ENG 124 Discussion Forum on Charting of Tompkins Essay

2.6 Introduction to Jane Tompkins

The Deep Dive Begins

Throughout the course, your will be working closely with Jane Tompkins’ fascinating argument, “Indians: Textualism, Morality, and the Problem of History,” which is posted on the next page. Below I have included a brief bio and some other resources should you want to learn more about her.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

Brief Bio

Jane Tompkins (born 1940) is an American literary scholar (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. who has worked on canon (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. formation, feminist literary criticism, and reader response criticism (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.. She has helped develop the idea of cultural work (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. in literary studies (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.. She earned her PhD (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. at Yale (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. in 1966 and subsequently taught at Temple University (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site., Duke University (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site., and the University of Illinois at Chicago (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site..



  • Reader Response Criticism. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1980.
  • Sensational Designs: The Cultural Work of American Fiction, 1790-1870. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985.
  • West of Everything: The Inner Life of Westerns. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993.
  • A Life In School: What The Teacher Learned. New York: Perseus Books, 1996.

Additional Online Resources by and about Tompkins


2.7 Before Reading/Reading/After Reading: Jane Tompkins’ “Indians” (print text here)

Take These 3 Steps…

Step 1: Preview the Text Before Reading

Before reading Jane Tompkins’ “Indians: Textualism, Morality, and the Problem of History,” think critically about the title by doing each of the following:

  1. consider the genre and source of publication and determine who is the audience for an argument like this (you can also google the scholarly journal);
  2. look up and make sure you understand the key words in her title: “textualism” and “morality”;
  3. brainstorm why history might be a “problem”;
  4. contemplate why she might be calling the word “Indians” out for attention by setting it off with with punctuation, as well as what the colon after it might set up;
  5. in other words, what might you predict about her argument based on the title?
  6. if you want to discuss any of these questions with your peers, I have created an optional Discussion Forum on the following page.

Step 2: Annotate the Assigned Reading

Step 3: After Reading: Watch and Take Notes on this Lecture

After your first reading (most students need to read her essay more than one time to fully comprehend it) of Jane Tompkins’ “Indians: Textualism, Morality, and the Problem of History,” watch and take detailed notes on “Indians” and New Historicism, a brilliant lecture by Dr. David Nunnery, who teaches a course that prepares students for university-level work. Ignore his comments with regards to exploring information later in the semester, as you are not in his class. I am having you watch this for our class because Nunnery succinctly introduces and contextualizes (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. Tompkins and her argument, as well as summarizes some important theories that will help you to understand her argument. This brief lecture will prove beneficial as you work closely with Tompkins’ argument in this course–and later in the semester, attempt to write your own essay in the same style.



Part I: Post (100 points)

Post Charting of Jane Tompkins’ “Indians: Textualism, Morality, and the Problem of History.”

  • Your must post before you can see anyone else’s charting.
  • The longer you wait to post, the less time you will have to engage with your peers and edit your original post. Edits will be accepted through Sunday at 11:59pm. When you revise, do not create a new post, just edit your original as much as you like until the deadline.
  • Make sure your post meets all of the requirements of charting as outlined in the previous unit, and that it looks like the sample given. Follow directions presented in 2.7 closely.

Part II: Participation (40 points)

Make at least 2 significant replies (a minimum of 10-12 carefully-crafted sentences, each worth 20 points). The goal is to critically engage with your peers on the charting of Tompkins’ text, including your understanding of her argument and how she shapes it, as well as the assignment. You may ask questions or make comments, of course, but they are not considered “significant” replies. With that said, do not limit your engagement to the two required replies–dig in!

Moreover, keep in mind that charting is not a science; for example, two of you may have grouped paragraphs a little differently but arrived at the same major claim. (Remember to create ONE precise and concise sentence for each group of paragraphs you make.) While not all charting will look the same, reasons can be given and supported on why some groupings are more accurate than others. The only thing that is fixed is the amount of paragraphs in Tompkins’ essay, and you will all want to make sure you have numbered them the same; there are 45.

Finally, there is only one accurate major claim (personally, I think it has two parts), but it can be phrased differently. (Hint: Do not look for the thesis/major claim in the beginning of Tompkins argument–you are in advanced composition.) Remember, the major claim should be in your own words and quotes should never be used in charting. To receive a high score on Part II, I will need to see sustained, quality engagement on the forum. Remember, in an 8-week course, each day is two days!

Her are some additional ideas for successful participation on this forum:

  • Help peers who seem to not understand the assignment and/or Tompkins’ major claim/thesis.
  • Compare your major claim/thesis for Tompkins to someone else’s–one that is quite different–and try to determine which one (if either–or both!) is most accurate.
  • Discuss questions that come out of your dialog; such as what, according to Tompkins, is the problem of history?. Discussions like this may help you better to understand the major clam.

Remember: Late Discussion Posts and Replies are never accepted. They are “real time” assignments.

"If this is not the paper you were searching for, you can order your 100% plagiarism free, professional written paper now!"
WhatsApp Inquire from us on matters homework
%d bloggers like this: