You will turn in one book journal based on Solomon Northup’s Twelve Years A Slave. As you read keep a journal organized by chapters of your reactions and responses to the specific incidents and/or interpretations in each chapter. Begin the journal with the Preface or Introduction if applicable; end the journal with the conclusion or epilogue if applicable. Do not simply tell me that you “enjoyed” it or that it was “interesting.” Indeed, avoid those terms. The purpose of the journal is to assure that you comprehend the book, can grapple with the problems that it raises, and to encourage you to think analytically and critically about the author’s ideas and research. Ask yourself, as you write in the journal, such questions: Do I agree with the author? Why or why not? What thoughts or ideas does the author stimulate within me? What kinds of arguments does the author advance? Do I agree or disagree? Why or why not? Might one consider the book a cultural, social, political or military history? How does this chapter enhance and/or alter my concept of a particular aspect of history? Does this event or development have any message for our times? What do I think about this or that event or practice? How does this book illustrate, clarify, or otherwise relate to specific topics that you encounter as you read the chapters in American Promise and thought about the ideas that various scholars advanced in video lessons from “Shaping America.” These questions are for purposes of illustration; you are not confined to them (I suggest you take them seriously). Be creative, descriptive, and use a lot of adjectives. As mentioned above, think analytically and critically. Your journals should contain: reactions, responses, questions, thoughts, ideas, illustrations, analysis, criticism, interpretation, and expressions of relevance. You must react to a sufficient amount of each chapter so as to convince the instructor that you not only have read the book, but that you have thought about it. A mere summary of the author’s main points is unacceptable; tell me what you think about the book and explain how it ties into the course.
A mere summary of the author’s main points is unacceptable; tell me what you think about the book and explain how it ties into the course.