Abby Walthausen – Guidelines for Annotation Assignments


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Because of the new structure of our class this quarter, I am going to be asking you to do a number of your reading assignments online here at Rap Genius. Since we can no longer all chat about the reading everyday, I am expecting that the annotations you post each week will keep us in good touch with the texts and with each other and that your thoughts will maintain the flow of the discussion between class meetings.

Below, I'm giving you a few ideas for good annotations as well as an example text.

A well annotated text consists of...

  - Unusual vocabulary tagged and defined

  - Figurative language and literary techniques identified

  - Significant lines interpreted

  - Outside connections to text (can be funny or serious)

Even if another student has already left an annotation, you can still add your own comments.

Here is an example of a familiar poem with sample annotations by yours truly...

  In a Station of the Metro

  The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
on a wet, black bough.

     — Ezra Pound

Edit the description to add:

  • Historical context: the work's place in history, how it was received
  • A summary of the work's overall themes (example: "Here, Byron evokes the classic struggle between virtue and temptation...")
  • A description of the work's overall style and tone
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