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Critical Response Essay #2: Assignment Sheet

Due: no later than 5:00 pm on Friday, 4/14/00, in the envelope outside my office door (Fenton 240). It is your responsibility to complete your papers on time in the proper format; late papers will be accepted, but they will lose one-third of a grade for every day they are late and I will not provide comments on them.

Format: 4-6 pages (roughly 800-1800 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 so as to be as concise, clear, and persuasive as possible. Don't let the page limit limit your exploration of ideas.]

Process: As I will be missing class on Friday, April 7, due to my participation in an academic conference in Washington, DC, that day, attendance in the peer-review workshops scheduled for that day is optional; those who wish to attend will benefit in at least two ways: 1) they will receive extra credit to be applied to their class preparation/participation grade; 2) they will receive the benefit of feedback on their ideas and/or drafts for the second critical response essay from their peers.

Assignment Options: The first and most important option for the second critical response essay is to "develop/invent" your own topic; if you choose this option, you must append a short paragraph at the end in which you identify and explain 3-5 criteria by which you would like your paper to be evaluated. The second option I'd like to emphasize is that if you didn't already write one for the last essay, you may, with my permission, either address your own subject or choose to address one of the following options by writing a creative response paper, in which you attempt to make similar points as you'd make in a traditional paper, in the form of a narrative rather than an essay.

Audience: In general, think of your immediate audience as those who have taken and are taking this class; hence, you can assume that your readers have read the texts you're writing on and you don't have to include the kind of background that someone not taking this course would need.

Advice: Every option asks you to write a persuasive or argumentative (in the good sense) essay, in which you develop and defend a central idea or thesis. However, as opposed to many of your high school essays, this essay will not require you to follow a cookie-cutter "5-paragraph" structure. In fact, you are encouraged to experiment with alternatives to this method of organization that, you may recall, requires you to fit your ideas into a pre-set format: the "funnel" introduction that culminates in a three-part thesis statement, three body paragraphs that each give an argument and evidence in support of the main thesis, and a conclusion in which you restate your thesis. Now, I will still be looking for an organization/structure that effectively advances your main argument, but the key difference is that while in the past you may have been graded on how well you fit your ideas to the pre-set form, now you will be graded on how effectively the form you choose for the essay fits your ideas. This actually sets higher standards for your writing than in the past, and many students find it difficult to make the transition to the expectations of college writing. Please see me if you have any questions about what constitutes an argument, strategies for structuring or organizing your essay, or any other aspect of the writing process.

Rewrite Policy: I will accept rewrites of the second critical response essay, so long as you get them to me within two weeks of receiving comments on your previous draft from me. If you choose this option, your final grade for the second critical response essay will be the average of the two drafts.


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EN 209: Novels and Tales, Spring 2000
Created: 3/29/00, 10:32 pm
Last modified: 3/29/00, 10:32 pm