Response Feedback Sample

Response Feedback Sample

Example of Feedback

I took a slice of one of the responses from last week totally at random and went over a few grammatical and conceptual infelicities. Below is the text (in offwhite) and my comments (in red). This is just an example, and the difficulties here are ones that are very widespread across the student body, and therefore it makes a useful illustration. Please come to see me if you have any questions about the grammatical, stylistic, conceptual or any other aspect of the assignments or the project overall.

Excerpt from Student Response

There is an arguement that Haruki Murakami’s Dance, Dance, Dance
has a realistist [„realistist“ is not a word. What do you mean?]approach. The [What do you mean by „stylistic writings? Writings about style? Writings that were primarily stylisitic exercises? Are these writings different from his fiction? This reads as if you are pinpointing a small, specific body of work by Murakami, other than his fiction. What do you mean by „style“ and „stylistic“? What do you mean by „realism“? Also avoid using passive constructions – verbs in the passive voice and impersonal sentneces like „There is an argument that …X“ Where is this argument? Whose is it? Do you believe it or disbelieve it? How does it relate to your critical take on Murakami – either the one you are developing as you read him or the one you would be presenting in this paper?] stylistic writings of Murakami has obvious [Why is it „obvious“ that his writings have {you have a subject-verb agreement error here} „realistic language and presentation“? Since we’re reading it in English, the obviousness of the question is hidden in the Japanese. Not so obvious. And within that language, even reading it fluently, we would still have to face crosscultural differences among different criteria for „realistic language.“ As you may know, the very idea of a „realistic“ prose in Japanese is relatively recent and has a vast, complex history. In short, there’s nothing really obvious about the „realistic “ language or presnetaiton in Murakami’s works – even we limit ourselves to the English translation, the ease with which he slides from medium cool postmodern ennui to psychic channeller throws another monkey wrench into the „realistic“ distinction. Finally – when you write about an actually literary concpet or movment, be sure to research it, and to define it clearly to yourself and to your reader, and to stick within the parameters of your definition. This helps avoid a major error that’s very easy to fall into : confusing technical terms with every day usage. „Realism“ as a literary or epistemological category is not the same thing as „realistic“ which is NOT a technical or critical term, but rather a term from everyday usage, that is quite subjective, quite casual, and not only of little use in a critical discussion, but it is literally unrelated to the terms derived from „Realism“ in the technical senses. Consult my theory and concepts links pages for places to go to find out definitions, and practice with concepts. Among the sites you should use a lot is Professor Alan Liu’s, The Voice of the Shuttle. Point your browser at . For Japanese Literature-specific resources, We have several new pages on our site:

  • jwriter.html – For Modern Japanese Literature and General Reference Sources
  • classic.html This is for resources on premodern Japanese literature, culture, and religion.

For other Humanities, Theory Resources:

  • Last Resorts – Originally written for my Hysteria and Paranoia seminarians, these sites are ones not to miss, no matter what your field is.
  • Review Originally compiled for my Semiotics and Psychoanalysis class, the links are a combination of practical review and conversations in progress.

  • An Overview of Semiotics this was written by Scott C. Davis for my Detecttive Fictions class – it’s lucid, exacting, gripping, and linked to hotlinks for semiotics and linguistics. You should visit this one sooner or later.
  • How Do You Say ‚Nephropathy‘ in Bulgarian? This is an online version of my chapter on how to use the Internet for professional research, and why you should, and what to remember about people while you’re doing it.


realistic language and presentation. Although the novel is riddled with
ghost stories and bazaar[pay attention to spelling! Mispelled words really bring down the look and feel of a paper.] occurances, it[Here’s more passive constructions. They tend to run away with the discourse if they’re not nipped in the bud.] cannot be labled as pure fantasy.
Coupled with the none hard cover copies of science fiction bringing down
sales, Murakami falls under all categories. [The string of words beginning with „Coupled with …“ is not a sentence, nor is it English. Reread it and I’m sure you’ll see what I mean. Also, you’re conflating a socioeconomic situation from the U.S. (Vonnegut’s decision in the late 50’s early 60’s) with the problem of genre in Murakami’s work. The two don’t mix. They have nothing to do with each other. Murakami isn’t trying to market his novels as science fiction, and indeed, they are not science fiction, so it’s a good thing he isn’t doing that. But the problem you mean to be addressing or calling to the reader’s attention is the category of fiction in which Murakami is writing – that has nothing to do with the marketing strategy of the Vonnegut anecdote.] [The sentence after this one would be tautological if it actually meant something.] Exploring what realism means in
literary terms makes it clear what Murakami’s writing contains.[ The renegade participles in the sentence (relatives of the participles in the „coupled with“ sentence above, but far more wanton in their Wanderlust) actually smother the would-be tautology before it could circle in on itself. You’ll be amazed at how much easier an argument will be to get off the ground and maintain when you monitor these grammatical habits –

  • (1) overuse of passive voice;
  • (2) unmotivated and unsituated impersonal sentence constructions
  • (3) dangling participles


For an Online Grammar Reference Click Here
For more grammatical troubleshooting from one of my other classes, start Here