Response Paper #1: Significance Statement

Double spaced, standard 12pt font (Times New Roman, Arial, Verdana, etc.), approximately 2 pages.
Due Thursday, Feb. 4 in class.

The assignment:
Choose a short passage (1-3 sentences) from one of the assigned readings (Phillips, Monaco, Plantinga, or the 3 entries from the Dictionary of Psychoanalysis that you found particularly interesting, illuminating, infuriating, or otherwise significant and write a brief essay discussing this passage and why you think it is important to the the central arguments of the reading as you understand it. Please include your passage at the top of the page and be sure to note the author and the source, including page number.

Consider the following questions and use them to help you formulate a response; you don’t have to answer every one. What does the passage mean? Does it mean something different on its own than it does in the context of this essay? Why? How are the ideas in the passage related to the author’s main argument? What can you say about the meanings of individual words, particularly the technical terms? Do particular words have more than one meaning in the sentence? Try to really dig into the quote you’ve chosen — look at it as closely as you can.

Some Tips:
Before you start writing, take some time looking at your quote, taking notes, looking up words, or whatever else you need to do to formulate your argument. Try to have some sort of idea of what you will say before you start writing. Good planning is a large part of good writing.

Support your arguments with evidence from movies and/or the text. Make sure you back up your assertions.

Don’t worry about impressing your reader with fancy vocabulary and sophisticated syntax; big words and convoluted sentence structure do not necessarily make good writing. Don’t use a thesaurus and make sure that you know the meaning of each word you use. Work to get your thoughts across clearly and accurately rather than to impress your reader. Substance is much more important here than style but proofread carefully and avoid careless mistakes.

If any of this is unclear, or if you think you might have misunderstood the instructions, be sure to let me know. You can post a question in a comment if you’d like or email me.