Try It: Contestable Claims

Nutshell<

Your introductory literature class has been discussing Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber, a collection of feminist retellings of classic fairytales. Imagine you are writing a 5-6 page paper on her story “The Company of Wolves,” a rewriting of the Little Red Riding Hood tale. For each claim below, determine whether it is contestable<: that is, could a classmate reasonably disagree with the claim, making it worthy of an argument?

1. In Angela Carter’s “The Company of Wolves,” a rewriting of “Little Red Riding Hood,” both the young female protagonist and the huntsman undergo transformations.

  • Yes, this claim is contestable<

  • No, this claim is not contestable<

  • Incorrect Rewritings, by definition, result in transformations. That means a classmate is unlikely to disagree with this statement.

  • Correct This sentence describes or summarizes the action in the story but does not make a claim that could serve as the center of an evidence-based literary argument.

Your introductory literature class has been discussing Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber, a collection of feminist retellings of classic fairytales. Imagine you are writing a 5-6 page paper on her story “The Company of Wolves,” a rewriting of the Little Red Riding Hood tale. For each claim below, determine whether it is contestable<: that is, could a classmate reasonably disagree with the claim, making it worthy of an argument?

2. Through the unexpected word choices the story uses to describe the transformations of the young female protagonist and the huntsman, Angela Carter’s “The Company of Wolves” dismantles the binaries of human-animal and purity-corruption that structured “Little Red Riding Hood.”

  • Yes, this claim is contestable<

  • No, this claim is not contestable<

  • Correct This claim does not simply describe the story. It instead uses focused, literary language to analyze a particular formal aspect and then illuminates a broader concern of the text.

  • Incorrect This claim makes an argument about word choice and binaries in a literary work. That means that different readers might understand these choices in different ways and a classmate could reasonably disagree with the claim.

Your introductory literature class has been discussing Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber, a collection of feminist retellings of classic fairytales. Imagine you are writing a 5-6 page paper on her story “The Company of Wolves,” a rewriting of the Little Red Riding Hood tale. For each claim below, determine whether it is contestable<: that is, could a classmate reasonably disagree with the claim, making it worthy of an argument?

3. Angela Carter’s retelling of Little Red Riding Hood with a focus on the female protagonist is a statement about gender roles in fairy tales.

  • Yes, this claim is contestable<

  • No, this claim is not contestable<

  • Incorrect Remember that your class has been discussing gender in relation to this story. This claim simply summarizes the class’s point of view.

    This statement is not contestable in a class that has focused on gender in Carter’s work. No classmate would disagree that the story’s formal strategies are part of Carter’s critique of traditional gender roles within literature.

  • Correct This statement is not contestable in a class that has focused on gender in Carter’s work. No classmate would disagree that the story’s formal strategies are part of Carter’s critique of traditional gender roles within literature.

Your introductory literature class has been discussing Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber, a collection of feminist retellings of classic fairytales. Imagine you are writing a 5-6 page paper on her story “The Company of Wolves,” a rewriting of the Little Red Riding Hood tale. For each claim below, determine whether it is contestable<: that is, could a classmate reasonably disagree with the claim, making it worthy of an argument?

4. Angela Carter’s “The Company of Wolves” challenges traditional gender binaries not only through its depiction of the female character but also through its provocative second-person opening that forces the reader, no matter his or her gender, into the traditionally feminine, fearful position of Little Red Riding Hood.

  • Yes, this claim is contestable<

  • No, this claim is not contestable<

  • Correct This claim analyzes a specific feature of the story in order to reveal a broader aspect of the text’s political project. Another reader might see the second-person opening as less important or as functioning differently within the story.

  • Incorrect Different readers might assess the second-person opening in a different way. That means that a classmate could reasonably disagree with this claim.

    This claim is contestable because it analyzes a specific feature of the story in order to reveal a broader aspect of the text’s political project. Another reader might see the second-person opening as less important or as functioning differently within the story.

Your introductory literature class has been discussing Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber, a collection of feminist retellings of classic fairytales. Imagine you are writing a 5-6 page paper on her story “The Company of Wolves,” a rewriting of the Little Red Riding Hood tale. For each claim below, determine whether it is contestable<: that is, could a classmate reasonably disagree with the claim, making it worthy of an argument?

5. While the second-person voice in the opening section of “The Company of Wolves” might seem to invite a feminist reading, it risks downplaying the specificity of female experience by allowing a male reader to take on a traditionally female perspective.

  • Yes, this claim is contestable<

  • No, this claim is not contestable<

  • Correct Like the previous claim, this one focuses on the narrative voice in order to comment on the text more generally, but it sees the importance of that narrative voice differently. The claim is therefore contestable; it analyzes this feature of the text in a way that another classmate might oppose.

  • Incorrect As in the previous claim, not all readers would analyze the story’s narrative voice in the same way. That means that a classmate could reasonably disagree with this claim.

    Like the previous claim, this one focuses on the narrative voice in order to comment on the text more generally, but it sees the importance of that narrative voice differently. The claim is therefore contestable; it analyzes this feature of the text in a way that another classmate might oppose.