Reading Response

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The response must be 3 double-spaced pages in length.

It must be a thoughtful, tightly focused, and carefully proofread piece of writing that examines a particular aspect of a novel of your choice (out of the 4 novels provided for you at the bottom of this page). N.b., you may wish to concentrate on a specific section of the novel (i.e., one book, chapter, or episode), but if you do so, please be sure that your Response demonstrates your understanding of the larger work.

Research is not required or expected. Your own ideas and interpretations are what count for this assignment. In every other respect, however, please approach the Reading Responses as mini essays. Advance a clear argument (thesis) about the novel, support your claims with textual evidence, and take the opportunity to engage in some close textual analysis. Please use MLA- style in-text citations and format the assignment according to MLA guidelines.

Possible approaches include (but are not limited to) the following:

You may:

  • – explore how a specific theme operates in the novel
  • – examine the role and significance of the setting or the imagery or a literary device
  • – examine the representation and role of a particular character
  • – discuss the manner of narration and/or the writing style and its effect
  • – discuss the use of a particular convention
  • – discuss the novel in terms of a social context or issue
  • – compare the novel with an earlier one we have considered (focus on a specific point of comparison)
  • – or address any aspect of the novel that you find interesting and thought provoking. If you wish, you may use one or both of your Responses as starting points for the Essays. If you choose to develop ideas from one of your Responses in a later essay, be sure that you expand on the ideas you presented in the Response in a significant way. (Do not simply repeat sentences and ideas.) Although you are free to write about whichever texts you choose, you must submit each Response during the week when the text you’ve chosen to discuss is covered in lecture and no later than the Wednesday after the lecture. Participation Component: In the same week that you submit your Response you must (1) post a condensed (one or two- paragraph) summary of your argument in the Discussion Forum for that week and participate in

The tone of your summary and posts may be informal but your ideas should be expressed in full, clear sentences and should demonstrate that you have read, and thought carefully about, the texts that you are discussing.

Novels Choice:

Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe (Oxford World’s Classics)

Samuel Richardson, Pamela; or, Virtue Rewarded (Oxford World’s Classics)

Henry Fielding, Tom Jones (Oxford World’s Classics)

Horace Walpole, The Castle of Otranto (Oxford World’s Classics)

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