University of Wisconsin–Madison

Shared Goals for Writing across Undergraduate Literature Courses in a Large Department

English Department, UW-Madison

Students often complain that their grades on literature papers are “subjective,” and they struggle to please each professor, feeling as if every new class demands some arbitrary new set of criteria for good writing. But in fact professors tend to share eight crucial common goals for literary analysis essays, and although they may weigh them differently and use a range of words to describe these, most strongly agree on the features of a successful paper. 

The English Department wants to be clear about these shared goals

*so that you can see how the English major helps you to develop a core group of essential writing skills

*so that you can track your progress as a writer, identifying the specific skills you need to improve

*so that you can gain writing skills that will be useful to you after you graduate