Hello again! Your homework this week is a little different: I’d like you to watch my video below, in which I review the basics of composing a good paper (a lot of this will sound familiar to you from WRT 101); download and read the accompanying handouts, which contain more detailed instructions regarding paper structure, close reading, developing a topic, and handling Shakespeare’s language; and write a post about your paper-in-progress in the comments section below. For the first paper required in this class, everyone will be writing about The Merchant of Venice; for the second paper, you will get to choose between Othello and The Tempest.
Here are the handouts that I’d like you to read:
1.) First, here is a simple one-page handount outlining the component parts of a successful paper (this closely follows what I say in my video):
2.) Second, here is a handout explaining how to do close reading. The speech I use as my example comes from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, but everything I say applies equally well to The Merchant of Venice and other Shakespeare plays:
3.) Third, here is a handout explaining how to develop a paper topic. The paper assignments for this course are open-topic, meaning that I won’t be giving you pre-packaged topics to write about; instead, you can write about anything you want (pertinent to the play, of course!). Once again, I use examples from A Midsummer Night’s Dream here, but my advice will apply equally well to The Merchant of Venice:
4.) Fourth, here is a handy list of “do’s and don’ts” that I’ve compiled for this class:
5.) Lastly, here is a short guide that explains some of the harder features of Shakespeare’s language. You may find that this answers some of your questions when close reading:
I’d like you to compose a discussion board post this week that contains two things: (1) the paper topic that you’re thinking of writing on (I expect this to be on The Merchant of Venice), and (2) at least one quote from the play (this might be a speech, an excerpt of a speech, or exerpts of multiple speeches) that justifies your topic, along with a brief explanation of why.
Don’t worry if your topic isn’t yet fully settled: this is meant to be a prewriting exercise that just gets you thinking constructively about your paper. If you need to modify or switch topics later on, that’s OK.
I encourage you to reply to your classmates’ posts if you want to. Also, feel free to ask questions that I can answer when we meet over Zoom.