Longer Essay & Colloquium: Expansion



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English 110 Spring 2011

Longer Essay & Colloquium: Expansion

Colloquia 5 & 7 April; Essays due Tuesday, 19 April, in class


Longer Essay: Expansion

If you have been struggling with the constraints of the shorter essays, here’s what you’ve been waiting for: your first Longer Essay, the Expansion. There are so many ways to write more. You might add a fine point or complication or shift in your argument, additional evidence or example or support, a counterargument or challenge. These possibilities are useful in keeping your subject alive while stretching it.


And this is the task for your Longer Essay: Expansion. Take any one of your first five shorter essays (your 5th isn’t eligible if you took the long option), and revise it into a more complex and thus lengthier piece. Ultimately, this essay must be at minimum three (3) times the length of the Shorter Essay you turned in (so, 4½ -6 pages minimum,, depending upon the length of the original, which must be turned in again). Find necessary ways to expand your essay. The new length should be essential to your subject, approach, and material. Keep your subject alive, and your essay tight – this is not a time to let structure and organization and grammar slacken. Essays really can mimic elastic, which is longest when it’s at its weakest and deadest and most useless. To that end, while students are helping each other expand, your instructor will be identifying common types of filler, or those dead and weak and useless kinds of writing sometimes used to fatten up anemic essays.

  • Requirements: A vital version of one of the first five shorter essays expanded by at least three (3) times its original length with material critical to the thesis. Integrate any new material into the style, organization, and logic of your essay. Turn in your original shorter essay packet (with instructor feedback) with your final essay.

  • Cautions: You must stick with your original idea / thesis / subject. You may expand the scope of the original idea / thesis / subject, or, for that matter, you may limit it further. You must retain the original approach, evidence, and basis for argument; you may expand or limit any of these.

  • Permissions: You need not limit yourself to just one means of expansion. Use whatever techniques you deem necessary to your material, provided they are reflective of good writing.

  • Notices: Grading for Longer Essays is more holistic and less standardized than grading for shorter essays. Please revisit the Academic Writing Standards and see the link for “Grades for Longer Essays” on the course webpage for more information.

► Reflection: Discuss the tasks by which you expanded your essay, and the necessity of the additional length. How was the new material necessary to your thesis? How did you develop and then thoughtfully integrate that new material? Compare this version to the original Shorter Essay upon which it’s based. Don’t forget to address one of the five standards and the writing exercise colloquium! How was your experience leading the class in a writing exercise? How did you and your partner work together? Did you try anything unusual in your essay or exercise that you’d like to explain? Any parting thoughts?





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