Tag Archives: instructions

Homework for the Midterm Exam

Rather than writing a blog post for homework this week, I ask that you spend that time preparing for the midterm by preparing your quotation sheet. This is a sheet that you will bring to the midterm. It should have your name and the quotations you will use to respond to any of the three questions that you have prepared for. It should not list the text names and authors, since you will be tested on that material in the identifications in Part 1 of the exam.

As you prepare, think about what passages from the stories best support the comparison you want to make. If you have two passages for each of the two texts for three essay topics, you might have as many as 12 quotations. Some quotations would work for more than one topic, so you might find that you don’t need 12, but instead 11 or 10. For example, you might draw on similar material to write about confinement as you do to talk about illness, so that there is overlap in the materials you have prepared for those topics.

Please make sure you have voted for your first choice among the topics–there is a poll in the sidebar of the site. I’ll take those votes into account as I choose the three of the five choices to include on the midterm exam. You will then choose one of the three topics to respond to in an essay. I may edit them to make them more consistent, but the ideas will be the same.

If you have any additional questions, please continue to add them to our discussion. Good luck with your preparation!

Preparing for the midterm exam essay

To prepare for our midterm exam, find below a draft of the essay portion. Included are five possible topics, though you’ll only find three there on the day of the exam. For our discussion, consider ONE of these topics and answer the following questions about it by Sunday night:


  • What does responding to this topic allow you to understand about each story?
  • How does the topic allow you to further explore the stories?
  • What does the comparison bring out about both stories?
  • What’s a draft of a thesis statement for one of these essays?

Vote for your top choice! Use the poll in the sidebar (or if you’re viewing the page from a smartphone, all of the sidebar material appears at the bottom on the screen, so scroll down).


Midterm exam draft:

In a well-developed essay, consider how two of the short stories we have read this semester (excluding the one you wrote about in Project #1) compare in their approach to one of the following issues, topics, or themes. Compare two examples from each story, using quotations from your quotation sheet as evidence to support for your thesis-driven essay.

  1. the significance of setting details, including their symbolic significance
  2. the intricate relationship between freedom and death
  3. Restriction or confinement as limiting or enabling
  4. Depictions of the grotesque or unnatural
  5. The treatment of Illness as transformation

Your essay should be 500-600 words—if you’re writing 5 words per line, that’s 5-6 pages in the blue book, fewer pages if you get more words per line. There’s no need to count all of the words: check to see roughly how many words you write per line on a few lines, then multiply that by 20 (lines per page) and the number of pages you have. When you include a quotation, even though it is already on your quotation sheet, I ask that you copy it into your essay. Rather than using whiteout or making a mess, when you need to make a correction, just cross out what you want to delete.

To get started, you should use the time before the exam to plan your three possible essays. On Wednesday, take time at the start of the exam to think about what you want to write, and use the blue book to write down notes before you start writing the essay. There’s no need to skip every other line, but you might want to skip a line or two between paragraphs to give yourself space to add in any additional words or sentences when you re-read your essay.

Don’t forget–there will be short-answer questions to start the exam.

If you have questions, feel free to ask them here.


Now that our course is beginning, let’s take some time to get to know each other. Please write a blog post introducing yourself. Let us know what your interests are–academic, extracurricular, professional–and what makes you interesting. We’re going to start the semester with posts at approximately 350 words (approximately one typed page), so aim for that. You might consider it a draft of the bio you revise for the appropriate audience and purpose to add to your OpenLab profile or your ePortfolio, so it can do double or triple duty.

A few guidelines and instructions:

  • You need to have an OpenLab account and have joined our Openlab Course to complete this assignment.
  • If you do not yet have an OpenLab account, please sign up for one, and take advantage of the help materials related to signing up. Remember that you can choose any username you want, and it won’t display publicly except in the URL for your profile. You can also choose a display name that can be different from your user name. That’s how you’ll appear any time you write something or appear in a list of members.
  • Once you have an account, sign in and navigate to our course profile and click on Join Now below the course avatar. You are now a member of our course on the OpenLab. Welcome!
  • To write the post, click on Course Site on the right side. Then click on the (+) at the top of the screen.
  • Follow the blogging guidelines for the course.
  • To get credit for writing this introduction (your first homework assignment), be sure to choose the category Introductions  on the right-hand side of the screen when you write your post. Just below the category options, feel free to add any tags you think reflect your post, or to choose from the tags that others have already added.
  • Where it reads “Enter title here,” add an interesting title that interests your readers in what you have written.
  • As I just said above, on the OpenLab, you are known only by your display name. That means that in your introduction, you do not need to identify yourself by your proper name. Please only include your proper name (first or first and last) if you feel comfortable doing so.
  • Similarly, you may include a photograph of yourself if you want, but it is not required. Consider your privacy and do what makes you comfortable.
  • You can link to any site, on the OpenLab or anywhere on the Web, so if, for example, you have your own blog, or did work for another class, project, club or ePortfolio on the OpenLab that you want to call our attention to, feel free to link us to other sites by highlighting the text you want to become a hyperlink and clicking on the button that looks like two links of a chain; you’ll then paste your link into the box that appears.
  • As you draft you might occasionally click Save Draft on the right side. When you finish composing and proofreading your post, click the blue Publish button on the right side. If you need to make any changes, be sure to click on that same button that now read Update.
  • If you have any questions, feel free to comment on this post and I’ll respond to you that way (even if you don’t have an OpenLab account yet, you can still add a comment below).
  • This post is due by Sunday night, February 1st.

Feel free to comment on each others’ posts–this is a great way to connect with each other and to familiarize yourself with the features of the blog. I look forward to getting to know you through your posts!