Engl 2310 / World Lit Fall 2017 Reading Response #1
Due Date: Wed., Sept. 6 (submit paper copy OR on Blackboard)
Readings: García Márquez, “The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World” and/or Smith, “Not Waving But Drowning”
Al-Salih, excerpt from Season of Migration to the North
Your assignment is to write a 400-500 word Reading Response (see explanation below) in
which you analyze compare/contrast two of the first three texts we read in this course (Garcia
Marquez, Smith, and/or Al-Salih).
Compare/contrast an important theme or motif in the texts and explain its meaning and
significance. Use the techniques of close reading we discussed in class. Remember, the words
on the page are your evidence.
(Hint: Consider the figurative significance of drowning (or nearly drowning). What does this
device show us about communities or the relationships between people? Or about an
individual’s desire to live, make choices, or overcome obstacles? What might it show us about a
person or a community’s relationship to water, the ocean, or the environment? Do not address all
of these themes in your response; pick one, or choose a different theme that interests you.)
In your comparison of the two texts, try to use alternating arrangement, as we discussed in class.
Lead with your ideas, and then use specific examples from the texts to support your analysis.
Include a Works Cited page.
Note: You are not required to refer to outside sources in this assignment. If you do use or consult outside
sources, though, they MUST be cited. Always!
Useful MLA citations:
Al-Salih, Tayeb. “Season of Migration to the North.” The Water and Culture Reader, edited by
Schubnell, Fountainhead, 2011, pp. 475-77.
García Márquez, Gabriel. “The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World.” University of Texas Dallas,
www.utdallas.edu/~aargyros/hansomest.htm. Accessed 28 Aug. 2017.
Smith, Stevie. “Not Waving but Drowning.” Norton Anthology of Modern and Contemporary Poetry, edited
by Ramazani et al., 3rd ed, vol 1, Norton, 2003, p. 710.
What is a Reading Response?
A Reading Response should:
—begin with a close and critical reading of the assigned text. Good reading habits include
underlining important passages, writing notes in the margins, taking notice of ideas you agree and
disagree with and taking note of things that you do not understand so that you will have something
valuable to contribute to discussion.
—be shorter than an essay and slightly less formal. You should write in paragraphs, give your
responses a main idea/thesis, and include evidence from the readings. You do not need an official
introduction or conclusion. It’s good practice for your essays!
–use correct MLA citation
—include a short discussion of the main ideas and/or thesis of the text, but the reading response
should not be only a summary of the text. I want to hear your analysis of the text.
–be specific when you refer to information or ideas you are reacting to from the readings.
Provide evidence from the text. This comes in the form of (short) quotes.