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Critical Response Essay #2: Assignment Sheet

Assignment: You have several options for your second critical response paper; unlike the first essay, however, I am giving you the option of choosing your own question to answer for this essay.

Format: 3-5 pages (roughly 750-1500 words), with a title and a heading that includes the course number or title, your name, and the date; word-processed; double-spaced; font Times 12 point or similar; preferably laser-printed. [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 to be as concise and clear as possible. Don't let the page limit limit your exploration of ideas.]

Due: Wednesday, 3/24/99, in the envelope outside my office door (Fenton 240) by 4:00 pm. With my permission, you may turn the paper in by 4:30 on Thursday, 3/25.

Texts: You may choose to focus on any combination of texts from Henry James to Sandra Cisneros.

Criteria for Evaluation: See the comments on the first critical response essay for qualities I look for in a paper.

Stats and Suggestions for Revision

Grade Distribution: A+ = 0; A = 1; A- = 2; B+ = 10; B = 15; B- = 21; C+ = 4; C =3; C- = 7; D+ = 1; D = 0; D- = 0; E = 0.

Essay Options Chosen: #1 = 3; #2 = 0; #3 = 10; #4 = 7; #5 = 9; #6 = 21; # 7 = 13.

General Comments: The papers improved in two noticeable ways from the previous assignment to this one: first, more people did well (28 at B or better this time compared to 21 at B or better last time); and second, fewer people did worse (15 at C+ or worse this time versus 32 at C+ or worse last time). That makes me happy--and it should make you happy--but it should also underscore the need to think carefully about how you approach a writing assignment and what it will take to improve your writing still further. Let me offer a few further pieces of advice; they are meant as supplements to the advice from the previous assignment page (the fact that some of the careless errors and more serious writing problems I noted on that page happened again implies to me that suggestions on that page are still relevant). So without further ado:

Comments on Specific Options: First off, I was disappointed that so few people took advantage of the "choose your own topic" and creative response paper options; some of the best papers from last semester were creative responses. Second, and offsetting that earlier disappointment, I was glad to see that over 30 of you focused on one of the two longer works in detail (by James and Kingston)--nice job!

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EN 209: Novels and Tales, Spring 1999
Created: 3/15/99, 10:21 am
Last modified: 4/22/99, 7:52 pm