Website design

Design a website about any topics in literature and it is only about 750 words.

How do we dissect prose, a genre seemingly defined as “not poetry”?
A) We don’t.
B) We try, but ultimately fail, because life is a series of linked failures.
C) With extreme care and delicacy, over the course of multiple revisions of an academic essay that is ultimately doomed for the recycle bin.
D) By throwing ourselves into a new form of writing, one that gives us the options we need to get messy and escape with thoughts intact.
Multiple Choice, the piece you’ll be reading for homework tonight, is a book about options. As readers, we decide where meaning lies in the text—or, indeed, whether the text has any meaning at all. There aren’t any wrong answers; there’s no answer key in the back, no interview where Zambra tells all. There’s just these questions, and a list of options that we can only hope will answer them.

This is, I propose, how all-prose functions.

Whatever prose has come to mean to you, it’s undeniable that the process of reading prose (or, perhaps, any form of literature) involves choice-making. Do we unpack the implications of our interpretations? Do we accept a narrator at their word? Do we choose to read the homework at all? No matter what we’ve come to do and believe, we’ve learned one thing for certain: medium matters. And for prose, a genre that attempts to shirk attention of its medium, it matters all the more.

That’s why for this Personal, Cultural, and Critical essay, we’ll be using a different medium: the blog. Hosted at, our class’ blog will be a way for us to examine the intersection of our personal experience, cultural lives, and critical reception of our selected pieces with a mixture of text, image, and external links. Blogs are a space that prioritizes working through ideas, rather than knowing things for certain.

The central questions to ask yourself for this assignment is:

“What elements of my personal life and cultural experience interact with the presentation, subject matter, and tone of my selected piece? And how can I use a new medium (the blog) to explore those options?”

Personal, Cultural, and Critical Essay #2

Points of Evaluation (towards the point total of 10)

I will be looking for the following:

Your ability to synthesize (aka weave together) your specific, personal experiences, a reflection on the culture we live in, and an analysis of specific parts of the text itself. You should use specific textual, personal, and cultural references in constructing your analysis.
Your use of the medium you’re writing in. A blog affords things (a non-academic tone, hyperlinks, embedded images/gifs/videos, bold & italics & the exclamation point, etc.) that a traditional essay doesn’t, and I’ll expect you to use those advantages to benefit your ideas.
Your effort to accept and incorporate peer feedback, and to respond directly to each others’ work. Another affordance of a blog is the ‘comment,’ and I’ll be looking for at least three comments from everyone on each other’s work (we’ll do this in class). These comments should be thought out and fully respond to the posts they address. In revision, writers should attempt to address questions or concerns that were brought up in the “below-the-page” conversation.
Your effortful completion of basic project requirements: your blog post should be at least 750 words (before edits responding to your peers’ comments). The first draft of these papers should be considered “middle-state” artifacts, not final products.
When you submit your essays to Canvas, you will submit a direct link to your blog post on the website. Additionally, in the assignment comment, I will expect you to name the three classmates’ blogs you commented on for peer review and provide a direct link to those classmates’ blogs. Failure to do so will result in a grade penalty.

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