M A I N * L I N K S

SUNY Fredonia
College of Arts and Humanities
ENGL 299: Fantasy Fiction
Fall 2010
Section 1: MW 3-4:20, Fenton 179
Office: Fenton 265; MW 1-3, TTh 10-12, and by appointment; 673-3856
E-mail: simon@fredonia.edu, brucesimon18@yahoo.com
Web Page: www.fredonia.edu/department/english/simon/
ANGEL Space: https://fredonia.sln.suny.edu/default.asp

Response Essay, Fall 2010

This page takes on two important questions about the response essay you will write this semester in this course: what and what for; it also includes an assignment sheet. My goal is to make this page as useful to you as possible, so let me know if it can be improved. If anything is badly worded, unclear, or missing, please contact me with constructive criticisms and suggestions. Ditto for any questions you may have about any of the options listed on the assignments sheets. Thanks.


As you know, early this semester you are required to submit a relatively informal response essay, which in this course is a two-to-four-page response to one of our class-generated critical questions about fantasy fiction, using at least one text from the syllabus to help you answer it. You may turn this in any time after 15 September 2010 on the course ANGEL site, but no later than 11:30 pm on 15 October 2010. After a brief writing conference with me, you will post the revised response essay on our course blog, sf@SF.

What For

At the beginning of the course, I want students to devote some sustained attention to one of the critical questions on fantasy fiction that we generated together in class. Without the burden of proof that comes with a critical essay, where the goal is to anticipate and counter objections to your core argument so as to organize your essay to be as persuasive as possible to your most skeptical readers, the response essay is an opportunity to begin thinking through a critical question and answering it so as to help your readers consider some of the ways in which both the question and answer matter. Your goal is less to persuade your readers that your answer is right than it is to get them to take your question and answer seriously. Rather than writing to other students or academic specialists, that is, you are learning to address a broader public on the stakes of a specific question on fantasy fiction.

The other major purpose of the response essay is for me to, in effect, take the temperature of the class near the start of the course. Reading your response essays will help me get a feel for what you already understand, where we might focus upcoming discussions, and how I might help you all get the most out of the rest of the semester.

Assignment Sheet: Response Essay

Due: The deadline for submitting a response essay to the RE Drop Box on the course ANGEL space is 11:30 pm Friday, 15 October 2010. Late papers will not be accepted or graded. We will schedule a brief writing conference soon afterwards in which we will discuss any needed revisions before it gets posted to the course blog, sf@SF. The version that gets posted on the course blog is the one that I will grade.

Format: 2-4 pages (roughly 400-1200 words), double spaced, with reasonable fonts, font sizes, and margins; title that indicates main topic/focus of paper; heading that includes your name, the course name or number, and the date; bibliography and citations in MLA style (see the links page for explanations of this style of citation); the basic template is Author. Book Title. City of Publication: Publisher, Date of Publication.); proper MLA format for quotations within a paragraph: "quotation" (12); and blockquote format for quotations five lines or longer. [Please be aware that you'll get a better grade if you first develop your ideas fully, without feeling that you have to stop at a certain page or word limit, and then go back and condense, cut, and otherwise revise so as to be as concise, clear, and persuasive as possible. Don't let the page limit limit your exploration of ideas.]

Criteria for Evaluation: Your grade for the response essay will be determined by how well you use your example(s) to answer the question you have chosen, how well you capture the reader's attention, interest, and curiosity while doing so, and how well your writing, organization, and formatting (including diction, grammar, syntax, and punctuation) work together.

Audience: Think of your audience as online readers who have varying degrees of interest and knowledge in fantasy; as you shouldn't assume that your readers have read the texts you're writing on, you will have to figure out how to concisely include certain kinds of background and context on them.

Draft Policy: I will not be able to offer comments on drafts before our writing conference. The submission to the drop box should represent your best work, although it won't end up being the final draft of the response essay.

Rewrite Policy: You will not get a chance to revise the response essay for a grade after it has been posted on our course blog. That said, any further rewrite(s) you choose to do will improve your preparation/participation grade and better prepare you for future writing in the course.

Critical Questions: Please select one (1) of the following class-generated critical questions to focus your response essay on, or run your own question by me (preferably in writing) before you start writing.


Defining Fantasy

Origins of Fantasy

Fantasy's Varieties, Relatives, and Neighbors


Quality of/in Fantasy

Fantasy's Functions, Purposes, Uses
Studying Fantasy


M A I N * L I N K S

ENGL 299: Fantasy Fiction, Fall 2010
Created: 9/15/10 2:52 pm
Last modified: 10/4/10 1:44 pm
Webmaster: Bruce Simon, Associate Professor of English, SUNY Fredonia