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Task:   In The Island of Doctor Moreau, choose one word (or series of synonyms) that seems ripe for following, a clear textual echo. This word should appear across the short story in at least three instances. This word should be a noun, verb, or adjective, and not a word such as “and” or “the.” A description of keywords and definition of textual echoes can be found on these links. Once you’ve identified the textual echo, ask yourself what key word it suggests to you. For instance, if the textual echoes are words such as “devil,” “diabolical,” and “wicked,” your keyword might be evil. Remember that the keyword will be a larger concept, issue, subject, topic, tension, or problem with which the text is concerned, not necessarily the exact word(s) you’ve identified in the text.
• As you select your keyword, consider these questions:
-What kind of “career” can you describe for your key word as you track each appearance? By “career,” I mean what work does that key word do for the novel? How does it develop over time from textual echo to textual echo?
-Does its usage change or deepen in each subsequent context, in its turns and returns, as the author changes it, chooses different synonyms or positions it in new contexts?
-Does the key word have a changing meaning, or connotation, in each instance? If so, how is each appearance different from the one before and the one after.
-How might your key word focus the poems’ larger issues and themes relevant to our class?
-If you’re fluent in another language, what’s your key word in that language? Is it used the same way in that language as you see it used by the author of the text you chose?
• With this history of your key word in mind, return to the text and ask yourself:
-Why did the author select this word and not another?
-What precise ideas or values does the word convey?
-Does it vary, repeat, return? Why and to what effect?
• Write a paragraph on your analysis of this key word.  Consider the following:
-What questions occurred to you as you followed the career of your key word?
-What larger historical or cultural or linguistic associations does your key word suggest?
– How has it been used historically? How might your author be “playing” with the slippage of the word’s meaning to suggest other meanings in the text you chose?
-What specific thematic or conceptual issues does it evoke in the text?

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