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Basically the first half of this 800 word essay is a summary of the article in the title, and then the second half needs to be a response to a point made in the article. Here are some instructions from the outline.
Step 2:Read the essay and do your best to understand it. Underline what interests, puzzles, or confuses you; disagree (with your own counter evidence from the text) when possible. The TAs will lead you through a discussion of the article you have been assigned, so be prepared to participate actively. (I would expect this discussion to happen in tutorials on March 13th and 14th, but ask your TAs; some may want to get a jump on things on March 6th and 7th.)
Step 3:Write the paper.
The paper will be in two parts. The first half should be a summary of the essay you have been assigned to read. This should be largely in your own words. If you do use a quotation, it should be absolutely necessary. Be sure, though, to attribute ideas to their author by using attributive tags (“Britton argues”; “Dussinger suggests”). The summary should both give a general gist of the whole essay—highlighting the thesis especially— and focus on some aspect of the essay in particular. That aspect will then provide a context for the response half of the paper. Given that the whole paper is about 2.5-3 pages long, you might separate the general from the more specific by making each a paragraph.
The response should engage with one quotation from the article specifically, using that quotation as a jumping off point for your own extension or complication of, or counter to, the scholar’s argument. You must use evidence from Frankenstein (the novel) in your response. If you use the same evidence that the scholar uses in her or his argument, you must be treating it in a different way. Otherwise, you should be using evidence that is not included in the scholarly essay to which you are responding. I would anticipate that this would be approximately two paragraphs, with the first paragraph leading with some kind of argument. The “thesis” thus will not be in its usual position (at the end of the first paragraph), but rather somewhere in the opening sentences of the response.
Words of Advice:
Responding to a scholarly article can be daunting. These are scholars who have devoted their lives to doing this sort of work. They have done extensive research, often archival, and they undoubtedly know the text well. You are not expected to do any outside research (beyond locating and reading the essay you have been assigned), so you may
wonder how you could counter or extend the scholar’s argument. Your TAs will give you
some guidance here, so bring your questions to tutorial, but please note a few cautions:
1. “Liking” or “agreeing with” the essay is not a “response.” If you do feel this way, try to
take the scholar’s argument further by applying it to a case that the essay doesn’t
consider—or at least to a quotation that the author doesn’t cite.
2. “Disliking” is also not really a response, though it is possibly more promising. The
purpose of the response here is to say something interesting about Frankenstein, not (or at least not primarily) about you. You can certainly put yourself in the paper (use “I” for example), but the purpose of that inclusion should still be to say something about the text. If you do have a strongly negative response to the essay, though, explore why, as this may be a prelude to having a more interesting thought about the text.
Ultimately, in addition to the summary and response, the paper should have a title (something more specific and catchy than “Assignment #4” or “summary and response paper” or the like) and a works cited that includes—at minimum—the scholarly article and the novel, cited using MLA style.
Your paper will be evaluated on:
? Accuracy and elegance of the summary
? Interest, sophistication, and persuasiveness of the response
? Well developed paragraphs with logical paragraph breaks
? Elegant integration of judiciously selected quotations
? Sentence level grammar, spelling, and style
? Correct use of MLA style
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