Monday, April 18, 2011

End of Semester Revision(s)

I'll keep this short and simple, and add on to it if people have questions.

  1. You may submit either one or two final assignments.  The final assignment(s) may be either a revision (which should be the default choice) or an essay on House of Leaves (which you should pick only if you are motivated to do so.
    1. The revisions work as follows
      1. You may pick any paper you have worked on through the semester, including ones you have already revised.
      2. A revision must have at least 2-3 pages of new material, and be at least 5 pages long.
      3. A revision should have its argument extended and clarified; the argument should be neither obvious nor trivial.  Many of the best revisions will take some sort of account of counterarguments.
      4. You must incorporate at least one academic source into your revisions - usually a journal article or book (although you might only read a chapter or two of the book, of course).
    2. If you want to write about House of Leaves, you should...
      1. Send me a clear statement of your argument by early Wednesday evening.  If you're having trouble coming up with an argument, but have a general idea, you should get in touch with me ASAP, so I can try to help you out.  Your essay should have a clear (non-trivial, non-obvious) argument, focused on HOL.  Some suggestions for starting point:
        1. Listen to Poe's album Haunted and go from there.
        2. Research one of the cited texts which I haven't talked about, and start from there.
        3. Write on one of the Karen-dominated sections, which I haven't had much to say about.
      2. Your final draft should be at least five pages long, and include at least one academic source.
    3. Regardless of what you do, there are two deadlines to be aware of.
      1. If you want comments, I need to have your finished work by the 25th at 5:00 p.m.  That deadline is firm.
      2. If you don't care about comments or feedback, I can accept your work by the 27th at 5:00 p.m.  
      3. If you turn in two papers/revisions, rather than one, before the first deadline, I'll probably cut corners on the comments.  Sorry.
    4. Should I do one or two revisions/essays?
      1. Obviously, you should do what you want.  That being said...
      2. If you are making a serious, sustained effort to improve your grade, you should shoot for the best possible work you can on both assignments.
      3. However, it is much better to do a good job on one than to do an ok job on two.  Do not treat the second essay as some kind of bonus work.  It will be graded like any other essay.
      4. So, if you are trying to move from one letter grade up to another, and are willing to sweat to do it, you might want to write two.  Otherwise, you might be better off with one.
    5. Note(s)
      1. You may choose to write an essay on Danielewski and an essay on revision.  I am open to being talked into letting you write a double length, double credit essay on Danieleski - but only do that if you really know what you want to do and why.

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