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English 273 Short Critique Papers Specs
To dig deeper into the process of interpreting literature, write a short paper making an interpretative argument over one of the week’s readings. The goal is to offer your insights, reactions, and interpretations of the meaning and significance of a piece literature. You want to make an arguable claim and briefly explain and support it. These short papers will help you generate ideas for your longer papers and record your thoughts throughout the semester.
Papers will be graded pass/fail. To receive credit, each paper must meet all these specifications:
● Papers are due electronically on Moodle by midnight of the last day of that class week, and must be over the literature for the week; you may not write about the historical introductions, or in-class example readings. Late papers are not accepted unless you use a Token.
● Papers should follow correct MLA formatting for headings, titles, and page numbers.
● Papers must be mostly free of distracting mechanical errors such as subject-verb agreement problems, inadequate proofreading, or incorrect or missing punctuation. There should be few if any serious grammatical errors, such as fragments, run-ons, and comma splices..
● There is no firm length requirement, but you must write at least one healthy paragraph (that’s 4-5 sentences) doing each of the following:
1. Briefly summarize the text by giving a quick overview of the story or poem’s setting, characters, and main plot points. You should cover who the major characters are, what the setting is, what the main conflict is as you see it, and what the resolution is.
2. Offer your interpretation: What themes, oppositions, and/or repetitions are there? In other words, what’s one thing you think the text argues? Be sure to give supporting evidence: what in the text supports your interpretation and backs up your claims? Cite specific passages using the author’s last name and page or line numbers in MLA citation format. No works cited page is needed.
3. Explore possible literary contexts: Do you see any similarities in style or content to other pieces you’ve read in or out of this class? Still nothing? How about movies or TV shows? Or is any historical or biographical knowledge help out here?
4. How would you critique the ideas in the text? Do you agree or disagree–or some of both–with the worldview the text presents? Or are you not sure what to make of it; has the text led you to questions you hadn’t considered before?