Homework Exercise Utilizing the World Wide Web

This exercise proved to be especially effective at enabling students students to see how to make hypertextual connections at thematic and interpretive levels. I believe such directed, explicitly focused exercises, employed more frequently and early in the term, would accelerate student understanding of how to think hypertextually and thus would lead to richer student papers that move beyond the most obvious, direct connections between text and context.

This assignment is designed to provide practice in using the World Wide Web and especially in thinking hypertextually.

The art museum at the University of California-Berkeley currently has an exhibition on the representation of children in British art and culture from 1700-1830. They have placed much of the materials from this exhibition, including a number of the paintings and drawings, on the Web. The end of this period is roughly the point at which Great Expectations--a novel centrally concerned with the literary representation of childhood--is set. The URL of the exhibition web site is:


Access this web site and explore the various materials and paintings associated with it. Send me an e-mail message that 1) summarizes the exhibition's argument about how the child and its role in the family change during this period, and 2) assesses if and how Dickens's depiction of childhood in Great Expectations fits this argument. Provide specific examples from the novel to support your points.