Purpose The ability to analyze material and detect nuance is critical to your success in college and life.
Your classes, especially your emphasis courses, will require you to apply theories and concepts to particular situations. Picking up subtle cues and exact arguments is necessary to paying the correct amount of taxes, hiring new employees, or maintaining good relationships. These assignments will help you develop these abilities. Assignment Before the end of the semester, you must complete and pass FOUR critical essays. Each essay will require you to apply a theory to a text. Using the theory, you will write a critical analysis of the text. These essays will be work- shopped both online and in-class. Critical Analysis An analysis is breaking down something into parts in order to explain how each part functions. When you break down a text, you need a particular way of viewing the text. Theories, such as feminism or structuralism, offer you a way to break down a text into particular parts and gives you focus. While an analysis has some of these elements, a critical analysis is not: A summary: A summary must give an overview of the contents of a text. These deal with plot, characters, premise, or the basic contents. An analysis requires that you know these facts, but it’s not enough by itself. o HINT: You may need to summarize to make your audience familiar with your text. For these papers, assume you are speaking to an educated, academic audience. Describing a scene or sequence to make a point is helpful, but the purpose is to critique those pieces rather than list them. An evaluation: An evaluation is about the quality of a work. Many people see “criticism” and think “thumbs up, thumbs down.” That is a
Essay Assignment 2
popular understanding of “review,” but that is not what we are doing. Some critics will break down a text to certain elements to explain why something is “good” or “bad,” but our purpose is to find how it works rather than if it works. o HINT: If something doesn’t have a “good example” of a particular theory or answer a question, that might mean you’re using the wrong theory or asking the wrong question. Due Dates You must have all three essays (and your proposal paper) passed by the end of the session. There are no specific due dates for any assignment. If you want your essay workshopped in-class or online, you must turn your essay in a week in advance (in-class) OR by the close of business Friday (online). In order to earn a C, you must pass all four papers with a C. To earn a D (which is still a passing grade for the course) you must pass 3 of 4 papers with the appropriate point total. If you want me to examine a draft, you must submit it before March 13. March 12 is the last in-person workshop, so all papers for in-person workshops must be turned in March 5. All papers for online workshops must be online by 5 PM on March 8. Grading 30 Points Thesis/Purpose (Is this paper an analysis? Does this reach the intended audience? Is there a clear thesis statement that encapsulates the entire paper? Does each section support that purpose?) 30 Points Audience (Is this written in an academic style? Is the text/theory sufficiently explained?) 30 Points Research (Does this paper have enough resources to make its case? IS the argument developed?) 10 Points Formatting (Is this paper in MLA format?)
Essay Assignment 3
Grammar works by pass/fail. Grammatical errors indicative of typographical errors or better will pass. Constant errors that fail to demonstrate the basic rules of punctuation, sentence structure, subjectverb agreement, capitalization, spelling, or syntax will fail with a 50. Nitty Gritty All papers must be typed, double-spaced, and in a readable font. All papers must be in MLA format. There is no word count/limit for each paper, but your total writing must equal 5000 words. Drafts, Submissions, and Final Submissions Drafts (Found in the Drafts Folder): This is anything not turned in expecting a grade. I will evaluate each draft once and give feedback. Following my feedback will help you improve your paper, but following my feedback doesn’t guarantee a passing grade by itself. I will not proofread your work. Submit drafts to the draft section. Anything submitted to a workshop is considered a draft. You may submit a work to workshops as often as you like. Submissions (Found in Submissions Folder): These are papers submitted for grades. I will grade your paper and send you feedback within three business days. If you are unsatisfied with your grade, you may resubmit it for an additional 10 points. If a paper is a failing paper, you may resubmit your paper for a maximum of a 70. Final Submissions (Found in Final Submissions Folder): These papers are works that you no longer intend to revise. These will be submitted to SafeAssign for plagiarism detection (correct citation should be worked out already), and you will receive the grade you earned on the last draft. If you have modified the paper since the last draft, you will earn your grade based on your modifications. Resubmission Guidelines: In order to earn a resubmission for grades, you must submit your work to at least one workshop (online or in-person). You
Essay Assignment 4
may resubmit it one day after the workshop. You may substitute your draft to me OR tutoring for a workshop. Texts You may select the texts of your choice. “Texts” can refer to books, films, short stories, poems, collections of poetry, plays, songs, music videos, cartoons, video games, artwork, magazines, architecture, live events, and other items. Rules for selecting texts: You must use at least three different texts for your four papers. At least one paper must cover a short story or novel. At least one paper must cover drama or poetry. Any works in a foreign language must have translations in English provided. After you submit a paper, you may not change the text of your analysis. Hints for selecting texts: Picking things you like is easier than things you love or hate. Reading Chapter 1, we understand that what the author intends isn’t The Truth of a text. This idea of contingent truth is much more obvious in film, video games, or any work where multiple people’s visions are combined. If you don’t like a text, understand that you will have three other opportunities. Theories Theories provide the questions for examination. They will give your analysis a particular direction and focus. Without a theory, your paper will quickly become a book report. Applying a theory to a text is the answer to the question, “What do you want me to do?” Rules for Selecting a Theory
Essay Assignment 5
You must select at least three different theories for the class. You may select a theory we aren’t covering in class. Hints for Selecting a Theory It’s much easier to select your text first. People often go backwards and find themselves stuck. You will probably need to read slightly beyond the textbook to get enough information to do your paper. The suggested readings offered by the textbook are good places to start. Many theories have sub-theories, and different theorists will have different perspectives. For example, one feminist might have a different perspective from another. Attempting to have a “feminist” analysis by itself might mean you miss particular points. If you use a theory beyond our textbook, you will need to explain your theory in your paper. The class (your audience) will not have the same exposure to your theory, so you must explain it a little. BIG HINTS FOR THESIS STATEMENTS!!! A thesis statement must be clear, concise, and specific. Building a thesis: o My paper is about Marxism. Unclear. How is it about Marxism? o My paper will apply Marxism to Fight Club. Better, but it’s not very specific. o My paper, a literary analysis, will explore the ideas of Marxism, specifically alienation, to explain the actions, behaviors, and beliefs of a capitalist society by applying the theory of alienation to Fight Club Do you get this thesis? If not, you can see that it’s neither clear nor concise. o My paper will apply the Marxist idea of alienation to the characters in the movie Fight Club. This is a good thesis because it’s clear, concise, and specific. As mentioned in the theory section, just stating the theory will not help.
Essay Assignment 6
Tips for Academic Writing Get to the point. Your main argument (topic sentence) should be early in a paragraph, not at the end. You shouldn’t attach the entire text to the end of your paper. Readers need to look it up if they are unfamiliar with the text. A reader can only follow the citations you give them. If you don’t cite something, don’t assume they can get the rest. A reader needs to look up words or concepts they don’t know, but readers who don’t understand your quotation may not grasp the connection between your evidence and claim. Most claims require more than one piece of evidence from a reliable source. Not everything you find on the Internet is reliable.