Length: 750-1000 words, not including works cited
Deadline: variable / see course schedule
Must be turned in in hard copy, stapled – no exceptions and no late essays accepted

ENG 3220 Sample Reflection Essay

Throughout the semester, you will have six opportunities to turn in a reflection essay on the unit we’ve just completed in the course. You are required to choose three of these opportunities and complete a reflection essay for each one.

Your reflection essays should:

  • Demonstrate your understanding of key terms, concepts, historical events, and/or biographical information covered in the lecture for the unit as well as in the assigned readings and class discussions
  • Demonstrate your ability to apply those key terms, concepts, historical events, and/or biographical information to at least 50% of the assigned texts in the unit

Reflection essays are more informal than traditional essays insofar as you don’t need to come up with a new argument that’s in dialog with secondary sources. Your reflection essay, however, should have a thesis and should marshal its evidence (taken from assigned readings) in support of that thesis. And your thesis should be based on the information covered in lectures, class discussions, and assigned readings. You might consider the following as a model for your opening sentences:

The most important concept (or concepts) in the unit on [X] is/are…. This/These can be seen in works by [author 1, author 2, author 3].

The rest of your essay, then, will go on to show how each work illustrates what you believe the key concept(s) in the unit to be. This is a very basic (and admittedly, a kind of boring) way of structuring your essay, but it will get the job done insofar as your job is to illustrate your comprehension of course concepts and your ability to apply them to more than half of the assigned readings in any given unit. You will be rewarded for making your essay coherent and compelling within these parameters, and I especially encourage you to look for patterns and to try and test out the logic or implications of the information presented in lecture. Remember: if you claim that a specific text illustrates a specific concept, you have to show this to your reader rather than just say it. Use quotes and follow them with explanations that illustrate how the text you’re working with is engaged with the concept you claim it is.

In addition to writing your reflection essay, you need to search for a title page in ECCO, a  database offered through our library. You can find the title page for an assigned text in the unit, a title page for a work not assigned but by an author we’ve in the unit, or you can use your searching skills to find something related to the unit that is interesting to you but which we did not cover. Here is a link that will help you navigate the database. When possible, I prefer to see the earliest publication date of a given work (so organize your searches chronologically and/or once you’ve identified a title you’re interested in, run a new search based on title and organize your results chronologically at that point). Please print the title page of your work and staple it to the back of your reflection essay.

Grading Criteria:

A: The reflection essay uses key terms, concepts, historical events, and/or biographical information accurately. The essay’s discussion of at least 50% of the assigned reading shows a mastery of the material and proceeds according to the conventions of writing about literature. The essay makes a clear claim or claims about the assigned texts and its evidence is organized accordingly in support of the claim(s). The essay is well-written and uses correct grammar, punctuation, and MLA style. The title page provided from ECCO is clearly relevant to the unit.

B: The reflection essay uses key terms, concepts, historical events, and/or biographical information accurately. The essay’s discussion of at least 50% of the assigned reading shows a mastery of the material and proceeds according to the conventions of writing about literature. The essay makes a clear claim or claims about the assigned texts and its evidence is organized accordingly in support of the claim(s). The essay, however, requires more attention to style, grammar, punctuation, and/or MLA style. The title page provided from ECCO is clearly relevant to the unit.

C: For the most part, the reflection essay uses key terms, concepts, historical events, and/or biographical information accurately – although there may be one significant or two minor errors or points of apparent confusion. The essay’s discussion of at least 50% of the assigned reading shows that the student has completed the assigned readings, although one or two mentioned texts are discussed too briefly or in vague terms. The essay makes a clear claim or claims about the assigned texts, but its evidence is not always clearly relevant. The essay may also require more attention to style, grammar, punctuation, and/or MLA style. The title page provided from ECCO is questionably relevant to the unit.

D: There may be two significant or three or more minor errors or points of apparent confusion with regards to the way the essay uses key terms, concepts, historical events, and/or biographical information. The essay discusses less than 50% of the assigned reading and/or calls into question whether or not assigned texts have been read in their entirety. The essay’s claim(s) may be difficult to locate and the essay requires more attention at almost every level: from content to organization to style and citation. No title page from ECCO is provided.

F/0: The essay violates WSU’s academic integrity policy.

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