a collaborative paper (1,200-1,800 words) that you write with two or three of your classmates (10%), and a 15-20 minute presentation that you perform in front of the class to demonstrate what you learned while writing the paper together (5%). The paper should address a twentieth-century writer, novel, or story collection that we weren’t able to read together as a class, but whose work would readily fit into our discussions. What lasting contributions have this writer and his or her writing made to the world? Why, in a future twentieth-century fiction class, should this writer’s work be included as required reading?

A list of potential writers and books is available in the Writing Studio FILE FOLDERS, but if your group would prefer to study a different writer or book, please contact me. Your group should arrange to meet somewhere during the next class period to discuss its interests and options. Please email me by Friday with your group’s chosen author so that I can help you begin to think about research possibilities.

Each paper must include the following basic features:

Each presentation must include:

Each member of the group will receive the same grade on both research paper and presentation (unless someone fails to participate in the presentation, which = 0%), so the group must ensure that everyone does a fair share of the required work.

Twentieth-Century Fiction
E238.11, TR 4:00-5:15
Some Notable Twentieth-Century Authors


Some Prominent Works

Abish, Walter

Alphabetical Africa; Minds Meet; In the Future Perfect

Aiken, Conrad

Blue Voyage

Alison, Dorothy

Bastard out of Carolina

Anderson, Sherwood

Winesburg, Ohio; Dark Laughter

Apple, Max

Zip; Free Agents

Auster, Paul

City of Glass; In the Country of Last Things; Moon Palace

Baldwin, James

Go Tell It on the Mountain; Giovanni’s Room; Another Country

Banks, Russell

Success Stories; Affliction; The Darling

Barnes, Djuna


Barth, John

The Floating Opera; The Sot-Weed Factor; Giles Goat-Boy; Chimera

Bellow, Saul

Henderson the Rain King; Herzog; Humboldt’s Gift; A Thief; Ravelstein

Bowen, Elizabeth

The Death of the Heart

Bowles, Paul

The Sheltering Sky; Let It Come Down; Three Tales; Too Far from Home

Boyle, T. C.

Greasy Lake; The Tortilla Curtain; Drop City; Talk Talk; Tooth and Claw

Buck, Pearl S.

The Good Earth

Bukowski, Charles

Tales of Ordinary Madness; Ham on Rye;

Bulgakov, Mikhail

The Master and Margarita

Burroughs, William S.

The Naked Lunch; The Ticket that Exploded; Nova Express; Cities of the Red Night

Capote, Truman

Other Voices, Other Rooms; In Cold Blood

Carr, Caleb

The Alienist

Cather, Willa

O Pioneers!; My Anotnia; Death Comes for the Archbishop

Chabon, Michael

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay

Chandler, Raymond

The Big Sleep; The Long Goodbye

Cheever, John

The Short Stories of John Cheever

Conrad, Joseph

Heart of Darkness; Lord Jim; The Secret Agent; The Secret Sharer

Coover, Robert

Pricksongs & Descants; The Public Burning; A Night at the Movies

Cortazar, Julio

Hopscotch; Blowup and Other Stories

DeLillo, Don

White Noise; Libra; The Body Artist; Falling Man

Dixon, Stephen

Fall & Rise; Garbage; Love and Will; Gould; 30: Pieces of a Novel

Doctorow, E. L.

The Book of Daniel; Ragtime; World’s Fair; The Waterworks; City of God

Dos Passos, John

Manhattan Transfer; The 42nd Parallel; Mid-Century

Dreiser, Theodore

Sister Carrie; Jennie Gerhardt; An American Tragedy

Elkin, Stanley

Boswell; A Bad Man; The Living End; George Mills; The Magic Kingdom

Ellison, Ralph

Invisible Man

Erdrich, Louise

Love Medicine; The Beet Queen; Tracks

Ford, Richard

The Sports Writer; Rock Springs

Forster, E. M.

A Passage to India

Gardner, John

Grendel; The Sunlight Dialogues; Mickelsson’s Ghosts

Gilchrist, Ellen

In the Land of Dreamy Dreams; Vistory Over Japan

Gordimer, Nadine

July’s People

Gordon, Mary

Men and Angels; Temporary Shelter; Spending; Pearl

Greene, Graham

The Heart of the Matter; The Power and the Glory

Gurganus, Allan

Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All; Plays Well With Others

Hammett, Dashiell

The Maltese Falcon; The Thin Man

Heinlein, Robert H.

Stranger in a Strange Land

Heller, Joseph

Cath-22; Something Happened

Irving, John

The World According to Garp; A Prayer for Meany Owen

Ishiguro, Kazuo

Remains of the Day

James, Henry

The Wings of the Dove; The Ambassadors; The Golden Bowl

Jong, Erica

Fear of Flying; How to Save Your Own Life; Inventing Memory

Joyce, James

Dubliners; A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Kennedy, William


Kesey, Ken

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest; Sometimes a Great Notion

Kingston, Maxine Hong

The Woman Warrior

Lawrence, D. H.

Sons and Lovers; The Rainbow; Women in Love

LeGuin, Ursula

A Wizard of Earthsea; The Left Hand of Darkness

Lessing, Doris

The Golden Notebook

Lewis, Sinclair

Main Street; Babbitt

Llosa, Mario Vargas

The Time of the Hero; The Green House; The War of the End of the World; Death in the Andes

London, Jack

The Call of the Wild; Martin Eden

Lowry, Malcolm

Under the Volcano

Lurie, Alison

Imaginary Friends; Foreign Affairs

McCarthy, Mary

A Charmed Life; The Group; Cannibals and Missionaries

Mailer, Norman

The Naked and the Dead; The Deer Park; An American Dream; The Armies of the Night

Malamud, Bernard

The Natural; The Magic Barrel; The Fixer

Momaday, N. Scott

House Made of Dawn; The Way to Rainy Mountain

Moore, Lorrie


Munro, Alice

Lives of Girls and Women; Open Secrets; The Love of a Good Woman

Naipaul, V. S.

A House for Mr. Miswas, A Bend in the River

O’Connor, Flannery

Wise Blood; A Good Man Is Hard to Find; Everything that Rises Must Converge

Olsen, Tillie

Tell Me a Riddle

Ozick, Cynthia

The Cannibal Galaxy; Shawl

Paley, Grace

The Little Disturbances of Man; Later the Same Day

Percy, Walker

The Moviegoer; Love in the Ruins; The Second Coming

Piercy, Marge

Woman on the Edge of Time; Fly Away Home

Pynchon, Thomas

V.; The Crying of Lot 49

Rand, Aynd

Atlas Shrugged; The Fountainhead

Reed, Ishmael

The Free-Lance Pallbearers; Mumbo Jumbo; Flight to Canada

Robinson, Mailynne

Housekeeping; Gilead

Roth, Philip

Portnoy’s Complaint; The Great American Novel; The Plot Against America; Everyman

Rushdie, Salmon

Midnight’s Children; The Satanic Verses

Silko, Leslie Marmon


Singer, Isaac Bashevis

Grimpel the Fool; The Manor; The King of the Fields

Smith, Lee

Fair and Tender Ladies; Me and My Baby View the Eclipse

Stegner, Wallace

Big Rock Candy Mountain; Angle of Repose; Crossing to Safety

Stein, Gertrude

Three Lives

Steinbeck, John

Of Mice and Men; The Grapes of Wrath; East of Eden

Stone, Robert

Dog Soldiers; Children of Light; Bear and his Daughter

Styron, William

Lie Down in Darkness; Sophie’s Choice

Sukenick, Ronald

The Death of the Novel and Other Stories; Blown Away

Tan, Amy

The Joy Luck Club

Taylor, Peter

Collected Stories; Summoned to Memphis

Theroux, Paul

The Mosquito Coast; The London Embassy; Chicago Loop

Toole, John Kennedy

A Confederacy of Dunces

Updike, John

Rabbit, Run; The Centaur

Vidal, Gore

The City and the Pillar; Myra Breckinridge; Hollywood; Creation; Live from Golgotha

Vonnegut, Kurt

Cat’s Cradle; Slaughterhouse-Five; Galapagos

Walker, Alice

Meridian; You Can’t Keep a Good Woman Down; The Color Purple

Warren, Robert Penn

All the King’s Men

Waugh, Evelyn

A Handful of Dust; Scoop

Welty, Eudora

A Curtain of Green

West, Nathaniel

Miss Lonelyhearts; The Day of the Locust

White, Edmund

A Boy’s Own Story; The Beautiful Room is Empty

Wideman, John Edgar

Damballah; Philadelphia Fire

Wolfe, Thomas

Look Homeward, Angel; You Can’t Go Home Again

Wolff, Tobias

The Barracks Thief

Woolf, Virginia

Mrs. Dalloway; To the Lighthouse

Yates, Richard

Revolutionary Road; Young Hearts Crying

Tom, Dick, and Harry

Collaborative Presentation Feedback

3--        Writer’s Significance (X5): Demonstrates the importance of the writer and his work to both twentieth-century literature in general and to at least one specific novel we’ve discussed in class by carefully comparing dominant themes, artistic struggles, critical approaches, and/or reception by critics. 

5--        Critical Context (X3):  Presents historical, biographical, and cultural background that helps the audience to situate the writer in the important world events and artistic questions of his time.
4--        Presentation Mechanics (X2): Group members each present for a roughly equal portion of 15-20 minutes, and the visual aid(s) presented to the audience effectively help to inform and expand the audience’s grasp of the writer’s “Significance” and/or “Context,” above.


TOTAL 38 / 50pts       76%

Comments:      The critical context provided on Hunter Thompson’s rise to cult status and the impact of the 1960s counter-culture on his writing, especially on Fear and Loathing, was the strongest and most compelling portion of this presentation. Each member spent a little over five minutes presenting this information, but the visual aids, pictures from Thompson’s youth, added only a little to the critical context of the presentation. More interesting might have been examples of the artwork done by Ralph Steadman that you mentioned several times has been associated with Thompson’s writing and his “Gonzo journalism” in general. The presentation also might have made stronger connections between Thompson’s work and those of his contemporaries and others who came later to be associated with the “New Journalism” his work helped to define—Joan Didion, Truman Capote, Norman Mailer, Tom Wolfe, and much more recently William T. Vollmann and David Foster Wallace. New Journalism was hardly mentioned, in fact, much less defined or described. And what was Thompson’s connection to the work we’ve discussed this semester? To the “magical realism” of Garcia Marquez, for instance, or Fitzgerald’s portrait of the “American Dream” sought in The Great Gatsby?