Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

Literary Response

Purpose: To help students learn to reasonably articulate their interpretive responses to significant literary texts. To help students consider their effectiveness in arguing for interpretive positions they have come to hold after closely reading their texts. To help students learn to write thesis-driven, formal, academic papers interacting with literature. To help students revise and refine their individual literary judgments by immersing themselves in two or more critical perspectives around a literary text (or part of one).

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1) Prewriting: After carefully considering all the available and relevant textbook readings and material (including those found in Chs. 7 and 11 of our main textbook), students should choose a short, significant work of literature (probably fictional, but not necessarily) from inside or outside of the textbook and develop two preliminary journal entries following these directions–

Using his or her journal, each student should develop an annotated bibliography. The annotated bibliography (AB) should cite, summarize, and analyze or evaluate (using the CRAAP Test) two of the best sources the student has. The AB will NOT in the end be attached to the paper before submission as the final page of the overall packet. It will remain in the journal. Scholarly material can be found using Google Scholar or the databases available through the Tech library as demonstrated in class.

2) Writing: After preparing their annotated bibliography in their journal, students should draft their interpretive arguments using many of the response skills developed earlier in the class (i.e. summary skills, analytical/evaluative skills) in addition to those of interpretation. The literary response’s introduction should

· summarize the primary text in question. It should help the intended audience value the text at hand and

· Review in brief the relevant secondary research

· explicitly state the student’s interpretive thesis,

· as well as give the reader a clear idea of the shape of the paper in a road map (see template for further details)

In addition to the primary literary source, secondary sources (4-6) should be lightly integrated into the paper and effectively used to interact with the student’s interpretive thesis. To integrate their sources, students should use such skills as direct quotation, paraphrase, and summary. Sources ought to be clearly introduced, wisely used, and frequently applied to the thesis. However, students are NOT writing a research paper, but an argument from their individual point of view as readers.

Moreover, students may consider experimenting with footnotes/endnotes, subheadings, and visuals, or other conventional characteristics of academic writing (i.e. brackets, ellipses, etc.).

3) Revising: After drafting the literary response, students should pass copies of it to their peers in workshop and have those peers respond to their draft copies by examining their literary argument’s clarity, focus, purpose, and thoughtfulness. After workshop, students should consider taking their writing to the Tutoring Center or bringing it in for a conference with their teacher if time allows. If students plan to conference with the teacher, they should send their papers a full day in advance of their conference. Conferences will be held in my office. Each conference will run about 15 minutes.

4) Submitting: After their workshop and/or conference, students should revise and edit their papers before submitting them in hard copy in class.

5) Formatting: The Literary Response should run 4-6 pages in length (double-spaced). All papers must include a Works Cited page in MLA listing at a minimum 4-6 current and credible sources, ideally including at least one book and one journal article held by, or accessible through, the Tech library. The literary response paper is worth 50 points.

Assessment (Not applicable Fall Semester):

1. Purpose statement: This assignment requires students to explicitly situate an argumentative thesis within a larger literary conversation in the introduction of their papers. Also, students are to briefly describe the structure of their papers in the same section.

2. Organization: This assignment requires students to support their argumentative thesis with three reasonable ideas or premises. In making and supporting these three points, the paper is to incorporate pronounced structural elements such as signal phrases, subheadings, and lists, etc.

3. Rhetorical patterns: This assignment requires students to apply rhetorical strategies in defense of their stance. Student ideas should be developed, and examples and evidence should be used effectively. The literary response is persuasive and is NOT merely a research paper.

4. Conventions: This assignment requires students to use formal academic language and conventions. They are to consider audience appeals (especially logos), including the likely effect on audience of employing certain words. Their papers should be grammatically correct, syntactically clear, and stylistically forceful.

5. Sources: This assignment requires students to use a variety of sources, including scholarly sources. They are to effectively integrate scholarly research and other less rigorous material into their argument. They are required to prepare in-text citations and a Works Cited page following MLA.

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