We’ll be reading eight novels this semester; you’ll respond to five of them in writing. Everyone
will write a response to Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. You must complete two more of your
choice before Fall Break (Oct. 19) and two more after.
In part, these response papers are intended to help create some momentum before class
discussion—we tend to be more comfortable talking when we have prepared some ideas in
writing. And, in part, these papers offer you a separate space to explore points that are of
particular interest to you, the plot points, thematic elements, character development, and so on
that catch your attention.
It’s also important to note what these papers are not: They are not plot summaries. They are not
observations. They are not a chance to rehash our class discussions. They also are not meant
to be considerations of personal experiences or extrapolations of events portrayed in the novels.
Instead, I’m hoping to read fresh insights about and thoughtful analyses of the texts, literary
arguments supported by textual evidence.
You are not required to consult outside sources for these papers, but you may if you feel that
doing so will help you make your argument more clearly or persuasively. These outside sources
can include those readings we’ll be doing for class, material you’ve encountered in other
classes, or the results of research you undertake on your own. In any case, remember to use
proper punctuation and citations for any material from the primary or any secondary sources.
You’ll be submitting your response papers online via Blackboard. You must submit a
response paper about a given novel by the beginning of class on the last day that we are
scheduled to discuss that novel, and you may only submit one Response Paper per
novel. You’re responsible for keeping up with how many you’ve done and how many you have
left to do. Each paper is worth 7% of your total grade; all five together make up 35% of your final
Each response paper must:
• be approximately 2-3 pages in length;
• respond to a part of the text that has not yet been discussed in class;
• advance a clear thesis and support it with specific textual evidence;
• follow MLA style for document design and citations.
• Even if you’re only citing the novel itself, you still need to include in-text citations and a
Works Cited entry. See me if you have any questions about MLA style!
• I’m happy to discuss your ideas with you at any point during the drafting process.
• See the syllabus for the last days to submit response papers for each text.