Homework Prompts

Answer the following prompts on a separate sheet of paper. Your responses should be between 5 and 8 sentences long (about half a page, handwritten or typed double-spaced). Write your name and the class date on the paper, and bring your answers to class.

Fri, 8.30 – John Donne, “The Flea” and “Womens Constancy”;

  • Summarize the speaker’s main dilemma in “The Flea”.

Tues, 9.3 –Shakespeare. As You Like It, Act 1:

  • Summarize the main conflicts from Act 1.

Fri, 9.6 – Shakespeare. As You Like It, Act 2:

  • How would you describe Touchstone’s impact in the play so far? How does his character contribute to the way you read the story?

Tues, 9.10 – Shakespeare. As You Like It, Act 3:

  • What do you make of Silvius and Phoebe’s relationship? What’s your impression of them?

Fri, 9.13 – Shakespeare. As You Like It, Act 4:

  • Pick a scene from this act that you found most interesting and explain why using textual detail.

Tues, 9.17 – Shakespeare. As You Like It, Act 5:

  • Which couple in the play do you find most compelling, thought-provoking, or entertaining? Explain why you are particularly interested in them.

Fri, 9.20 – Beckman, Margaret B., “The Figure of Rosalind In As You Like It

  • What is the main argument in Beckman’s essay? Try to summarize it in a short paragraph.

Tues, 9.24 –Sample Close Reading Essay; Writing Day:

  • bring working thesis and quotes to class:
    • A “working thesis” is thesis statement in progress that you are using to guide your paper’s overall argument. It does not need to be perfectly articulated at this point. Keep your working theses between one and two sentences.
    • A list of quotes, including at least 5 quotes, that you would use in your paper. If the quote is more than two lines you do not have to write down the whole passage, just the first and last line of the passage. You should cite the quotes using MLA format: the Act in capital roman numerals, the scene in lowercase roman numerals, and the line number(s), all enclosed by a parenthesis. For example: (V.iii.1-25) for Act 5, scene three, lines one through twenty five.

Fri, 9.27 – Writing Day;

  • draft of close-reading paper due in class: hardcopy and typed, double spaced.

Tues, 10.1 – NO CLASS

Wednesday, 10.2 – Close Reading Paper:

  • close reading paper due online

Fri, 10.4 – CLASS CANCELLED – teacher is sick

Tues, 10.8 – NO CLASS

Fri, 10.11 – Michael Field, “Preface” and “Antiope”: homework due

  • The Preface asserts that the poet’s job is “to translate into verse what the lines and colours of certain chosen pictures sing in themselves ; to express not so much what these pictures are to the poet, but rather what poetry they objectively incarnate.” Do you think the poet succeeds in this goal with the poem, “Antiope”? Why or why not?

Tues, 10.15 – Woolf, Virginia. Orlando, chapter 1;

  • What is your first impression of Orlando’s character? Do you find him compelling? Why or why not?

Fri, 10.18 – Woolf. Orlando, chapter 2;

  • Come to class with one idea, question, or quote from the reading. Try to write down what sticks with you the most, either because you love it, hate it, or are confused by it. You might use this as an opportunity to probe a character, event or theme that you find compelling in the chapter. Or you might simply copy down a quote that interests or confuses you. Or, you might think up a question that would provoke discussion and even debate among your peers. Here are some sample questions:
    • Why does the narrator skip over so much time without explaining what happens during that time?
    • What does it mean for Orlando’s character growth in this chapter when it says he’s “done with men”? (70-71).

Tues, 10.22 – Woolf. Orlando, chapter 3;

  • Like last class, your assignment is to note something interesting about the chapter. This time, you will be creating an annotation on the digital version of the chapter, using the Hypothes.is digital annotation tool.
    • Pick out the passage/excerpt from the text that’s relevant to your topic when making your annotation.
    • Your annotation should include a discussion question that would provoke thought and debate among your classmates. You can connect this question to a larger theme from the novel, or contribute a new theme.
    • Make sure to select our class group at the top of the annotation sidebar before making your annotation.

Tues, 10.22 — annotation paper 1 due online Tuesday night at midnight

Fri, 10.25 – Woolf. Orlando, chapter 4;

  • Like the last couple of classes, your assignment is to note a compelling moment in your reading of the chapter, and briefly explain your interest on the digital version of the chapter, under our class group. Take this opportunity to explore questions and themes of interest in preparation for your research paper.
    • I also encourage you to use this opportunity to engage in a dialogue with a classmate about the text. You could post a question, comment, or idea for discussion in response to one of your classmate’s posts.

Tues, 10.29 – Woolf. Orlando, chapter 5;

  • Consider the large space break in the middle of the conversation between Orlando and Shel, following the line “For which reasons we leave a great blank here, which must be taken to indicate that the space is filled to repletion” (Woolf 186).
    • Why does the narrator include the space break, and how might the space break engage with the themes of language, biography, gender, or society? Take some risks in your speculations here.

Fri 11.1 – Woolf. Orlando, chapter 6;

  • Annotate a compelling moment in your reading of chapter 6, and explain your interest. Use this as an opportunity to think about a theme that speaks to you, or speak to a classmate (using the “reply” button) about something that’s mutually engaging.

Sunday 11.3 – annotation paper 2 due online at midnight

Tues, 11.5 – Micir, Melanie. “Queer Timing of Orlando: A Biography; Channing, Jill. & “Magical Realism and Gender Variability in Orlando”;

  • Pick one of the above articles, and summarize the main argument. How does the author suggest that we read the novel? What is the intervention this author is trying to make in the way we interpret the story of Orlando?

Fri, 11.8 – Writing Day: Research Papers

  • proposal for research paper due in class. In your proposal, indicate which prompt you will be responding to (from the Research Papers assignment page), why you are interested in this topic, what themes you want to discuss, and a list of scenes or moments from the book you will be using for evidence. The proposal should be less than a page long.

Tues, 11.12 – Junot Diaz, “Alma” from This Is How You Lose Her; outlines due

  • Research paper outline due in class, handwritten or typed. In your outline, include your chosen prompt, your working thesis and a list of points you want to make. Each point should include a central claim and evidence from the text, referencing page numbers or chapters.

Fri, 11.15 – Writing Day: Peer Review;

  • first draft of research paper due in class — five pages, double-spaced, typed & printed

Tues, 11.19 – Writing Day: “Shitty First Drafts” and Sample Essay 1: homework due

  • From the first sample essay, identify one aspect about the essay that you find really effective and one thing than can be improved. You can talk about Argument, Organization, Evidence, Style, or whatever else you noticed while reading the essay.

Fri, 11.22 – Junot Diaz, “Miss Lora” from This Is How You Lose Her

  • Gather all of the feedback you have received from me so far this semester, and bring a copy of that feedback to class. You can just copy and paste my end note from your papers on a separate document. There is no need to print it out, as long as you can access the document on your phone/tablet.

Tues, 11.26 – Writing Day; Close Reading & Organization: bring Reverse Outline to class

  • Your homework is to bring to class two documents: first, a printed out body paragraph that you want to workshop in class (your selected body paragraph must not exceed two pages); second, a Reverse Outline, either printed or written out by hand. Instructions for composing your reverse outline are below:
    • Read your paper, start to finish.
    • For every paragraph, including the introduction, write one sentence or phrase that summarizes the claim of that paragraph (for the intro paragraph, this sentence should be your thesis). For the body paragraphs, each sentence should not simply copy out your topic sentence. You need to find a new way to re-phrase the main point of the paragraph. This re-phrasing is an essential part of the exercise.
    • Write these sentences on separate sheet of paper. When you are finished, you should have a list of sentences, in order of the paragraphs in your paper.


Tues, 12.3 – Kristen Roupenian, “Cat Person“; Style & Secondary Sources: second draft of research paper due on Googledocs

Fri, 12.6 – Peer Review Online (do not come to class!)

Tues, 12.10 – Review Day for Final Exam;

Friday, 12.13 – final research paper due online by midnight