In this creative writing assignment, you must travel back in time and imagine what life was like for an individual in the past. This process helps develop an understanding of the impact of time and space on personal perspective. It also provides practice composing narratives in order to describe (1) how peoples, cultures and institutions change over time, and (2) how personal identities related to culture, gender, race or religion affect historical perspective.
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- Select one of the identities listed below for your first person narrative. You can be any gender or race that would be appropriate for the character, but this is a fictional narrative, so no actual historical figures!
- An Islamic man or woman living in Mecca in the 7th century
- A Roman monk
- A resident of one of the African kingdoms
- An African convert to Islam
- A resident of Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade
- Research what everyday life was like for your character during the period covered in this module. While you research, keep in mind that references such as historic dates, actual places and events add credibility and interest to your writing.
- Compose a fictional, first person narrative either in Journal format or a two page, double-spaced paper as outlined below.
- Be as accurate as possible. For example, your character will not be able to use cell phones or a computer; in fact walking may be their only form of transportation! Additionally, your character would not be quoting material from sources that did not exist at the time.
- Include a bibliography of at least three primary or secondary sources you used in your research (remember no tertiary sources!). You should, by this point, be using the “best” resources available. Be careful of unreliable sources. Properly format your bibliography in one of the approved styles.
- Submit your completed assignment to the folder by the scheduled due date.
Journal Format: Compose at least 10 journal entries that describe the things that you (the character) did that day in the course of that day or period of life. The narrative is not a biography of your character; it is a description of significant events or periods in day-to-day life. Use descriptions that bring your audience to the moment, such as the sounds or smells your character might experience in the moment. Each entry should be at least one paragraph long.
Essay Format Compose at least two double-spaced pages that describe the routine of your daily life, the joys and challenges of your social position or a significant event in your life. Don’t be afraid to express the opinions your character might have about their life or what was happening in the world around them.