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The actual writing in your paper should be about FIVE pages total, double-spaced
The actual writing in your paper should be about FIVE pages total, double-spaced, Times New Roman, font-size 12. In addition to those five or so pages, at the beginning include a title page (your story’s title, your name, this course’s title, date). And at the end, include an Appendix containing relevant images of artworks discussed in the paper (with captions), and a Works Cited page. BIG ASSIGNMENT QUESTION: How has Mary of Nazareth been significant (both meaningful and controversial) in different ways to people of various social, cultural, ethnic, political, and/or religious backgrounds, today and in the past, and in the U.S. and several other countries? The paper has two parts; both parts will need to address that Big Assignment Question. Part I is a short story (about 1½ pages) about Mary or something related to Mary that you invent. It must reflect several of the themes mentioned in the Big Assignment Question; and Part II is a formal essay (3 to 4 pages) explaining how your story is based on known facts about Mary, Mary’s place in several different cultures, and your own imagination. Address the big Assignment Question directly and fully here in this formal essay. This paper takes the place of a Final Exam, so use it as your opportunity to show how well you have learned and integrated this course’s materials on Mary of Nazareth. Plan to include as much relevant and accurate information as possible about Mary and her significance: the more examples and details, the better. Show you’ve reviewed, understood, and synthesized various ideas and experiences regarding Mary that we’ve encountered in the class. You’ll present some of the ways in which people in various places, times, cultures, and religions (including yourself!) have found Mary to be meaningful in their lives, and also controversial. You must submit a first draft and the revised, second draft to get a good grade on this assignment. I won’t grade the first draft of your story and essay, but will give you feedback. I will grade the second draft: Parts I and II of your second draft will receive separate grades, and your grade on the Third Paper will be the average of those two grades. This Third Paper is worth 30% of your total course grade. Detailed Instructions: Part I: Write a short fictional story (or a script for a film, TV show, music video, play, radio show, video game, podcast, or another format) in which Mary is the main focus or protagonist. Part I should be around 1½ pages long (double-spaced, Times New Roman, font-size 12). The story should feature a main character who is your protagonist (=Mary of Nazareth, or someone else who connects with Mary in some way), and several other people, as needed. The story should be about one central event, action, and/or conversation. Keep your focus on Mary. This story (or other narrative format) can be about anything you’d like it to be. The possibilities are endless. Pick a Mary-related topic that you have enjoyed learning about this quarter, something that you’ve related to, that felt inspiring. For example: You could write a fictional story based on an event in Mary’s life that was mentioned in the gospels or other early sources on her life, or it could be a story about a moment in her life that was not mentioned in the gospels but that could plausibly / possibly have happened. You could set the story in a place on earth, or you could imagine Mary’s death and assumption, or a story about Mary and saints in heaven. A text or a painting about an event in Mary’s life could be the basis for all or part of your imagined story about her. However you do it, develop a story that showcases how you see the significance of her life—how she made a difference. [Anne Rice’s novel Out of Egypt is an interesting model for writing a fictional story based on several different early sources. Her novel might also inspire parts of your own fictional story. You could incorporate elements from Rice’s book once you’ve read it.] OR: This could be a fictional story that you invent about a historical person or real event and place that we’ve learned about in our course and that connects to Mary in some way. For example, your story could be about how Luke wrote his gospel or how the Quran’s stories about Mary got written down. It could be about a visionary who received a Marian apparition (such as St. Juan Diego or St. Bernadette), or about a poet who loved Mary (such as Dante, author of the divine Comedy, discussed by Pelikan), or about a painter who created a Marian artwork that you saw at the Art Institute or in a class lecture, or a composer who wrote a Marian piece of music, or a thinker who took part in a church council that debated Marian theology, or a religious leader like St. Elizabeth Seton who was devoted to Mary, etc. etc. It could be a Mary-related story about the Dalai Lama or Lech Walesa or other people that you read about in China Galland’s book, or a story about a place or a person mentioned in Christine Paintner’s book. . However you do it, develop a story that showcases how you see Mary’s significance to your characters’ lives—how she makes a difference. OR: This could be a story about a fictional person that you invent (today or in the past) to whom Mary mattered, was life-changing in some specific ways that you specify. Your fictional protagonist could go on a pilgrimage to a real Marian shrine, or see actual Marian art in a museum or church, or develop a devotion to Mary because of some life event, or participate in an ecumenical or inter-religious event showcasing different views of Mary, or interview people in Chicago (or in other parts of the US or in foreign countries) who are devoted to Mary, etc. etc. It could be a story about someone who prayed to Mary or witnessed a Marian miracle (and doubted it or accepted its authenticity). Or it could be about a wise person offering advice about the spiritual life or a form of psychological therapy that is related to Mary. It could be an activist who is inspired by a “fierce” Mary to fight for social justice. Or it could be about a quiet introvert’s discovery of a “silent” contemplative. Mary However you do it, develop a story that showcases how you see Mary’s significance to your characters’ lives—how she makes a difference. Heads up: Whether you write a story about Mary’s life, or real people, or fictional people, the content of your story will need to rely on a large number of sources we studied in our class, as well as you own experiences and imagination. (See below, in the section titled “Your Sources”). The protagonist of your story (the main person to whom things happen) could be Mary herself. Or you could decide your protagonist is someone who knew or met or observed Mary during her lifetime (such as her mother Anne, her cousin Elizabeth, her husband Joseph, her son Jesus, one of his apostles, her best friend, a pagan Roman soldier, her rabbi, her village’s match maker, a Nazareth peasant, a wise man, or a sworn enemy of hers, etc). Or your protagonist could be someone in the past or today who goes on a pilgrimage to a Marian shrine, or has a mystical experience connected to Mary, or is turned off by Mary, or encounters people who are devoted to Mary, or are opposed to her. It could be a person belonging to a fantasy species that you’ve invented or a Martian that has just landed on earth. It could be God or Gabriel! It could be Tara. Etc etc. You choose! Give this protagonist(s) a name and an identity—the more detailed the identity, the better. This should NOT be you (the DePaul student taking this online synchronous class on Mary in Spring 2022!); still, many aspects of your fictional characters will probably reflect parts of “you,” and that is fine!). Also specify where your story’s events are happening, and when (include an approximate date). Indicate which specific religious traditions, ethnic backgrounds, cultural settings, etc are important to your narrative: include quick details in the story that make this clear. (You’ll explain all of this at greater length in your essay). You can decide whether to tell this story through a first-person speaker (“I”) OR a third person (“he” or “she” or “they”), or through another means. The story could be in the form of a narrative, a letter, a poem, a play, an interview, a movie script, etc etc…—whatever you’d like. Supply lots of historical and current facts and details that you learned this quarter about Mary and how people have thought and felt about her, and taken various kinds of action because of her. Make sure the story addresses at least some of the issues in the Assignment question. And use your creative imagination to bring those facts to life in ways that are plausible and true to what is known and felt about Mary by various kinds of people. You can supply the dialogue among the characters and convey your protagonist’s and characters’ inner feelings, thoughts, and reactions. You story might be about the kinds of encounters with the sacred and the divine they seek and receive, specific decisions that they make, things they do or that are done to them. As you describe the characters, imagine what they see, smell, hear, touch, and taste, and how they move, what they look like, how they dress: this can help your story flow and feel real. It is also fine to include miracles, fantasy, time travel, spirituality, if you wish, as well as ordinary mundane reality. This story is a narrative, not a lecture on Mary! Make it fun, dramatic, mysterious, entertaining, thought-provoking and meaningful. Feel free to incorporate anything meaningful from your life experience, the collage you made in this class, the various imagination exercises we’ve done during class and on your own, and your personal reflections on Mary. As you write your story, make sure to differentiate in your own mind between those aspects of it that come from known facts about Mary, and those aspects that come from your imagination or personal life: you’ll explain these different features of your story in the essay. Part II: Write a formal essay (about 3 to 4 pages long, double-spaced, Times New Roman, font-size 12). In this essay, you’ll explain how you created and invented your short fictional story: what is its basis in known facts and experiences about Mary and in your own imagination? You will: - explain your story’s use of sources you have read and viewed in this class; - describe and explain much more fully all relevant aspects of Mary that your story mentioned briefly or alluded to; - offer convincing evidence for several ways in which your fiction’s plot and details connect to real facts about Mary’s life and different people’s actual ideas, perceptions, and experiences about her in the time when you set the story and in the place you set it in; - compare and contrast the views on Mary presented in your story to aspects of Marian ideas, perceptions and experiences in several other times in the past, the present, and various other world cultures and religions; - explain those parts of the story that you invented—the process that helped you imagine, fill in the blanks beyond what is known factually about whatever dimensions of Mary you presented in your story; and - answer all aspects of the Assignment Question (see p.1 of this handout). Your essay will say a) where you inserted accurate information and details about Mary into your story: explain/elaborate on that information and your sources for it; and also b) where and why you used creative license in your story: explain your process of imaginative invention. You’ll show which aspects of Mary’s life you drew from her portrayal in specific biblical books and other early sources. Which aspects of the evolution of thinking and experience related to Mary, as seen in Pelikan’s, Galand’s, and Paintner’s books, have inspired you? What artworks that you have seen in class and at the Art Institute have helped you brainstorm for your story? What ideas did you get from the various imagination and spirituality exercises done in class and the reflections you jotted down in your Mary Journal? Which aspects of your fictional story did you invent? How do these fictional features plausibly fit the different historical, social, political, and religious contexts of your story? How are they based on imagination exercises we’ve done in class or you’ve done on your own?

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