Essays on Medium

Shannon Brown, Redefining Killer in Killer Whale

Kody Clark, Fahrenheit 451’s Dystopian Reality

Lindsey Cohen, Marketing in the Grey Area

Cassidy Crawford, Body Positive or Body Shaming?

Sarah Ripley Forsyth, A Story of Starvation

Kaylynn Hanna, The Wonderful Wizarding World

Jihad Holmes, Where Does It End?

Alexandria Miller, A Transfer of Consciousness

Marissa Norris, Investigating Ambiguity

Zac Olsen, Harry Potter: Sexism or Over-Analyzing?

Sofia Romero, Mirroring in Frankenstein

Rachel Rosen, A “Beautiful” Suicide

Justin Rosenberg, We Create Our Own Destiny

Caila Scarpitti, Who Was Harry Potter Written For?

Joe Schwab, Digital Communication: With ‘Friends’

Tiffany Sewell, Blackfish: Whale Tales or Truth?

Laura Statts, The Analysis of Fear

Casey Stum, Violence in the Wool Industry

Liam Sullivan, Hitchens’ Claim

Toan Tran, Saving Private Ryan: Anti-War or Pro-War?


Digitizing Essay Two (p8)

For your final assignment for this course, I’d like you to revise your second essay in ways that make thoughtful use of the affordances of writing in a digital space. An affordance is something that a particular medium allows you to do easily or well. The affordances of digital writing include

  • incorporating images into your writing;
  • linking directly to other online texts;
  • quoting audio or video clips in your essay; and
  • adding audio or video clips that you have produced to your essay.

Your task is to use some of these affordances to revise and re-present your second essay on I will be especially impressed if the changes or additions you make lead to some new writing. That is, if you insert an image into your essay, don’t let it just sit there, comment on it, analyze it. If you link to other texts, tell us what it is you want us to notice about them. If you use audio or video, be thoughtful in editing the clip; go right to the moment in the song or film that you want to focus our attention on.

Be creative. Take some risks. If I think your essay is improved by the changes you make, I will raise your grade for e2d3. But if you try something and it doesn’t work—no worries, your grade won’t be affected.

To post your work to Medium, you will need to set up a free account on the site. I will walk you through the actual mechanics of posting in class—it’s straightforward and easy—and we’ll also look at some examples of what other writers have done on the site. I’ve also posted a brief set of hints on Formatting on Medium. I hope that, like me, you’ll find Medium an elegant and appealing platform for writing.

Please post your essay sometime before our final class at 12:30 on Tuesday, 5/17. Please email me the link to your essay, and please bring your laptop with you to class. We will take some time to view the work you have all done in a kind of electronic “arcade”.

Essay Two, Final (e2d3)

The final version of your second essay for this course (e2d3) is due on Wednesday, 5/11, at 11:00 am.  Please post this piece to your individual folder on Google Drive.

You have worked on this piece for several weeks, so my expectations for your writing are high. I will look for an essay that adds to the critical conversation about a text that you have read closely, that is written in a clear and personal style, and that has been carefully crafted, edited, and proofread.

Please also make sure your essay includes the following back matter:

  • Acknowledgments: Write a few sentences in which you thank the people who have helped you write this piece. These might include your TA, the members of your workshop group, Writing Center tutors, roommates, friends, family members, and any other persons who have read your writing or talked about your ideas with you. This is a time to be generous.
  • Author’s Note: Write a brief account of how you developed this essay. How did the piece change and grow as you worked on it? What parts do you now feel most proud of?
  • References: You must include a list of references to the works you discuss in your essay. You may use any standard documentation style (e.g., APA, Chicago, MLA) that you feel comfortable with.  But make sure you include the four key elements (author, date, title, location or publisher) of a citation that we have discussed in class.

Mark off each of these sections with a subheading .

Finally, be professional: Proofread. Carefully. Make sure your references are complete and your links work. This is the time to fuss the details. You want the final form of your text to clearly show the hard work you have put into it.

I’m eager to read your essay! I will use the same form as before in grading your work. Good luck!

Responding to Drafts (2)

To prepare for Thursday’s workshop, I’d like you to read and respond to your group members’ drafts in much the same way you did with Essay One. Namely,

Please download the drafts posted by the other two members of your writing group. Read through each carefully, and then write some comments to the author modeled on the notes I have written in response to your early drafts. Specifically,

  • State what you see as the aim of the piece.
  • Note what works well so far. Point to moments in the draft that strike you as particularly interesting, provoking, well-argued, nicely illustrated, or the like.
  • Suggest one or two ways in which the writer might develop, extend, refine, or rethink their piece. This is not a time to offer advice on editing, proofreading, or other matters of style and correctness. Try instead to point to work the writer can do to take the piece to the next level.
  • Address the writer by name and sign yours.

You can simply type this note to the author at the top of the document.

(See Responding to Drafts for more details.)

But I’d also like you to do a little more with these pieces.  After you’ve written your note, please go back through the draft and locate three or four moments where the author might do the sort of work in revision that you are suggesting. Use the Insert Comments function of Word to highlight these passages, and write a few comments outlining what you think the author should do.

Save your comments by adding your initials to the title of the document (e.g., “Tran e2d1 jh.docx”) and re-uploading it to your Group folder.  As before, I’d like to work with print copies during our Thursday workshop. So please print out a copy of each piece with your comments on it and bring them with you to class. Also print out a clean copy of your own draft. These texts will count as your exit tickets.



Critical Texts (p6)

Your task for next week is to create a list of at least five possible critical texts for your second essay. The rule is that each of these texts must in some way comment on the focal text you are writing about.

Begin by locating an actual copy—print, pdf, url—of each text. Read them. Then create a list of references, alphabetized by author. (Use Chicago author-date, unless you feel more comfortable with another documentation style.)

Next, add notes to each reference. In each note you need to do three things:

  • Summarize how this critic comments on your focal text.
  • Describe how you might respond to or draw on the views of this critic.
  • Quote a brief passage from the text that you might use in your essay.

Please post your p6 to your Google Drive folder by 11:00 am on Monday, 4/11.

My goal in p5 and p6 is to help you create a good set of materials to use in drafting your second essay. I will ask you to meet one-to-one with me on Wed, 4/13, or Thurs, 4/14, to talk about your plans for your essay.

The first draft of that essay will be due on Mon, 4/18. Do the work now that will put you in a position to write a strong draft!

Focal Text (p5)

When you return from Spring Break, I would like you to have identified the text you want to write about for Essay Two.Please obtain a physical copy of this text and bring it with you to class on Tuesday, 4/05.  Please also write a brief note (500 words or so) in which you explain what interests you‚what draws you to writing about—this text.

Please do not tell me that you are interested in this text because of its subject or topic. We can assume that. What I need to know now, what you need to define for yourself, is what interests you in the approach of this text takes to its topic. Think in terms of how more than what, of authors more than characters or subjects.

And so, for instance, if you were to decide to write about the recent movie Martian, a good reason for doing so would not be that you are interested  in the topic of space exploration. Rather, you’d want to say something about what the author of the film—in this case, its director, Ridley Scott—says about space exploration, isolation, adventure. You’d want, that is, to write about how this film feels different from your everyday space epic.

In your next piece,(p6), I will ask you to locate some critical texts—other writers who have also commented on your focal text (the Statlers and Waldorfs to your Fozzie Bear). So you will need to pick a text that others have written about. But you don’t have to worry about those other critics just yet. But you do need to define, in fairly specific terms, why your text might be an interesting focus of an essay. As a spur to get you to do so, let me add this technical requirement to your writing: You must quote and analyze at least two different passages from your focal text. You should not quote simply in order to summarize your text. Quote passages instead that suggest what draws you to this text, what you find intriguing or provoking or compelling about it—and then explain why you have chosen those passages.

Please post your p5 to your Google Drive folder by 11:00 am on Monday, 4/04. Include a full citation for your focal text (including a URL if it is on the web), and make sure you identify—by page number or time stamp—the passages you quote from it. Again, please bring a copy of this text with you to class on Tuesday, 4/05.

Don’t think of this piece as a draft of your second essay. What you need to do is gather materials for that essay. What’s really important, then, is not that you produce polished prose for this assignment, but that you locate a text you want to work with over the next several weeks—and that you think you will have some interesting things to say about.





Writing With Woolf (e1d3)

The final draft of your first full essay for this course is due this Friday, 3/25, at 11:00 am. Please post this piece to your Google Drive folder. I will send you the grade for this essay during Spring Break.

As you know, your task in this assignment is to write an “essay in the mode of Virginia Woolf”. (See Essay One.) We’ve talked a lot over the past several weeks about what it might mean to write “with” Woolf, and I’ve been pleased and excited to see the many different ways all of you have tried to do so. Allow me, then, to simply specify some of the technical requirements of your final essay:

  • Your essay should be at least 1,500 words long. It may be longer. If you have more to say, don’t worry about length.
  • Make sure your essay contains the necessary paratext: Name, date, assignment, and title on the first page; a running head with your last name, short title, and page numbers on the subsequent pages.
  • Please include an Acknowledgments section in which you thank the people who have helped you conceive, draft, and revise your essay.
  • Please include an Author’s Note in which you discuss how you have adopted and adapted Woolf in your writing.
  • Be professional. Copy-edit and proofread your prose. Carefully. Document your sources. Include a list of references or works cited if you quote or refer to other works.

Good luck! I look forward to reading the final version of your essay!