Homework Assignments

Reading Load: Keeping up with the assigned reading is vital for success.  If you consistently come to class prepared, doing well in the course will follow naturally.  You will get much more out of each class period; understand, enjoy, and contribute to the class discussions more frequently; be able to ask questions or express concerns befitting your personal experience or learning style when those issues are addressed by the rest of the class; and ultimately perform better on the exams and other assignments with considerably less effort.  A class period spent listening to everyone else discuss a story that you have not actually read, however, is a class period wasted in needless boredom and frustration.  Coming unprepared is not just unpleasant or unproductive for you as an individual, but unfair to the other students who depend on your unique perspective and insight when working in small groups. 

Because doing the reading in a timely fashion is so essential for your success and that of the class as a whole, you will be asked to leave and marked absent if you come to class unprepared to discuss the assigned readings.  Since you can only have a limited number of absences over the span of the term, lack of preparation can jeopardize your ability to pass the class. 

Homework: Make sure to turn in homework on time; namely, by the due date or, if you have been absent, by the day when you return to class.  Some homework, such as lists of literary devices, cannot be made up even when you are absent because designed for in-class activities and serving little purpose after the due date.  You can make up any of the responses (described below) for 75% of the original credit—or for 100% of the original credit if you have been absent—so long as you turn them in before the end of each section.  In addition, you can do up to two extra-credit responses (described below) to make up for the other missed homework.

Responses are informal written reactions to the readings of at least 300 words, or roughly two full paragraphs, either handwritten or typed.  Mechanical elements of writing do not matter so much as conveying your ideas about the literature and expressing your position freely and openly.  Feel free to go over the word limit if you are inclined to do so.  Longer or more engaged responses will enhance your participation grade, enable you to get more feedback, and better prepare you for the exams.

Exams: Detailed guidelines will be posted online at least a week before the two exams (see /exam1.htm and /exam2.htm).  The first exam will consist of the following: 1) a brief true-false section on the short stories assigned during Section I, worth 15%; 2) a short-answer section applying the literary concepts and terminology to the fiction, worth 30%; and finally, 3) an essay on three of the short stories, worth 55%.  For the last section, you will be provided the essay question and even prepare your outline in advance.  You will be able to refer to that outline, though not to the texts themselves, during the exam.

The second exam will cover more material and thus be worth more percentage points, but it will only have the first and third sections; namely, the true-false questions (worth 30%) and the essay (worth 70%).  The latter will compare and contrast the two novels (Lolita and Kindred) on a topic of your own choosing.  You will design the essay question on your own, referring to an outline prepared in advance as with the first exam.

Essay: The four-page comparison-contrast essay will be a close reading and critical analysis of two short stories: that which you select for the class presentation and another in the 40 Short Stories anthology not covered during the first section.  You could thus do a comparison and contrast between the story that your group presented on and that which another group presented on, or you could do the same with your group’s story and another in the anthology that no group has covered.  See the Guidelines on the Presentation and Essay (/essay.htm) for further information.

Extra-Credit Responses: You can do up to TWO of the following to improve your grade in the class:

·        Response on a Short Story: the story must be located in the 40 Short Stories anthology, but not assigned as reading for the course.  (Search the schedule online to be sure: /sched.htm).  You can discuss some of the literary techniques that the author employs and/or compare and contrast a story of your choice to one of the other stories covered in class (perhaps as a way to prepare for your essay).  (up to 15 points)

·        Response on a Relevant Film or Current Event: If you are reminded of issues addressed in this course outside of class, feel free to explore those thoughts more deeply in a response.  For instance, if some film or current event of especial interest to you seems reminiscent of the fiction covered in this course, you can write a response to build bridges between the concerns of this class and those of your ordinary life.  (up to 15 points)

·        Response on the Conjectural Response: After I return the conjectural responses at the end of the term, you can write a response on that response, discussing the extent to which your initial expectations and ideas about fiction were (or were not) confirmed by that which you read for this course, taking into account how your appreciation and/or understanding of fiction has changed (or not changed) since the beginning of the term.  (up to 15 points)

Other Extra-Credit Opportunities: In addition to (or instead of) the extra-credit responses described above, you can do an extension of the comparison-contrast essay to six full pages properly formatted.  I will then do one of two things, depending on which most benefits you: either drop an absence, should you have one too many, or increase your final grade by 3%.  To ensure that you have the proper length, double check that your essay has

**  The standard 1-inch margins, not 1¼- inch or 1½-inch margins (sometimes default)

**  Page numbers inserted within the 1-inch margin, not within the body of the essay (do the them by hand, if necessary)

**  Font of only 12 points, and either Times or Times New Roman, throughout the essay

**  No extra spacing besides the double spacing, such as around titles, quotes, or paragraphs