can you add to this?

can you add at east a few pages to this?

This essay should argue for the literary, cultural, or political significance of one or more of the

course’s assigned texts; the topic is subject to my pre-approval but otherwise up to you. Please

frame your argument as part of a larger intellectual conversation by citing at least three relevant

outside sources – e.g., book or film reviews, “middlebrow” essays (e.g., The Nation, New

Republic, or National Review), or academic books or articles (such as those found in the journal

Science Fiction Studies).

Effective scholarly writing often uses the “They Say, I Say” model, in which you summarize and

critique what other critics have said about your topic, then indicate how your understanding

differs from theirs, and finally defend that understanding with a well-reasoned argument of your


In The Philosophy of Literary Form, the literary theorist Kenneth Burke explains this dialogical

conception of literary study like this:

Imagine that you enter a parlor. You come late. When you arrive, others have long

preceded you, and they are engaged in a heated discussion, a discussion too heated

for them to pause and tell you exactly what it is about. In fact, the discussion had

already begun long before any of them got there, so that no one present is qualified

to retrace for you all the steps that had gone before. You listen for a while, until you

decide that you have caught the tenor of the argument; then you put in your oar.

Someone answers; you answer him; another comes to your defense; another aligns

himself against you, to either the embarrassment or gratification of your opponent,

depending upon the quality of your ally’s assistance. However, the discussion is

interminable. The hour grows late, you must depart. And you do depart, with the

discussion still vigorously in progress.

For practical guidance on joining in on Burke’s “unending conversation,” I recommend the book

They Say, I Say, by Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein.

In your formal essay you should assume your audience is intelligent and reasonably well

informed, but not familiar with literary-critical jargon or the specific texts you will be discussing.

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