This essay will ask you to revise one of your two brief analytic essays into a larger, more fully-developed argument, incorporating secondary material from peer-reviewed critical essays as you do so. I will be happy to schedule individual meetings with any of you who would like such a consultation, but I want here to touch on several of the key features that you should think about in planning your essays.
1) First of all, while I am happy to meet with you and/or discuss your ideas via e-mail, I do NOT read preliminary drafts. The most I will do in terms of reading drafts is to read and give feedback on one paragraph of your choosing. But I am quite happy to have a conversation with you about your ideas.
2) You will be choosing between expanding your essay about a novel or expanding your essay about a short story; there will be advantages and disadvantages to either choice, and it is a good idea to think about both possibilities a bit before making your choice.
3) Do not think of this as simply "adding to" the paper you submitted earlier. Almost invariably, your best strategy will entail a significant re-thinking of your essay, in light both of the comments you received on it and additional thinking you have done.
4) In many cases, such re-thinking might lead you to an argument that is dramatically different than your earlier paper. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT. You are not committed to anything you wrote previously.
5) You will want to read some literary criticism (I recommend reading two or three essays) and incorporate what you learn from those essays into your revised essay, documenting with quotation and appropriate citation as you do so.
6) At the end of this message, I will list appropriate essays that you might want to consider that are available in the required texts for the course.
7) Beyond those sources, I encourage you to use the link to "Research Help" in the left-hand column of this page. That should direct you to a link to the University Library One Search feature. In One Search, you should be able to find many possible articles simply by typing the title of the work you are writing about in the search bar and then browsing the results.
8) ONLY use secondary materials that are identified as published in an "Academic Journal." Such essays have been subjected to peer review.
9) Make sure you have an idea of what you want to argue for BEFORE you begin your secondary research. You don't want to simply follow other people's thoughts, but you might want to reconsider your argument after you have read others.
10) Whether you decide to change your argument, or try to strengthen it in ways that respond to what you read in the criticism, or include the criticism that you read as supporting an argument you have made, in any of those cases you should imagine that your audience includes those critics whose work you have read. You are joining a conversation with them, and trying to persuade them to consider your ideas.
Again, I am very happy to meet with you or consult with you by e-mail about your ideas and how to develop them fully. This is an important assignment, and I want you to do well on it. Here are some critical works that would be appropriate to use in working on your essay.
From the Fourth Norton Critical Edition of Pride and Prejudice, edited by Gray and Favret, ANY of the essays found between pages 314 and 401.
From the Eleventh Edition of An Introduction to Fiction (Kennedy and Gioia):
Louise Cowan's essay on "Revelation" 415-17;
any of the essays on "The Yellow Wallpaper," 450-455;
any of the essays on "Everyday Use," 464-470
Daniel Watkins's essay on "The Rocking Horse Winner" 698.
These selections above from the Introduction to Fiction are only excerpts of essays, so you may very well want to search One Search for other critical essays that will give you more to work with.
Remember, that a major goal of this essay is not just to write more, but to develop your own thoughts more fully. Challenge yourself to be precise and also to pursue the implications of your arguments. Give yourself the time to write yourself into, and then revise yourself out of, difficult positions. That is how we learn. No one will ever teach you more than you will teach yourself, when you challenge yourself to be thorough in your writing.
Revising and Expanding the Long Essay
For your final long essay assignment, I want you to revise and expand one of your earlier brief analysis essays, either the one about a short story, or the one about Pride and Prejudice. Your revised, expanded essay will re-conceive of your earlier essay, responding to the feedback you have received by significantly developing your argument; in some cases, you may want to change the argument dramatically. You will also incorporate into your new argument material from the reading you have done on the list of critical essays that I have posted under “Resources.”
When you read critical essays, you are neither looking to agree or disagree with everything those essays say. Think, instead, of criticism as an ongoing conversation, in which you are going to take part—what you have to say should be your own ideas, but you should express those ideas in ways that converse with the other criticism you have read and find worthy of respect. Just as in a respectful conversation, you want to acknowledge where you find yourself benefiting from what someone else has said, and then asking them to consider what you have to say in response. So choose to incorporate material from essays based on whether or not you have something to say in response to what you have read.
There are going to be TWO phases to this assignment. In the first phase, you will write a one-paragraph proposal in which you describe the essay you are going to write; in the second phase you will actually write the essay.
The one-paragraph proposal will follow a very simple and direct formula: in the first sentence you will say which brief analytic essay you are going to revise; in the second sentence, you will