Major Assignments


For each of your four major writing assignments you will be responsible for writing a three to five page paper in which you interpret the text(s) assigned for each unit through the lens of one of the ten forms of literary criticism discussed in class using either explication, analysis, or comparison and contrast. (See this handout for an explanation of the three basic approaches to literary analysis). Please be sure to include direct quotations from the text under review. For further information on lenses, or schools, of literary criticism, click here. Or, you can visit the course "Resources" page.

For instance, you could write a gender analysis of the theme of black male identity in Coates' Between the World and Me, asking yourself what definition of black manhood Coates is working out through his text; a formalist analysis of the use of letters in Alice Walker's The Color Purple in which you consider the ways in which letter-writing provides a more detailed portrait of Celie's inner-world than a first-person narration would; or a historical analysis comparing and contrasting the historical backdrop shaping Coates' work and those shaping Baldwin's work, and how each context shapes a story unique to the respective authors.

Essays should be typed in MLA format, including a Works Cited page and parenthetical citations. Rough drafts of each paper, regardless of where you are in your writing process, should be typed and printed for in-class work-shopping the session before each final draft is due unless class is canceled.

For due dates, please refer to the Course Schedule

For the Assessment Rubric, click here