ASSIGNMENT OBJECTIVE & DESCRIPTION:
In Ways of Reading, D. Bartholomae and A. Petrosky argue that “strong readers…remake what they read to serve their own ends” by connecting readings to other examples, finding relationships, and explaining that which is problematic, difficult, or not obvious (12). With this statement in mind, the purpose of this essay assignment is to “test” one or more of the ideas presented in “Afterword” in Points of View: An Anthology of Short Stories (586-602) in the context of one of the stories covered in this course. Your essay begins with an idea generated in the afterword, in which the anthology editors, Moffett and McElheny, explain their organization of short fiction, trace the historical arc of fiction, and explore storytelling’s role in human discourse and learning. You may choose to read with or against an idea in “Afterword.” You must also consult at least two (2) external sources to enrich and support your argument. (See below for acceptable and unacceptable sources.) To begin, read “Afterword” actively, underlining or highlighting interesting and/or confusing passages and looking up definitions of unfamiliar words or terms to gain greater understanding. Then select one of the short stories assigned in this course if you haven’t decided. Pick one that most interests you, touches you in some way, provokes comment, and/or inspires deeper thinking. Although this assignment is due before we discuss all of the stories, it is well worth your while to read, or at least skim, ahead. You may just find “The Suicides of Private Greaves” (Moffett, 522-548), the last story in our reading list, to be the story you appreciate the most. In your essay, you are required, at minimum, to do the following (consider this a checklist): Give your essay a distinctive title. It should not be merely the title of your selected story, but it can include its title. Suggested ideas include using a quotation or some phrase from the story, or a spin on the story, i.e. “My Side of In Cold Blood” or “If He Doesn’t Telephone Me, I’ll Know God is Angry.”
In your introduction, broadcast your intention clearly. Begin with a hook: one or two sentences, a question, or a quotation that draws your reader’s interest towards the position you plan to take. The introduction should identify the story’s title, author, and original date of publication (found in “Acknowledgments,” (605). Refer directly and clearly to the idea(s) in “Afterword” that you choose. Use direct quotes or paraphrase key points. Integrate them grammatically into your sentences, rather than in isolation.