English 2235


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Eng  2 23 5
How to Do the Papers


The homework papers for this course consist of regular reading and, then, writing about what you've read.  You'll find yourself enjoying the course much more - and getting so much more out of it -  by thinking in multiple ways about what you've read.  Writing is one great way to do this.  Another way is talking, so I would also encourage you to talk with others at least once each week about what you are reading, seeing, and learning.  Simply tell someone the most interesting thing you read in the Humanities assignment each week, the most horrifying, or the most surprising.  You may be impressed at how much more you learn this way.





           The homework for our course, worth 45 of 100 X's or points, consists primarily of reading and writing.  There are three main kinds of homework:

  1. Reading the textbook readings and/or outside readings

  2. Writing "Comments" about the readings

  3. Completing "Practice Activities"--writing on outside readings

            There are other miscellaneous homework assignments, as well.  Simply check the "Dates & Assignments" page every week.  You also can print out a copy of the "Online Records" if you want a brief summary of what is due each week, or even copy and paste--to an MS Word file--just the list of assignments, itself.

            How many assignments are there?  A lot.  However, they are not tough to do, just time consuming.  There are two or three chapters of textbooks and literature to read each week, and one paper to write.  However, most of the weekly homework papers are short and relatively easy, once you get used to writing them.  These weekly papers include a number of short, rough-draft, quickly and even sloppily written papers done either by pen, computer printout, or email: just neat enough for me to read them, not revised, and written as quickly as you can.  You'll get a check mark for doing them and receive a grade at the end of the term for how many check marks you've received.  These papers are like lab practice in a biology course: they will show me you've done the readings, help you practice writing about literature, and think about your readings more.  I am doing these kinds of assignments instead of having several objective tests or several graded papers because I believe that in the long run, you'll learn more from writing on a weekly basis about what you've read.    

            NOTE ABOUT HERO: Please be aware that one of the course textbooks, The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell, is both a very famous book and, for some students, a difficult one to read.  By the end of each spring 2235 class, a big majority of students have recommended that the next class read it.  However, at the beginning of reading it, a majority of students starting the class find it difficult.  If this happens to you, you will likely need to develop a study strategy for understanding it.  This study strategy should include three steps:

  1. First, read the Web sites about the book and also see the visual chart on p. 210 in Campbell's book.  This will help you preview the book and the steps or stages of the "mythic hero/heroine" so you will find the book easier to understand.  Go to "Additional Online Sources" in this site's Web page TEXTBOOKS to find the list of Web sites about this famous book.

  2. Second, actually preview/skim each chapter before you read it.  Use  two steps to do so: 
    (a) Read the first and last paragraph only.
    (b) Then read just the first sentence of each paragraph.  Then go to Step 3.

  3. Third, read the chapter while taking notes.  The best kind of notes are margin notes--place "?" where you don't understand something, write words like "yes!" or "no!" where you agree or disagree and "great!," "why?," "I think that . . . ," or other words/phrases talking very briefly about lines, paragraphs, and ideas.  Underlining or highlighting is better than nothing, but making margin notes is better.  If you must, make "margin" notes on a separate piece of paper.  For more information about how to preview and read texts for study purposes, go to www.WritingforCollege.org and find "Chapter 25. How To Read College Texts," especially the "Previewing, Skimming, and Speed Reading" section.  

Practicing the above steps may take some extra time at first, but they actually save time in the long run for a majority of people who try them, while significantly increasing their comprehension of the contents.

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Due Dates & Delivery Methods

The dates and delivery of your homework depends to some extent on whether you are taking the course in the face-to-face (regular) on-campus section, or in the online-only section: 


Homework is due Wed. by leaving physical papers in my office.  Or, as most people do, you can send it by Thursday by email:

(Reminder: Homework is different from online class attendance on the bulletin board.)

  1. email it well before midnight in the text of the email (not as an attachment); the subject title should show Course # & Section, Week Due, Assignment Type, and Name+Initial: for example, 
    "2235-99 Wk. 5 Comments Sue J.," 

  2. drop it off at school on Wednesday by 4 pm,

  3. mail it postmarked on Wednesday, or

  4. drop it off at my home near downtown Mpls. before Th. midnight (see "Contact Richard" in the table of links above) & email me to tell me you've dropped it off this way.          

  5. The reason I want physical copies of homework to be dropped off by Wed. is that I'm usually not on campus Thurs.-Fri.

  6. Non-homework email messages: use the word "Question"--see the last note in the other column, on the left.  


LATE PAPERS and MAKE UP: "See "Late Papers and Make Up" below.

Submitting weekly papers by email?  

SAVING ONLINE MESSAGES: Are you ending homework by email?  Always keep a copy in case your email is lost.  Keep it until the end of the term.  If your email system has a "sent mail" folder, you may want to not delete items from the folder until after you have received your final grade.  Are you using a bulletin board (BB)?  Be careful to wait until you see your message appear on the bulletin board, like other messages, before doing anything else on your computer.  If you still have trouble losing BB messages, write and save them in MS Word first; then copy them to the BB and send them.


            (1) Please make them in-text--in the text of your email itself--not attached. That means you should simply write them as an email message or, if you already have them on a word processing file, you should use your mouse and your "Edit" function to mark, then "Copy," and then "Paste" them into a regular email message. 

            (2) To help me keep your paper separate from my regular email, use this subject title: Course #  & section #, the Week Due, Assignment Type, and Name+Initial: e.g., "1111-99 Wk. 5 Comments Sue J.,"  

            (3) Always keep a copy until after the end of the course when you've received your course grade. 

            (4) If you send me an email message (other than homework), please write "Question" in the subject line so I'll open it right away.  Be sure your full name is somewhere in the email, too.  And in the first several weeks, please remind me which course and section you're in.  I ask this because I receive several dozen homework assignments each week by email, and I only open homework once or twice per week. (5-05) 

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REQUIRED BOOKS YOU MUST PURCHASE (least expensive options chosen; available from the IHCC bookstore approximately one month before the course begins):


NOTE: Please read the weekly "Schedule" and the different options available in some weeks before you choose what to buy!  (You may not have to buy all of these books.)

  • The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell (Publ.: Princeton/Bollingen, 2nd edition, 1968, trade/paper bound.)  Please see the "NOTE ABOUT HERO" above.

  • Myths of the Ancient Greeks by Richard P. Martin (Publ.: New American Library/Penguin, 2003, trade/paper bound.)

  • Oedipus the King by Sophocles.  (Publ.: Pocket Books/Simon & Schuster, Pocket Books Classic/Enriched Classic, revised edition, 1994; paperback bound; in other editions, the title sometimes is Oedipus Rex.)

  • The Classic Fairy Tales edited by Maria Tatar (Publ.: Norton, Norton Critical Edition, 1998; trade/paper bound.  Do not get the large, illustrated hardbound edition unless you're willing to pay a lot of extra money; if you are, it will work, too.)

    (a) The Hobbit
    by J.R.R. Tolkien (any edition)
    (pick just one of these three sets of choices--Hobbit, Wizard, or Chronicles
    (b) The Wizard of Oz by Frank Baum (any edition)
          (There will be an all-campus, two-day conference this spring on this subject.)
                 OR (pick just one of these three sets of choices--Hobbit, Wizard, or Chronicles
    (c) The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, 3 only of the 7 books: 
            The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
    by C.S. Lewis
            Prince Caspian
    by C.S. Lewis, and 
            The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
    by C.S. Lewis
    (any edition OK; the one ordered is published by HarperCollins/HarperTrophy, 1994, paperback bound.  In the HarperTrophy editions, they are books 2, 4, & 5.  This numbering might differ in other editions.)

OTHER REQUIRED RESOURCES (purchase not required):

  • "Writing to Literature," online in www.WritingforCollege.org 

  • Online Grammar Handbook, online at www.OnlineGrammar.org

  • Legends of King Arthur from the Web (online, optional)

  • The Old Testament (of the Christian Bible) (online or in print, optional; any version acceptable)

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Weekly Homework Papers:
(Comments, Class Journal, Personal Response, Reading Analysis, Expanded Analysis, Interpretive Thesis, Literary Review, & Creative Writing of a Myth)

            How many assignments are there? A lot. However, most of them are short and relatively easy. I'm asking for just one graded paper--at the end of the semester.  Almost all the other assignments are weekly, and they include a number of short, rough-draft, quickly and even sloppily written papers done either by pen or by computer printout: just neat enough for me to read them, not revised, and written as quickly as you can.  You'll get a check mark for doing them and receive a grade at the end of the term for how many check marks you've received.  These papers are lab practice in a biology course: they will show me you've done the readings and help you practice the humanities and think about them more.  I am doing these kinds of assignments instead of having several objective tests or several graded papers because I believe that in the long run, you'll learn more from writing on a weekly basis about what you've read.    

            All papers must be on time.  Late papers are not accepted because most of them help you prepare for class discussions and activities.  Most assigned papers for any given week always will be due on Wednesday of that week, online or on campus (for night classes, papers will be due at the time you show up for class).  However, there are some exceptions: see ""How To Do Papers" for more.

            Please remember to consider the weekly writings as "lab" papers--written in very rough-draft form--without worrying about grammatical usage, spelling, or punctuation:


Directions: The main purpose of your writing "Comments" is to think about the assigned reading on paper: i.e., using a different part of your brain than is used in reading and in marking the text.  A second purpose is to prove that you did the reading.  There are two main ways you may write comments.  Please use a separate subtitle for each section with a paragraph after it, as shown in the example below.

PLEASE NOTE: Some of you will struggle with understanding what Campbell is trying to say.  It may help you to see the diagram on p. 210 of the steps the Hero/Heroine must take.  YOU MAY WANT TO LOOK AT THIS AHEAD OF TIME!

            The simplest way to write your comments is to write a brief summary every screen (or every few screens) of the information on the screens.   For any given screen or two, you can summarize all the information very briefly, or you can summarize or restate an interesting or important idea.  Write the word count suggested for your particular assignment.  Be sure to spread out your comments so they summarize something from most of the screens--both to better remember what you read and to prove that you read the whole assignment.  

            A second way to write your comments is, instead of summarizing, to respond: describe what the contents make you think of; state what connections you can make to previous experience, reading, or classes; make connections between different parts of this and/or other chapters or readings in the course; explain why you agree or disagree with some points; further develop of explain some points; etc.  In other words, your opinions and memories can be used.  Once again, write the assigned word count, and be sure to spread out your comments so they rspond to something from most of the screens--both to better remember what you read and to prove that you read the whole assignment.  

            A third way to write your comments is to use any combination you want of the first and second way. 

Example from a Student

From: Blunt, Tina
Sent: Thursday, February 21, 2:02 PM
To: Richard Jewell
Cc: Blunt, Tina
Subject: 2235 Wk #6 Hero Comments

Chapter 2 – Initiation
Sections 1, 2, 3

Section 1 – The Road of Trials

Not just anyone can be a hero and to prove their worth they must pass a series of tests or trials.  The road of trials represents the transformation from the ignorance of childhood to the self-discovery of adolescence.  These trials can be on both a physical or psychological level.  The hero will not be alone through these trials a supernatural guide or mentor support the hero’s needs with knowledge or tools.  The guide represents the inner voice within us that knows the way.  The trials are specifically designed for each hero’s needs to explore their strengths and weaknesses.  Only by unifying their physical and mental, understand their strengths and overcome their weakness can a true hero succeed at what lies ahead. 

Section 2 – The Meeting with the Goddess

The meeting with the goddess for the hero represents a re-introduction to love beyond the physical attraction of lust.  This more closely resembles a limitless and unconditional love of a mother.  Many stories depict this emotional phase as “true love”, where the hero finds his perfect match. 

The universal mother is the bringer of life, death, and all that exists.  Not all mothers embody the positive as in the case of the “bad mother”.   The “bad mother” may exist in many forms; neglect which fills the hero with resentment, the abusing that creates fear of retribution, smothering that attempts to constrain the hero to an infant state or the forbidden love of desire (Oedipus complex)(p 92).  These occurrences of the meeting with the goddess symbolize another test to conquer accomplishing self-unification.

The meeting with the goddess in all her forms defines the emotional unification of the hero.  Whether the hero re-discovers unconditional love or discards the false, destructive or repressive conditional love.  The emotional state of the hero reaches equilibrium and the hero has become an adult. 

Section 3- Woman as the Temptress

The power of the temptress, not necessarily a woman, resides in the actions of illusion, distraction and deceit.  The hero will face the temptations of the seven deadly sins: greed, gluttony, pride, envy, sloth, wrath and/or lust that can distract the hero from his goal.  Overcoming these revulsions raises the hero above the petty desires of mortal man and instills the virtue of purity.  Through this discovered or re-discovered purity our hero will successfully pass beyond the realm of selfishness and embrace the righteousness of their quest. 


Directions: Simply write a rough-draft journal of the requested length offering your thoughts, impressions, feelings, and/or ideas about the requested subject.  If the assignment does not suggest a subject, then simply write about how the course is working for you, what you are experiencing in it, etc.  If this journal is the first of the semester, a "Hello Richard" Journal, then please give the information requested; otherwise, simply describe your previous experience with the course subject matter, how you feel about it, and something about yourself.  If this journal is the last of the semester, a "Goodbye Richard" Journal, please describe what worked for you in the course, what didn't, what you learned, how you felt about the course, etc.


Directions:  Make an Underlined Subtitle of the name of each reading.  Then, under each Underlined Subtitle, provide an analysis using the list below.  As you do so, repeat the CAPITALIZED SUB-SUBTITLES below. 


     Romeo & Juliet

  • THEME/SUBJECT/ISSUE: Young lovers meet, fall in love, die.  It's about young, tragic love.

  • CHARACTERS: Romeo & Juliet.  His friends.  Her nurse.  Their families.  The priest.

  • SETTING:  City of Verona, Italy, summer, late 1500s.

  • PROBLEM & SOLUTION (PLOT): Romeo & Juliet come from feuding families; they run away in order to be together (but end up dead).

  • MYTHIC MEANING/MYTHIC SYMBOL: One possible mythic meaning of Romeo and Juliet, also echoed in other myths from around the world, is the eternal repetition of young, passionate love and lovers.  The ball/party at which Romeo & Juliet fall in love can be a mythic symbol for the dance of life and how it is half-blind (because there are dancers dancing, wearing masks as they dance).

              Here are the items to analyze.  You may do so in sentences or by listing; however, remember to write each Name of Reading and each SUB-SUBTITLE as below in bold.  Respond to all numbered questions below for every single reading.  Be brief and quick, but respond to everything.

  1. What is  the main THEME, SUBJECT, or ISSUE?

  2. Who are/is the main CHARACTERS (if the reading is a poem or story, true or fictional, then who are the main one to four characters) or AUDIENCE (if the reading is an essay without characters, then who do you think the essay is written for)?

  3. What is the SETTING (where, when)?

  4. What is the PROBLEM & SOLUTION (the plot of a fiction or nonfiction story), ARGUMENT (the main opinion a nonstory essay is trying to convey), or FINAL POINT (the ending idea or purpose a poem seems to be implying by or in its ending)?

  5. MYTHIC MEANING/MYTHIC SYMBOL:  What is a possible mythic meaning or repetition of a typical subject or theme from another myth you know, or what is a possible major symbol that seems possibly typical throughout the world or throughout one civilization?


Directions: Do the same thing as for the “Reading Analysis” above, using each of the categories with the same subtitles as above--Theme/subject/issue, characters, audience, setting, plot, and symbol.  However, do so with--choose--just one reading from those for the week, and write 300+ words.   Develop your explanation for each of the elements for at least 30-40 words.


Directions: You may be asked to write this kind of paper occasionally, as a replacement for others.  Do write it, offer your own personal response to one (or more) of the readings—what did you like the most and/or least, why, what characters grabbed you, what did one or more readings remind you of, what are some comparisons and contrasts between two or more of the readings, etc. In short, this is a kind of “journal entry” in which you may write anything you’d like about what you read, responding, reacting, thinking, feeling.  It only needs to contain 300+ words and to show that you actually read the piece and thought about it.  (You can choose to do this OR a “Creative Writing.”)


See also these other, related resources:
WritingforCollege.org's "Chapter 47: Literary Thesis"

Thesis Worksheet for Starting a Thesis Paper

Optional Interpretive Theories for Arguing about Literature

Directions: First, please note that in the very first week or time you write the interpretive thesis, you MUST


3b. WRITE: an Interpretive Thesis (IT) of reading, 300+ w.  For your first one, you MUST use a theory from anywhere in Campbell.  Your thesis sentence would be Campbell says, "______."  And your three "reasons why" would be three ways or places in which it is true in your reading: "The first reason/way/place in the reading is ___, the second is ____, and the third is "____." 


Second, each interpretive thesis must be 300+ w. and be about interpreting your reading for that week.

Third, here are some very thorough directions for writing the interpretive thesis. Please read them carefully.

The interpretive thesis should be an interpretive theory from Campbell or another theorist, and three reasons why--or ways or places in which--it is true in your reading.  It should have a very brief intro describing your reading and the basic theory (interpretation) you are going to make.  Then there should be three separate body sections.  Each body section should have (a) an underlined Subtitle (name all three what you want or just call them Reason 1, 2, & 3), (b) a topic sentence that states the section's new "reason why" your the theory you are using is true, and then (c) some discussion of that reason for at least 100 words--quotations are allowed but not required.  Write on a new subject (a new reading) each week.  So, total length required is 300+ words, but you must have at least 100+ w. in each of three body sections.   

Fourth, please do NOT write an analysis of a theme.  Also, don't try to invent your own thesis sentence--that usually ends of just being an analysis of a theme, too. For starters, a theme is just a type of fact, not a thesis argument.  A theme is something that most careful readers of a story would agree is true about the story, in part or in whole; therefore, it is a fact or nearly a fact. In addition, for an interpretive thesis, the thesis sentence must be a theory that you are applying--not one you invent yourself, but rather someone else's theory--such as a theory from Joseph Campbell (or from some other legitimate, official theorist). 

Our writing textbook, www.WritingforCollege.org, defines this for you in "Chapter 47: Literary Thesis" (required reading for your first week of trying to write an interpretive thesis).  It says that to write an interpretive thesis, you generally need to go entirely outside of the story--perhaps even forgetting about it--then choosing a separate, abstract theory, idea, or belief. 

You can choose something from Campbell's Hero, if you like--after all, one of the reasons we're reading it is to apply what he's saying to some of these myths.  In fact, for the first time you write an IT in this class, you MUST choose one of Campbell's theories or sub-theories. After that first time, you may continue using a different theory or sub-theory from Campbell each week, or you may choose some other theory from somewhere else: for example, a type or part of a psychological theory, philosophical belief, political position, or even something a bit off the wall like an economic or physics theory.  A list of links to potential, optional theories is available in this website: see Optional Interpretive Theories for Arguing about Literature. Again however, one very fruitful method for some people is to use something Campbell says--an idea, a thought, a step or stage--to interpret some part of the week's reading.

It's okay to stretch your wings, try something unusual, explore, be creative, etc.--but find an Outside Theory or Belief in some way, of some kind.  And THEN come back to your story/myth.  And try to apply it.  Again, DO NOT simply use your own thoughts about the internal workings or facts of a literary story, as you most likely will simply be picking out one of many recognizable themes in it: instead, choose an unrelated OUTSIDE THEORY, an official one, and then try to apply it to the literary story.

For this homework assignment, you only need to do so for 300+ w.  If it doesn't work, you've not wasted much time (unless you can't even get enough words--then you'll need another theory).  If it does work, even if it seems silly or strange, you've stretched your mind a bit, provided something new and possibly interesting, and learned a little bit better how to apply an abstract theory or idea to a specific story.

That is literary criticism.  And that is an interpretive thesis. 

Organizational Pattern for an Interpretive Thesis in 2235


          (State your interpretive theory and 3 reasons/ways/places for applying it.  You may have a very brief background summary here--no more than 50 w.)

Reason #1
          (State your first reason why your interpretation is true.  Then explain how/why it is true.  Remember that you can't just offer fact--you must explain clearly and obviously, too, how the facts do prove your thesis.)

Reason #2
          (See above.)

Reason #3
          (See above.)

          (Restate your interpretation, at the least, and add, if you want, some comment about what you think of this interpretation or story.)

Here is some additional commentary I have made to people trying to figure out the difference between "theme" and "interpretation":

A theme in a literary piece is something that is obvious to all discerning readers of that piece. The way to test for it is to decide how most intelligent readers would answer if you were to ask them, "Can you see that _____ is a subject in this literary piece?" So, for example, if you were to ask most intelligent readers of "Oedipus," "Is the idea of incest being morally wrong one of the subjects in this play?" the answer would be most likely "yes."

In other words, a theme is pretty obvious. It is an obvious idea just like a mountain or a house is an obvious part of the scenery, or something is an obvious part of the plot.

An interpretation by theory, on the other hand, is an official theory or sub-theory from an official theorist (such as Campbell).  You then apply it as you see it fitting into the reading, or the reading fitting into it.

Thus, while a theme is pretty obvious, an interpretation has to be explained to people.

So, if you just try to tell me what the play itself is saying, you're probably just talking about themes.

However, if you pick up a few main theories or sub-theories from Campbell (or any other theory), and then show how to apply those ideas to, say, "Oedipus," then you would have an interpretation.
More simply said, a theme is just a general thought that a good majority of people would be able to see in a story once they've you've mentioned it to them.  A theory, though, is something "official" and already written out by the theorist, and published in a book or article.  You should NOT use a theme unless all you're writing is a literary analysis.  A literary interpretation, though, means taking a specific, official theory and applying it.
So, while the differences may sometimes be subtle, in actual reality it is a matter of starting with an "official" theory by a theorist, and then supplying quotations from that theorist about the theory.  If you start your introduction and each body section (and often many of your paragraphs) that way, you usually are going to be just fine.  For example, I might see all kinds of stuff about women's rights and feminism in, say, one of the fairy tales.  But those might be themes.  However, if I can find an official theorist of feminism, read her theories, and then quote and apply one or more of them to the fairy tale, then I am officially "interpreting" the fairy tale using an official theory.  That is, in practice, the real difference: start with an official theory and then apply it, using quotations from its theorist, to the story. 
So, in terms of Campbell, for example, you've been doing this all along as we read.  You've been reading an official theorist--Campbell--who has a theory about literature--that it has important mythic dimensions in it.  And as you've been reading Campbell and then thinking and writing about our required readings, you've been learning to apply Campbell's ideas to these readings.  This is called "interpretation."  You have been interpreting our assigned readings by using the theories of Campbell.  And Campbell, himself, is using his own brand of psychological interpretation to interpret the world's mythic stories.



Directions: The literary review should be a logical, step-by-step review of a reading using summary of elements, interpretations, and evaluations.  It should start with a brief intro describing your reading and the basic, overall evaluation of it that you have reached; then there should be three separate body sections.  The first body section should be 50+ w. in length and start with the underlined subtitle Summary of Elements; it should very logically simply summarize the reading by summarizing each of the literary elements in it, with none of your opinion or analysis.   

The second body section should be 100+ w. in length and start with an underlined subtitle saying Interpretations; in this section, offer your own  interpretations of the reading, with or without comparisons/contrasts to other readings. 

The third body section should be 150+ w. in length and start with the underlined subtitle Evaluations; it should contain your evaluations of the quality of the reading, of the author's work, and/or of how the elements of the reading are accomplished or not accomplished: what is good, poorly done, missing, in need of improvement, obviously appealing to readers, disliked by many readers, et al.  Write on a new subject (a new reading) each week.  Total length: 300+ words divided into segments with 50+ w. for the summary of elements, 100+ w. for interpretations, and 150+ w. for evaluations.

Pattern for a Literary Review for 2235


          Author, Title, and your overall evaluation in 20-100 w.

Summary of Elements
          Use the elements of literature (from your "RA" requirements, above) in 50+ words.  No opinion or evaluation of your own, just the facts using the elements

          Write a mini-IT (interpretive thesis) using at least three interpretative theories and/or comparisons/contrasts to other mythic stories or books in 100+ w.

          Offer three evaluations of the quality of the reading, the author's work or abilities, and/or how the elements of the reading are well or poorly accomplished in 150+ w.

          Author, Title, and a final comment on its quality            

Important Note: The middle section--Interpretations--is not supposed to be the author's arguments/interpretations.  It also should not be themes that are in the reading.  Instead, it should be more like several different ideas for a literary thesis paper: try to develop the middle section with readers' or your own arguments or interpretations that are debatable--that some people might disagree with.  For example, you could apply the Oedipus complex, Marxist theory, or laissez-faire capitalist theory to the reading or, perhaps, demonstrate how three or more of Joseph Campbell's theories apply--or how one of his theories applies in at least three different ways.


Directions: In Eng 2235, this option is offered only as a make-up, extra-credit opportunity.  To do it, write your own creative mythic piece: make up a myth, expand on an existing one, or develop some combination of these two methods.  At the beginning, start with a brief sentence or two explaining what your myth is, and whether it is made up or based on something else--and if so, then how/why.  For example, if you would like to involve Zeus or Venus in a new adventure, you may; or you could begin a new mythology that would fit in the Lord of the Rings cycle or on the planet Mars in the year 3000.   Your piece should be 300+ words in length (or if it is a poem, 150+ words).  You may write something two to three times as long and then count it as two or three weeks’ worth of these assignments (but no more), as long as you relate it to at least one reading from those weeks.  However, if you do this, be sure to state the length of your piece and the weeks you want to count it for (no more than two or three) at the top of the first page.  (In any one week, you can choose to do this OR a “Personal Response.”)

Submitting weekly papers by email?  

            (1) Please make them in-text--in the text of your email itself--not attached. That means you should simply write them as an email message or, if you already have them on a word processing file, you should use your mouse and your "Edit" function to mark, then "Copy," and then "Paste" them into a regular email message. 

            (2) To help me keep your paper separate from my regular email, use this subject title: Course #  & section #, the Week Due, Assignment Type, and Name+Initial: e.g., "2235-99 Wk. 5 Comments on Hero, Sue J.,"  

            (3) Always keep a copy until after the end of the course when you've received your course grade. 

            (4) If you send me an email message (other than homework), please write "Question" in the subject line so I'll open it right away.  Be sure your full name is somewhere in the email, too.  And in the first several weeks, please remind me which course and section you're in.  I ask this because I receive several dozen homework assignments each week by email, and I only open homework once or twice per week.  (5-04)

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Late Papers and Make Up

            There is no make up or extra credit for the homework activities.  If you miss doing them, then you cannot get credit for them.  If you are interested in doing make up/extra credit for attendance, please go to "Attendance." 

            Why don't I allow make ups of missed homework?  There are four reasons.  They all boil down to the fact that we can't accomplish as much, have as much fun, or develop your writing abilities as well if make ups are regularly allowed.  If you're interested in the four reasons individually, here they are.  

            (1) First and most important, much of the value of doing homework is gone when you do it rather late--after we have discussed it in class/on the bulletin board.  If a lot of people didn't read the assignment on time (which is what happens when a teacher doesn't require it), I would have to review and explain the assignment step by step before we, as a whole class, could practice it or talk about it in some way.  And if I did this, even fewer people would want to read the assignment, which would result in my needing to review the assignment in class even longer.  As a result, there would be no point in giving the assignment, and all I would be doing is spending each class reviewing.  Instead, if most of you have read the assignment ahead of time, not only will you know the material much better, but also--and more important--we can do something with the material in class.  We can do group work, class games, discussion and sharing, etc., etc.  

            (2) In addition, you won't be able to talk very well on the online discussion boards if you haven't read the assignment.  You might say things that don't even apply, and/or other people in the class might have to take the time to tell you what is in the reading assignment.  

            (3)  Another reason why I don't allow make up of missed homework is that I then would have way too many papers to process in the last few weeks of the class.  

            (4) And the final reason is that with all the writing of your drafts of your term paper near the end, you wouldn't do as well on these final drafts if you were taking a lot of time out to do make ups of a bunch of weekly papers.

            There are, however, exceptions.  They are as follows:

  • In the first several weeks, if you have made an honest mistake about when something is due, talk with me, and I can make an exception.  This is good only for a few weeks, until everyone understands the rules.

  • (3) In the FOL (fully-online) section of the course, weekly homework may be up to one week late, but no later, and will be automatically accepted. 

        If you miss some of your homework, you cannot make it up.  However, there is a way to do make up/extra credit for attendance.  Doing so can affect your overall grade so much that it can help bring up a poor homework grade.  Extra credit is added at the rate of 1 X for every 50 minutes (though some forms of extra credit only count for 1/2 or 1/3 as much).  For example, if you were to spend 2 hrs. on reading and writing about additional fairy tales, you would receive extra credit for 120 minutes of extra work - which is worth about 2 & 1/2 X's.  Extra credit X's are added to the "Attendance" records, but they count just like any other X's or points in the course: they all go toward the total of X's you build up during the term in working toward the grade you want (with 90-100 X's = to an "A," 80-89 = to a "B," etc.). 

            Again, if you are interested in doing make up/extra credit for attendance, please go to "Attendance."  

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Useful Tips for
Taking This Course

How to Use This Page: This page describes how to do each type of homework assignment.  It does not describe when they are due.  Use this page to learn how to do each assignment; then go to the Weekly Assignments page for the schedule of what homework is due each week.

Keeping Up with the Homework: There's no way around it - you will need to write about everything you've read, and it's worth 40% of your grade. 

However, shortcuts are possible.  One is learning to write faster: letting go and giving first thoughts without any planning.  Another is  carefully learning exactly what is expected for each type of writing assignment rather than guessing.

A third shortcut is keeping to the minimum.  Some of us (I include myself!) are tempted  to write forever, going way over the minimum word count.  But for the homework assignments, keeping to the minimum can save time.  Besides, learning to state or summarize briefly is actually a very important skill in both academic and professional worlds.

Ariel 9 pt, 6, 6, 133%

Updated 2 March 2014



Contents and page design: Copyright (©) 2005-2013 by Richard Jewell

Images courtesy of IHCC, Barry's Clip Art, Clip Art Warehouse, Clip Art Universe, Clipart Collection, MS Clip Art Gallery and Design Gallery Live, School Discovery, and Web Clip Art

First date of publication: January 1, 2005.  Graphics redesigned Aug. 1, 2013
Home-page server's URL:  www.umn.edu/home/jewel001/composition/1108/home.htm
CONTACT RICHARD: See www.Richard.Jewell.net/contact.htm.  Office: Business 136