Walk in the Woods

Walk in the Woods
Length: 4-5 full pages (excludes cover page and works cited, neither of which are required here).

Typed, double-spaced, 12 point-font.

The assignment:

You have no engagements, commitments, obligations, or duties; no special ambitions and only the smallest, least complicated of wants; you exist in a tranquil tedium, serenely beyond the reach of exasperation; “far removed from the seats of strife,” as the early explorer and botanist william Bartram put it. all that is required of you is a willingness to trudge. (Bryson 71)

Choose from one of the following questions:

1. What is the appeal of the Appalachian Trail according to Bryson? Can you identify with his desire to set out into the woods?
2. How does Bryson interact with the natural world during the hike? Does he discover an untramelled wilderness, or is his experience shaped by cultural understandings and preconceptions?

Guidelines:

Focus on the essay prompt and avoid the temptation to recount plot events at length. This assignment is graded on your ability to analyze the text, not just to summarize what you have read.

For this assignment, only cite Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods. Please avoid other sources, including online. This essay is your reflection on the text, not an external research paper.

Relate your arguments to specific passages from the book, quoting directly but sparingly. Paraphrase wherever possible, and do not attempt to pad your response with half-page quotations from the text!

When citing directly, follow quotation by parentheses in MLA format with last name of author, followed by page number: e.g.: (Bryson 121).

Please submit a first draft via email, if you would like me to offer constructive criticism.

Contact me with any questions.

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Grading Criteria

“A” Grade: Well-written, original, and insightful essay sustaining a clear, logical argument from beginning to end. Essay contains a beginning, middle, and end, with clear and concise points throughout. Strong thesis, introduction and conclusion. Strongly addresses both the question and written assignment guidelines.

“B” Grade: Well-written, insightful essay. Most points laid out in a clear and logical fashion. Essay contains a beginning, middle, and end, with clear and concise points throughout. Student understands both the question and written assignment guidelines.

“C” Grade: Some good points, but uneven quality. Essay undermined by lack of clear argument. Introduction and/or conclusion needs developing. Fails to address written assignment guidelines in satisfactory manner.

“D” Grade: Little effort to answer question, lack of central argument. Unsatisfactory attention to detail. Weak or irrelevant arguments.

“F” Grade: Avoids the question. Assignment either not submitted or lacking any effort.

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