In-Class Exercises Utilizing Storyspace Webs

These examples of in-class exercises demonstrate some of the ways in which I enabled the students to practice navigating in the Storyspace webs while at the same time I used the webs as teaching tools for initiating discussion or making hypertextual connections among discrete pieces of information.

For Initiating Discussion:

  1. Open The In Memoriam Web, go into the "Literary Techniques" writing space, then open and read the "Style and Genre in IM" text space. Discuss with people in your group the following questions: does In Memoriam share the "ritual progression" of pastoral elegy? what is Tennyson trying to achieve in his rendering of the experience of grief?

  2. From the Map View of The Dickens Web, open the "History" writing space, then the "Social History" writing space. Then open and read the "Dickens and Snobbery" text space. Do you agree with Humphry House that Dickens "shirks" the implications of the reconciliation with Joe and Biddy?

For Following Links and Initiating Discussion:

  1. Open The Dickens Web, then open the "Overview" text space. Follow the link called "Character in Dickens" from the word "Characterization" and read the information about the various techniques employed by Dickens to create character. Discuss Question #4 with your neighbor: "Dickens places his character in a particular setting. Wemmick and Miss Havisham exemplify this typically Dickensian mode of character creation. Can you think of any others?"

For Following Links and Thinking Hypertextually:

  1. From the Map View of The Dickens Web go into the "History" writing space of and then into the "Social History" writing space. Read the text space about "Dickens' London" and discuss with your group members the questions there: "In what ways did Dickens make the presence of London felt in Great Expectations? What sort of a place is it? What role does it play? What does it represent, in a symbolic sense?" When you finish, go to the "Genre and Mode" writing space and then open and read the "Humor in CD" and "Society as Villain" text spaces. Is Great Expectations a comedy? How are we to reconcile the novel's humor and optimism with its darkness and social realism? its depiction of social forces with the middle-class emphasis on individual autonomy? Do you see any connections between Dickens's view of London and the novel's combination of optimism and pessimism?

  2. From the Map View of The Dickens Web, go into the "Genre and Mode" writing space, than open and read the "Bildungsroman" text space. In your group, discuss the specific ways in which Great Expectations fits the definition of a bildungsroman. What is the role of vocation in this literary form? Then go to the "Philosophy" writing space and open and read the text space on "Utilitarianism." In your groups, discuss how we are to reconcile Dickens's criticism of utilitarianism with his emphasis on work and vocation.