Junior English

October 5th, 2015

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We wrapped up Frankenstein over the weekend1 and began outlining the essays in class today. The prompt is straightforward:

Is Frankenstein a Romantic work according to the Romantic sources we read earlier? Use at least two sources and the book to support your argument.

The trick is to look at how each presents its worldview or ethos: what does Prometheus seem to value in Byron’s poem? What does Victor? As statements of morality, do they align?

We will continue to work on these through the week, turning them in on Monday.

  1. right?? if not, you have some reading to do! []

Wallace Outlines

AP Language

August 28th, 2013

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We looked at a few outlines today from students gracious enough to let us learn from their process. A few things to keep in mind as you continue working:

In draft form this would read something like this:

By using informal diction such as “bull–y,” (Wallace 1) “there are these two guys,” (2) he speaks to his audience as “one of them” rather than a stodgy, learned academic doling out advice. He continues this with a deconstruction of the “standard requirement of . . . speeches” (1) and by assuring the students that he is “not the wise older fish” (1).

Keep up the hard work; we’ll do a run-through of your outlines in groups tomorrow and begin writing on Friday.


Junior English

September 11th, 2012

Themes: , , , ,

Excellent discussions over the past few days! Glad to see we’re back in the swing of things. Below is a short overview of our goals this week and how they tie into the ultimate goal: writing the final paper. If you have questions, post them below, send me an email, stop me in the hall, or ask in class. This is confusing because it is new; don’t be ashamed if you feel like you aren’t getting it. That’s a sign that you’re learning. Keep asking questions until it clicks.

The assignment, as mentioned previously, is to write an essay answering the following question: In what ways is  Frankenstein a Romantic work?

In other courses the teacher may lecture over the Romantic Era and ask you to apply your notes to the novel.1 This is all well and good, but you guys need a challenge. Rather than providing you with a definition of Romanticism, I am asking you to note the themes of a number of Romantic works (the “Frankensources” packet) and use those to come up with a working explanation of the Romantic ethos.2 You will then use those to support your claims about Frankenstein‘s romanticism.

Today we began with very basic patterns—assertions of mankind’s apparent greatness, the importance of creativity, light-as-knowledge imagery, etc.—and played with how we could tie them together. It is important to realize that there aren’t any “wrong” answers here, just poorly supported ones. You can check the validity of your pattern by finding it elsewhere in the packet, or by finding other symbols arguing something similar. If all signs are pointing to the importance of a person’s humility and you find arguments in favor of man’s godlike nature, go back through your notes to see if you missed something. Or ask during class. Asking is always good.

  1. FYI, this is an example of a deductive exploration/explanation. The teacher gives you a definition, you assert whether or not an example (the novel) matches that definition. []
  2. This is informal inductive reasoning; those who have played with the scientific method before will recognize the pattern. []

Frankenwriting & Outline Workshop

Junior English

August 25th, 2012

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We began writing our first essay on Friday, spending most of the hour bringing ideas together into outlines, troubleshooting thesis statements, and collecting evidence. Our endeavors were focused on one of two questions:

You should finish this essay this weekend and read through chapter 14 of the novel.

As you work on this essay this weekend, remember that this is not meant to be a final draft. In fact, we won’t be making a final draft of this essay at all; it is your first major step in answering our overall question: What makes Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein Romantic?

As you begin writing, keep in mind three questions:

An outline of the above would look like this:

Thesis: Frankenstein’s reaction to his creation can be better understood in the context of Edmund Burke’s beliefs about the sublime and the beautiful.

I.1 Victor’s reaction to his monster’s awakening seems to illustrate Burke’s understanding of the sublime.

A. Victor is afraid of his creation (Shelley 42).
B.  Burke argues that the root of the sublime is fear (13).

II. [Another argument in support of my thesis; likely something about the beautiful.]

This is a very simple outline, but follows the rules we discussed in class:

  1. Cited material is located only at the lowest level. (The rightmost indentation.)
  2. The points of higher levels are arguments (things that someone may disagree with), not synopses or restatements of plot points.
  3. Every level has at least two points. (Every “I” has a “II,” every “A” has a “B.”

All of the above may be a lot to take in, but we will discuss your process and ideas on Monday. If you have a question in the meantime, post a comment below or send me an email.

  1. One of my answers to the second question above; note that in an actual outline there must be more than one major point. []

Outlines and Rough Drafts

British Literature, World Literature

September 23rd, 2010

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Just a quick reminder:

You should spend most of your time working out the organization and collection of evidence, ensuring that each of your points have proper support. Email a copy of your outline to me this weekend; I’ll give you feedback if necessary. Once you have that squared away, make a copy of the outline file, rename it “rough draft,” and turn your major points into paragraphs, add an introduction and conclusion, transitions between the paragraphs, and you’re all set.

These rough drafts are due Monday. We’ll do a peer review then.

If you have questions at any point in this process, send me an email or post a comment below.