Words of Advice

for you to complete the course successfully


Understanding literary elements and analyzing texts using close readings and critical literary theory in addition to the skills necessary to write literary essays are the focus for this course.

"Nothing any good isn't hard." F. Scott Fitzgerald

Words of Advice

The work of critical thinking involves critiques of the writer's effectiveness in handling a subject matter -- the how of the text. How the writers foregrounds certain things while overlooking others, stylistically embellishes still other things, while arranging others in a startling way. These are the aspects of writing with which a critical analysis should properly concern itself.

Read all of the introductory materials in your textbook, not only the general overviews, but those introducing specific authors and texts assigned. These are musts.

Before you read

I recommend that you read the assignments and discussion questions before reading the actual text. This will help to focus your work. In your notes, you should record your ideas, responses to specific passages, judgments on issues, and questions about details that puzzle you, along with page number references.

Your answers

A successful answer is one that makes an interpretive claim about an aspect of the text, and both develops and supports that claim by referring to specific details of the text.

Participating in the boards will also make assignments less overwhelming, as you can in essence do a practice run on the assignments before they are due. I would like to hear from everybody each week.

Please be aware of the Engagement guidelines (See the rubric to that effect in our main Discussion Board). Anything that varies from this format will not receive full points.

Ask questions, share examples - that’s what class discussion should be all about!

Engage with your texts, your peers, and me. Contribute what thoughts and questions you can about the works being discussed so that we can get a variety of perspectives and help each other to read as insightfully and imaginatively as possible.

View your writing as a craft and a process. Begin writing assignments before you actually start writing an essay. Also use your peers as readers and sources of feedback.

All written work will be held up to the commonly accepted standards of correctness in grammar. Proofread your work to avoid errors of spelling, punctuation, and basic sentence grammar.

Always send only your best work!

Remember that I am here to help. Please don't hesitate to contact me.

Laura Gilbert, Ph.D.