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Comparison Paper 15%; 1000 words (3-4 pages); due Feb 9 The purpose of this paper is for you to consider how critical methods operate and overlap. You are asked to compare two or more selections from the first five weeks of the course. This should not simply be a list of similarities, but rather a demonstration of how different theoretical methods have informed, influenced, and changed each other especially as they are used in practice. Your thesis should thus be focused on the point of intersection between theoretical methods. You are not required to apply the theories to any literary work for this assignment, but you may use examples from any literary text if they help to make your argument clear. These papers must be submitted in MLA format and include a complete Works Cited.

Presentations: 20%; oral delivery and written report; schedule TBA During most Thursday sessions two students will present to the class examples of how to use, adapt, and apply a particular theoretical method in literary criticism. The texts for these presentations are the short stories assigned for those weeks. All students are required to complete the short story readings. The presentation, about 20 minutes in length, should review the principles and method of the theory and use the story to illustrate their application to literary study. Background information on the author or summaries of the story are not necessary and should be limited if not omitted. PowerPoint or Prezi or some other electronic presentation aid may be used but are not required. The presentation will be followed by questions and discussion, led by the presenters. One week after the presentation, students will submit a written report encapsulating the method used, reading the story according to the method, and, if appropriate, responding to concerns or suggestions made in discussion. The report must be in MLA format.

Course Wiki: 20%; work will occur in and outside of class Working in groups of 4, corresponding to pairs of methodologies, students will produce a course wiki that will outline the tenets of the theories we are studying, illuminate the way the theories intersect, and provide lists of resources for further study and application. There is no formal due date for the wiki pages; you will be expected to work on them steadily throughout the term. Information of how the wikis will be coordinated will be forthcoming in the first weeks of the term. The wiki page is located at

Final Paper: 30%; 2500 words (8-10 pages); due April 5 The capstone project for the course is an essay in which you consider the ways that practical criticism has been enhanced and/or challenged by literary theory. You do not have to do the same method as your presentation; in fact, I strongly encourage you to use some other method or methods. You might consider doing an expanded version of the comparison paper; there are several essays in the Parker collection—especially in later chapters—that already combine methods. The aim of the paper is not simply to “apply” theory but to reflect broadly on its relevance and limitations. The paper must be in MLA format, have an interesting and focused thesis, and include a complete Works Cited.