Final Essay Submission

Before submitting your final essay, be sure to go over the checklist we used during our peer review session. You’ll know that your essay is ready to be submitted if you can check “Yes” in response to all of the questions. The ability to evaluate your work as an objective reader is an important writing skill to develop, so use this checklist to help with that process.

Submit your final essay here:

Submit your portfolio cover letter here:

As always, please only submit .doc, .docx, or .pdf. Any other file type will not be accepted and will not be counted as an essay submission. I can accept essays until Sunday, May 26th at noon, but not any later than that as I will be submitting final grades to CUNYFirst on Monday the 27th. 

Teaching Evaluation for Extra Credit

For extra credit, please fill out the survey for our class on

Sign in using your CAMS account, select our class, and complete the survey. Once you have submitted it, go to “Surveys” on the top menu and choose “Completed Surveys” from the drop-down menu. Find the completed survey for our class and click “Send Proof.” I will receive an email notifying me that you completed the survey (but obviously, your responses remain completely anonymous).

You must click “Send Proof” to receive extra credit, which will make up for a missed homework assignment or count towards participation.

Homework and Sign-Up Sheet for Individual Conferences

As you all know, we will not be meeting for class on Monday, 4/29, Wednesday, 5/1, and Monday, 5/6. Instead, we will be meeting one-on-one in my office for brief ten minute conferences to discuss your final papers. Most of you signed up for a date and time before we left for spring break, but if you did not get a chance to sign up, please do so on this Google Doc:

You can also use that Google Doc to double check which date/time you signed up for in case you don’t remember.

For our one-on-one sessions, I ask that you bring a version of your preliminary draft (for example an outline, some questions, etc) to discuss in person. In addition to that, for homework to be completed before our scheduled meeting time, please answer these two questions in a comment on this blog:

  1. What is the specific pattern that you observe about The House on Mango Street and plan to examine in your essay?
    For example, “Although scholars categorize The House on Mango Street as a bildungsroman about Esperanza’s growth and development, I notice that many of the vignettes are about other characters besides Esperanza.”
  2. What is the interpretive problem/question that your essay will try to answer about that specific pattern?
    For example, “How does the pattern of telling stories about other women who live on Mango Street challenge the interpretation of the book as a bildungsroman? Is it possible to read the book as something besides a bildungsroman?” Or “If we do continue to read it as a bildungsroman, then why is it significant to note that many of the vignettes are not about Esperanza?”

Homework for 4/17 and Annotated Bib Resources

Read “Resisting the Interpretive Schema of the Novel” by Paula Moya and in a comment on this post, quote an instance where you notice her writing transition from one topic/idea to a new topic/idea. Quote a sentence or a passage where you see her do this in the essay. Make sure to include an in-text citation.

Additionally, to help with your annotated bibliography, here are two of the resources I mentioned on Monday:

Homework for 4/12

On Monday, we learned about using the QC databases to do research for books and scholarly articles. Using those databases, find one scholarly article about The House on Mango Street and in a comment on this post, write an annotation about that article. This means your comment should include:

  • A paragraph (about 125 – 250 words) that summarizes the article and its main ideas and assesses how the article can be useful to you (ex. Does it argue a claim that you can respond to? How do you plan to respond to it? Does it offer a theoretical foundation for your analysis? Does it provide helpful contextual information? etc)

This is essentially what you will be doing for your annotated bibliography assignment, but we are using this homework prompt as practice first.

Homework for 4/1

On Wednesday, March 27th, we talked about developing and organizing body paragraphs. I asked you to choose a quotation from one of the short stories (or one of the secondary sources if you wanted to write about that instead), and then asked you to brainstorm a list of questions about that one quotation.

Use that brainstormed list of questions to develop an analysis of the quotation, and turn that into a body paragraph. In a comment on this post, write out your drafted body paragraph that focuses on your chosen quotation. Make sure your body paragraph includes at least:

  • 1 direct quotation from your chosen short story, or the secondary source that accompanies it
  • 1-3 sentences to provide context/background information for the quote
  • However many sentences it takes to explore the analytical significance of the quotation (use your questions from class to help with the analysis. Every time you make a claim about how the quote is written or what makes it significant, continue to push your analysis deeper by asking yourself “so what?” and continuing a line of thought about your claims. Remember – analysis should take up the majority of the paragraph)
  • 1-2 sentences to connect your analysis of the quotation back to your interpretive problem from your intro paragraph
  • 1 topic sentence that articulates the single main idea (the sub-claim) of this paragraph

Your paragraph should include all of these things, but make sure to organize it according to the flowchart format we looked at on Wednesday. If you already wrote complete body paragraphs in your formal draft and don’t want to write a new paragraph from scratch, use this blog as an opportunity to revise a paragraph you’ve already written to make sure it includes all of the items above.

Homework for 3/18

Read “The Patriarch’s Balls: Class Consciousness, Violence, and Dystopia in George Saunders’s Vision of Contemporary America” by Juliana Nalerio, and in a comment on this post:

  1. Identify and quote a passage from the scholarly article in which Nalerio utilizes a secondary source (remember: “The Semplica-Girl Diaries” is her primary source). Cite the quote in MLA style.
  2. In a few sentences, explain how Nalerio uses the information or ideas from the secondary source. For example, does the source provide context or background info about something? Does the source provide another perspective on “The Semplica-Girl Diaries”? Or does the source provide a theoretical approach for Nalerio to apply to “The Semplica-Girl Diaries”? Then, explain how Nalerio’s usage of the source pertains to her interpretation of the story.

Homework for 2/25 and Schedule Changes

Since our class was cancelled due to inclement weather, I am turning our intended class writing activity into a homework assignment. You have until class time on Monday 2/25 to complete this, but it would be more helpful for you to do this exercise before submitting your formal essay draft as it may help you work through some confusion about the assignment.

I have posted the PowerPoint that I would have used for today’s lesson under “Calendar & Readings.” In addition, I prepared a handout on any questions I anticipated you may have asked during class today if we had met as usual. Please read through both the PowerPoint and the handout as they are crucial.

For homework, read the posted PowerPoint and handout on interpretive problems. Then, in a comment on this post, respond to these questions:

  1. Which poem have you chosen to write about for your essay?
  2. What is the interpretive problem for this text that your essay would address?
  3. Why is this interpretive problem an important question to ask of this text?
  4. What are two to three main pieces of evidence from the poem that would be important to consider in finding a solution/answer to your interpretive question?

Lastly, regarding the due dates for our formal draft and final essay drafts – the formal draft is now due at 11:59pm on Friday, February 22nd and the final draft is now due at 11:59pm on Monday, March 4th. The calendar has been updated to reflect this, and so has the assignment prompt handout posted under the “Assignments” page.

Homework for 2/13

For our in-class activity today, we worked on collaborative annotation. In a comment on this post, discuss the conversation that took place on your poem handout. Mention which poem was annotated, summarize the observations, questions, and answers that were written on it, and lastly, elaborate on your response to the conversation. Did it reveal, highlight, or emphasize anything new or unexpected about the poem? Ultimately, how did the annotated conversation with your peers affect your interpretation of the poem?

If you were absent and did not get to complete the in-class activity, instead, choose one poem from Maggie Smith’s “Good Bones” or Rowan Ricardo Phillips’s “Dark Matter Ode.” Choose a line or a set of lines from one of the poems and make an observation about the line’s usage of poetic devices. Then, use that observation to develop two questions about the poem’s meaning and the significance of the lines you chose.

Homework for 2/6

Read through the Poetic Devices handout. Select one poetic device from the list, and in a comment on this blog post:

  1. Define the poetic device in your own words.
  2. Write 1 – 4 lines of poetry or 1 – 4 sentences of creative prose where you use the poetic device that you’ve chosen. The lines can be about any topic of your choosing. Don’t worry about whether or not the lines are “good” as I’m primarily looking to see if you understand the usage of the poetic devices and how they function.

Essentially, we are practicing how to make a conscious choice about our usage of language in order to convey a particular meaning, just like poets and writers do.

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