JOURNAL ASSIGNMENT on BLACKBOARD The Journal Assignment asks you to keep track of some of your responses to the readings as we work our way through the course. Come to class with some ideas already in mind about the stories assigned in The Norton Anthology of Contemporary Fiction or Olive Kitteridge or readings online. Submit your journal entries on Blackboard each week, starting WEEK 2. The idea here is that we do some of our best thinking and have the best opportunity to figure out our reactions to the readings when we actually have to write those ideas and impressions down—to put those ideas to words. Use this writing process as a chance to begin to explore the meaning(s) of the readings on your own—before anyone else might color your opinion; use the journal to figure out what you think. We will be drawing on your journal responses in class discussions—the more you refer to your journal in class, the better! You should feel free to contribute to these discussions and to share what you have written. I may even ask you to read from your journal. Also, the journal is a good place to find/create/explore ideas for paper topics. You can use your journal as a resource when you begin to focus on each of the required papers for the course. To that end, keep this in mind: if you have a particular entry that you think might be paper-topic worthy, you can share it with me before a draft is due to get early feedback so that you can begin the writing process as early as possible. In general, you should follow these guidelines: (1) The minimum requirement for each journal entry is the full front of one page. (About 2-3 paragraphs.) (2) Write about at least one reading from the week’s assignments. You do not need to write about every reading assigned for the week, but it is to your advantage when you are looking for paper ideas to try to cover more than one. (3) Each journal entry needs to include quotes from the readings. Always support your ideas/claims/statements by quoting from the readings; this will also help you practice incorporating quotes into your own writing. WHAT YOU MIGHT WRITE ABOUT. . . • describe your first reactions to the reading, always emphasizing and explaining why you respond the way you do by picking quotes to use • use the introduction to the author to direct your response • try to figure out the central meaning of the piece • consider what common themes you find among this group of women writers overall • ask some of your own questions—and try to answer some • read one piece and write a paragraph response to it; then read it again a day or two later, write another response to it, and see if your responses differ (this works especially well for poetry) • pick one line or image or character to analyze—there are often several meanings to explore • write about any connections you see between any of the readings • write about any connections you see between any of the readings and your own experiences—any similarities and/or differences? • explore what it means to be a contemporary writer • explore something that is unclear to you; try to explain what is hard to understand about it • write about why you like or dislike a particular reading—just be sure to provide a full explanation for your reaction • consider connections between the writers themselves—compare styles, images, forms, metaphors, messages • use a quote from something that a critical scholar has written; write down the author’s claim, and respond to it by supporting it or by disproving it with quotations from the readings
the readings can be any of these options. I have left it up to the writer pick. any one is okay.
Beattie, “The Cinderella Waltz” (51-67)
Wolff, “In the Garden of the North American Martyrs” (535-45)
Wolff, “Say Yes” (Blackboard link)
Atwood, “The Man from Mars” (16-33)
Atwood, “Death by Landscape” (Blackboard link)
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