epistolary engagements

This epistolary engagement (letter-writing) assignment offers a unique opportunity to express your thoughts about the works we're analyzing this semester, providing a platform for close reading; concise, meaningful expression; thoughtful inclusion of quotation, paraphrase, and summary; attention to audience; and much more. These letters will also serve as fuel for classroom discussion and potentially provide a basis for the research essay.

Students will have six opportunities to write throughout the semester. The top five scores will count toward the final grade.

The letters are intended to reflect your encounter with the text and thus do not require outside research. Please observe the following guidelines in preparing this assignment:
  • address a single issue from the work you find compelling
  • write at least one full page, counting standard headers and closing elements of letter writing
  • provide a clear, carefully defended argument 
  • avoid an abundance of plot summary
  • employ language appropriate to the context
Unless hard copies are preferred, letters should be saved as Google Documents in the Google Drive folder shared with Prof. Dillard and must be available by the beginning of class on the day they are due (see course calendar).

On the day these letters are due students will share and discuss the results in small groups before bringing the conversation to the class as a whole. Each group will select a letter to be read to the class for further discussion, but all letters within the group should be carefully considered, both for their immediate response to the work in question and to their potential as the foundation for a research essay.