Module 6 Discussion Forum II: Blessing Water-Snakes – Blessing Water-Snake 1
From ENGL 2331.701 (13669)
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Forum II will provide further practice in close reading the language of a literary work. In this case, Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner was written in English (even if in a kind of faux-archaic lexicon), so you don’t have to worry about a translator’s mediation of the language of the original text. Again, feel free to review the page on close reading, especially the section on its “technical sense.”
And, again, Forum I and Forum II will also serve as potential pre-draft exercises for one of the options on the Five-Paragraph Writing Exercise that will be due in Module 13.
The class will divided into small groups with no more than four members per group. How does the following passage help us to better understand part of the ecotheology in Coleridge’s poem, its conception of the value of nature? In other words, identify and analyze specific details in this passage from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner in order to help us to flesh out the story’s conception of why the natural world or, more specifically, animal life, has value that we should honor. The description of blessing of the water-snakes could be the focal point of at least one group member’s post, but you are welcome to focus your post on any of the language in the passage below insofar as you can show how it helps us to better understand Coleridge’s ecotheology.
The moving Moon went up the sky, And no where did abide: Softly she was going up, And a star or two beside—
Her beams bemocked the sultry main, Like April hoar-frost spread; But where the ship’s huge shadow lay, The charmed water burnt alway A still and awful red.
Beyond the shadow of the ship, I watched the water-snakes: They moved in tracks of shining white, And when they reared, the elfish light Fell off in hoary flakes.
Within the shadow of the ship I watched their rich attire: Blue, glossy green, and velvet black, They coiled and swam; and every track Was a flash of golden fire.
O happy living things! no tongue Their beauty might declare: A spring of love gushed from my heart, And I blessed them unaware: Sure my kind saint took pity on me, And I blessed them unaware.
The selfsame moment I could pray; And from my neck so free The Albatross fell off, and sank Like lead into the sea. (Coleridge
Please Order Post in the Following Way:
1. Open your comment, if you aren’t the first to post on that particular story in your group, by relating it to at least one preceding post using the argumentative twist technique. Make a claim about whether you agree or disagree with the inference made in the preceding post about the work’s ecotheology or its conception of the value of nature. If you are the first to post, you can simply begin with step two. (1-2 sentences)
2. Building on the position that you staked out in step 1, develop a close reading that quotes particular words, phrases, or sentences from the above passage that you think have implications for how we understand non-human life in the story. What does this language reveal about the work’s ecotheology or its conception of the value of nature? Aim to be insightful but not comprehensive in your response so that your fellow group members have material they can analyze. Try to analyze language from the passage that no one in your group has commented on yet or, failing that, to offer your own gloss (i.e. interpretation) of that language. (2-4 sentences)
3. Draw an inference based on the close reading you’ve performed about the work’s ecotheology or its broader conception of the value of nature or animal life. (1-3 sentences)
· Be sure to write with clarity and collegiality (i.e. be respectful of those who have a different opinion)
· Length: Your post should be at minimum 200 words.
· Format: You will post your comment directly in the appropriate discussion forum, so use the default formatting (font type, etc.) for the discussion board.
· Citations: Use MLA in-text citations (Links to an external site.) for textual evidence that refers to the page numbers in the assigned editions of the standalone texts or the PDF/Word documents posted to Canvas. If you cite a different edition or another source, include an MLA Works Cited at the end of your post.