Week 6



Thoreau and Reading

“Reading” contrasts the disposable words of the orator (or the newspaper0 with the classics. Here it seem Thoreau himself is reading Latin and Greek, which he learned in college, but his use of classic is ambiguous enough that he could also be proposing his own writing – since a classic here is a serious book dealing with immortal truth. “… the adventurous student will always study classics, in whatever language [English?] they be written and however ancient [or not] they be…[1854?]” There’s an irony in the Harvard graduate asserting the woods are a better place for real study than the university. He advocates “reading as a noble exercise . . . not that which lulls us . . . to sleep the while, but what we have to stand on tiptoe to read and devote our most alert and wakeful hours to.” This chapter then does not so much advocate certain books but a way of valuing reading as something that one uses to grow. In his dismissal of shallow reading, he reminds me of some of the criticism people might make today about watching television or surfing the net.

Is there a contradiction between finding out for oneself and acquiring wisdom from the past?Perusall

Homework: For Tuesday

Digest comments on your short essay (see class Notebook); review the Thesis Paper Assignment and consider prospects for developing, shifting, or altering your topic.


  1. Discussion of thesis papers (process)
    1. See Class Notebook for topic development workshop
  2. Group presentation preparation, first session. Use Teams
    1. Please use the MS Teams Channel to collaborate and upload slides for my review Teams

HW: have your working thesis paper draft (i.e. partial draft) for class Thursday (min 3 pages)

(If you are having a specific challenge, use Teams to request we spend some class time on Thursday workshopping that issue).

Thursday - Team A

In-class workshops on your writing


  • see guidelines about titles
    • 1) Does the title align with the thesis
    • 2) Is it informative
    • 3) Is it compelling
    • Revise your working title.


  • see guidelines about thesis statements
    • Review your classmates' drafts
    • Share your understanding of the thesis
    • Suggest a clarification, revision, or alternative phrasing
    • Revise your thesis statement (consider 2 or 3 options).


  • See guidelines for incorporating sources
    • Review your classmate's draft;
      • 1) Are all sources used cited in the essay?
      • 2) Are good choices made as to summary / paraphrase / direct-quotation?
      • 3) Is the full publishing information for the source listed at the end of the essay?
      • Check and correct your source citations or bibliographic entries

HW: Thesis paper, First full drafts (due in class Friday)


Peer critique session (via Zoom - ALL)


Alt Google doc link

  1. Download and skim the guidelines above
  2. Read your partner's draft
  3. Add your name and comments in the document above
  4. Share the revision doc back to your classmate
  5. Discuss
  6. (Upload the comments you received to the ClassNotebook).

HW: Thesis paper - First revision due (via classnotebook) Sunday midnight

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