Compose a paragraph-length summary of New Criticism and submit it below. Read and study the assigned pages from Chapter 3 of Texts and Contexts.
Your task is to outline what this set of theoretical principals is and does. Do not advance your own opinion of the theory, or make an argument about its validity: this is NOT a piece of persuasive writing. You are only to REPORT what you have learned about the theory by explaining what it is and how it works, that’s all.
Imagine an ignorant reader – assume that I do not know what this theoretical approach is or does: define and explain each of the terms covered in the vocabulary section at the end of the chapter, and summarize the major concepts covered in the first section, the introductory explanation of the theory at the beginning of the chapter. You needn’t deal directly with the other sections in the chapter for this summary: just focus on the first section that actually lays out the outlines of this theoretical approach and the last section which defines key terms of the approach.
IMPORTANT : Terms (from pp 68-70 in Texts and Contexts) which you must be sure to include in your definition and summary work are: speaker, tone, point of view, irony.
Please remember not to discuss your reading selection (the one you’re pairing with the theory this unit) in this summary of the theory – that is not the assignment task here. There should be no mention of the (story, novel, poem, play) anywhere in this summary: I want only a straight, 10-15 sentence description of the theory itself, nothing else.
A final version of this summary paragraph will become the second paragraph of your essay at the culmination of the unit. This assignment is meant to test your comfort level with the theoretical principals in Texts and Contexts, and it is designed to give you practice articulating its major concepts and terms. If you are able to explain and summarize how the theory works here, you will be able to apply it more easily in your own analysis for your formal essay.
* Note that because this is a submission you’ll be typing directly into the text window here, I am not concerned about essay formatting issues like spacing and margins. I’ll be looking at only your writing itself when I evaluate these, not your formatting work.
Summaries must be written entirely in your own words, using well-proofread academic language. There should be no textual quotes other than titles in your summaries. And remember that although this is formal academic writing work, it is not persuasive writing: Be very careful not to insert yourself using I or me into the discussion. Don’t advance your opinion of the work or make an argument about its effectiveness: You are only to summarize: REPORT and DESCRIBE what you read to an imagined ignorant audience whom you may assume has not already read the work. I am only looking for straight summary work here: describe what you’ve read, to an ignorant reader, just like a reporter would. You will find a sample summary paragraph within the unit module – please read it first before you attempt your own summary here.
Use present tense to discuss the work, use only 3rd person speech (he, she, it, they, the reader, the writer, the story, [someone’s name], [a story name], etc.) to discuss it, not 1st or 2nd person (“I,” “me,” “you,” etc.). Keep your focus on the text and the language. I recommend typing, revising, editing and proofreading this summary work on a separate document on your computer before you submit your work here.
Proofread repeatedly, slowly and methodically, off the computer on paper as well as on the screen (and remember not to rely on auto spell checks or grammar checks to do this work for you, as those search tools will miss errors in your work). Throughout your writing work, keep your statements concise, your coverage specific and descriptive, and your language academic: 3rd person, present tense, no sentence errors.
Late, under-length, non-proofread, insufficiently supported or developed, and/or off-topic submissions will not be accepted: Writing that contains errors cannot receive credit. You must proofread your work well and meet all other assignment criteria if you want credit for the assignment.