close-reading-paragraph-assignment (1).pdf - EH 212 Grimes Close Reading Clear Writing Assignment This assignment addresses two important challenges for

close-reading-paragraph-assignment (1).pdf - EH 212 Grimes...

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EH 212 / Grimes Close Reading, Clear Writing Assignment This assignment addresses two important challenges for students of literature: Jumping to conclusions . One of the challenges of understanding, enjoying, and perhaps even being enlightened by literature is an impulse to see some "deep meaning" before really noticing all the potentially meaningful elements of a literary work. We read, say, a Dickinson poem or a Dickens novel and we immediately jump to the big question: "What is the meaning, the value, the significance of this work?" Often, we try to come up with some answer to this question before really attending to the details of the work itself, and this can lead to very partial, unpersuasive, and inaccurate claims about the work. Writing about literature . A second challenge for students of literature involves the structure of a typical literature class. Often, we will read and discuss a literary work in class, and this activity can sometimes be boring and sometimes enjoyable, sometimes frustrating and sometimes illuminating. Whatever their feelings about the class and the discussion, students typically come out of a class session with a richer understanding of and appreciation for the literary work. This is exactly what should happen in a literature class. But there is often a problem with such classes: Students' grades are often based not so much on the readings and discussions as on various writing assignments (exam and exercise responses, literature papers, and so on). Writing about literature is a different kind of skill than reading and discussion, but the technique of writing typically does not get the same sort of emphasis in a literature class where the primary focus is more properly on reading and discussion. The result can be a mismatch between the content of the class and the assessment of student grades. The present assignment should help with both of these challenges. The assignment itself is somewhat unusual, so please read this document carefully and ask if you have questions. Key points: The assignment will require you to write a series of eight paragraph-length (>250 words) descriptions of passages from the literature we will be reading and discussing in class. I will assign at least 12 specific passages as the semester progresses (approximately one each week). You will be able to choose among these passages as best fits your own interests and schedule.
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