Book essay (due Nov. 13, 2008 --week 7) (back to top)
- Once your proposal has been approved, you should
- Read the book, taking notes about its main argument (the author's thesis--can you find a thesis statement?), the sources s/he uses in each chapter, and how the book is structured..
- Write a short introduction about the main question(s) your book addresses, and the answers it offers. Be sure to mention what sources the author draws from. This is the place for your thesis statement assessing the author's main argument or point (i.e. the author's thesis).
- In the main body of your essay you should integrate a description with a discussion of how convincingly the book makes that argument. Conclude with a suggestion about the book's potential audience.
- Please resubmit your proposal when you submit your book essay--attached in front of it.
- Content/Grading. When I grade, I look for five things.
- First, a thesis statement tells me the goal of the book, what it is trying to argue or explain. The thesis can also be about insights or inferences that you draw from the book. Mark it with boldface type.
- Second, I look for an argument supporting that thesis.
- Third, I look for concrete evidence—specific cases or examples—used to support that argument. A paper with any two of these three is a "C;" all three elements earn a "B."
- Fourth, I look to see whether counterevidence is discussed—whether you refute evidence that supports a thesis different or contradictory to the author's. If elements one, two and three are also present, this would bring a paper into the "A" range.
- Finally, I look to see whether a paper is carefully written and proofread, and has clear organization or perhaps even stylistic grace. This can lift a paper up to a “+” or, with two or more typos/errors per page, drop it down to a “ –.”
- Length. Your essay should be at least 1800 words—6-7 double-spaced, typed pages, with 1½x1x1x1" margins and 12 point, proportional space font. In Microsoft Word, select the body text of your paper. Use Tools > Word Count, and insert the resulting number after your name at the top of your paper.
Number the pages! By hand is ok if you are word-processor challenged. Otherwise one point off!
- Due dates. Late submissions will be penalized one point per day, beginning at 2:00pm.
- Grading. The book essay counts for 20% of your final grade (30% with the proposal and corrected version). It is worth taking seriously!
Any submitted work that is not proofread or does not have numbered pages will be reduced by one point.
- This course fulfills the general education writing requirement. If you do not submit all parts of the book essay assignment, you cannot receive credit for this course (i.e., you will fail).
- Plagiarism—presenting someone else's work as your own, or deliberately failing to credit or attribute the work of others on whom you draw (including materials found on the web)—is a serious academic offense, punishable by dismissal from the university. It hurts the one who commits it most of all, by cheating them out of an education. I will report offenses to the appropriate university authorities for disciplinary action.