Short Lit Crit Response
This assignment is an introduction to research and incorporating that research into a short written response.
- Choose a strong essay (called a secondary source) about one of the texts we are addressing in class. Use the English Research Guide, find a book of essays in the library (there are plenty), or look at some of the links in the bibliographies on the study guides (under their respective texts). While there are good general resources available on the web, I would advise you against using them, unless you have it approved by me—that includes my own writing on this web site. Before asking, be sure you evaluate the source.
- Read the essay you choose and take notes. What is the critic’s central argument about the text; how does she support that argument? What points does she make that are particularly insightful (or which seem unconvincing)? How does it help you in your understanding of the text?
- Summarize its main points or arguments of the article in no more than a paragraph. Be sure you cite the secondary source correctly with parenthetical citations.
- Respond to the essay and add your own analysis of the text. This is the important part: spend at least a page responding to the essay — do you agree or not? Why? Be sure you use evidence from class discussion and the primary text to support your reading.
Responses should be no more than two pages and formatted correctly using MLA format. Please review “Writing in the Liberal Arts” and implement these conventions when writing about literature. Errors will cost you points.