English 227

Guidelines on Essays and Revisions:

The primary goal with the essays is to demonstrate an understanding of the formal nuances of the genre (e.g. fiction, poetry, or drama) and to use that understanding to defend a unique interpretation of the literature that is either in concert with or in contention with an accurate understanding of one of the two critical schools covered in that section of the course. You will ultimately compose three essays and two substantive revisions:

Essay One:

Either a New Critical or Reader Response close reading of the Dinesen short story, or a close reading which is critical of one or the other of those methodologies. 3-4 pgs. Main Skills: Organization & Argumentation. 15% of final grade.

Essay Two:

Either a Marxist or Deconstructive interpretation of the Coleridge poem, or an interpretation which is critical of one or the other of those methodologies. 3-4 pgs. Main Skills: In-Depth Textual Analysis & Effective Quotation. 15% of final grade.

Essay Three:

Either a Feminist or Psychoanalytic interpretation of the Shakespeare play, or an interpretation which is critical of one or the other of those methodologies. 4-5 pgs. Main Skills: Research & Documentation. **This essay must employ at least three outside sources. 20% of final grade.


Revision One:

An extension of Essay One that significantly restructures the original essay to expand or clarify its focus. It should also address and amend complex and recalcitrant mechanical concerns like passive voice or comma splices. See the feedback on Essay One for the organizational or grammatical issues most applicable to your particular essay. Main Skills: Local Revision & Coherence. 4 -4 pgs. 15% of final grade.

Revision Two:

An extension of Essay Two which, along with the kinds of revision mentioned above, incorporates outside research and includes a Works Cited page properly formatted. Main Skills: Engagement with Critics & Close Reading.**This essay must employ at least one outside source. 4 -4 pgs. 15% of final grade.

The shortness of the papers is meant to give you more time to concentrate on polishing the writing; however, for that very reason, it is important to attain the minimum length for each assignment. Writing skills are more effectively enhanced by honing your revising skills than by practicing writing in and of itself. Thus, although you can go over the page limit as much as you like, try to focus on fine tuning what you already have rather than on adding more.

Important Reminders:

I. Format your papers properly and do not attempt to make them look longer than they actually are. To establish a fair standard for all students, every paper must be double spaced in 12-point Times New Roman font, with one-inch margins, with the standard 23 lines per page, and without superfluous indentations or paragraph breaks. Papers must also follow MLA formatting conventions (which we will cover in class), although only the research papers (Revision Two and Essay Three) need to have a Works Cited page.

II. Any paper that is shorter than the required length will be marked down in proportion to the amount of text missing. For instance, a 3-page essay that is supposed to be 3 pages will receive a grade of 86%, or B, at most since it is missing 14% of the required length; if that essay is B quality, it will ultimately receive a 73%, or C-, which is 85% of the possible 86 percentage points.

III. Late papers will drop a third of a grade for each class period late; that is, an A paper will turn into A- if turned in one class period late, an A paper will turn into B+ if turned in two class periods late, and so on.

IV. Make sure to keep a copy of returned essays on hand for the revisions. Since one half of the grade consists of the effort put towards revision, you must turn in the original essay (the version that has my commentary) along with the revision itself.


Essays One, Two, and Three will be given two grades one for theme and one for writing which will be averaged together evenly. Those students who are less familiar with the technicalities of writing will therefore receive a boost if they put initiative into conceiving a unique idea, and those students who are less used to thinking critically will receive a boost by writing clearly and carefully.


In order to ensure that you put effort into enhancing both aspects of your writing, the revisions of essays will be worth as much as the first versions. They will also be given two grades: one for the amount of effort put into revision and one for the quality of the essay as a whole.