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A Philosophical Response to Fiction
For the purposes of our class the response paper is 5 pages.
What you need to do in order to fulfill this assignment is:
• Create a summary sheet on the fictive piece that includes: characters, plot, themes, and
evaluation (for an example see: michaelboylan.net, blog, book reviews)—this will help
you start your paper; it is not a part of your paper.
• Isolate a single passage in the book that you feel is pivotal to the theme of the book (this
passage can be consecutive, for example pages 10-22, or it can be constructed on a
common theme, for example pages 135-137 & 192-195 & 238-240.
• Briefly go through the scene highlighting character, plot, and tropes (metaphors, motifs,
• Try to discern a particular point of view within the passage that mirrors the book
• Decide whether you agree or disagree with this point of view
• Set out the relevant practical and theoretical philosophical principles at stake and apply
them to the problem.
• Use 3 philosophical principles to help you create a positive or negative reaction to the
author’s theme (in the small and the large realm). If it is positive, think of bringing up
objectors and refute them. If it is negative, engage in a dialog with the author—ending
up by rejecting position. The theme should be readily understandable from the scene you
• Reflect on the significance of your position. What abstract general points about the
world have now been elucidated? * most important point. At least a page.
Rubric. If you represent all eight points sequentially in your paper you will earn some kind of
“B” grade (so long as you are also close to 5 pages, i.e., within a half-page under or a full page
over). To get a high “B” or an “A-“ or “A” grade you will have to do well on the reflection