english 201

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Nonfiction & Inquiry


This short module asks you to produce a "short response paper" to "This is Water" by David Foster Wallace. Wallace gave this commencement speech in 2005 for the graduating class at Kenyon College.


READ: THIS IS WATER by David Foster Wallace

LISTEN TO: THIS IS WATER by David Foster Wallace
part 1 :: part 2

I am less interested in who Wallace's audience is and was for this and more interested in...

What does it mean to you? Make you think about? What did you look up? Why? What did you learn? What changes will or won’t you make in your life based on this speech?

 …Those approaches are more appropriate for this paper than a summary. My main objective is for you to give me original thought. Your thoughts.


But, what is a response paper?


2-3 pages MAX


MLA or APA (if citation is used)

1" margins



From About.com

From Washington.edu

From University of Texas, El Paso

Read ALL 3 RESOURCES! They won't say all the same things! Use your best, educated judgement to proceed with this piece of writing based on these sources, or others you find, that thelp you write a quick RESPONSE PAPER. Include a reference list for any sources you consult for this paper.

Spelling & grammar count, but what I'm looking for are ORIGINAL IDEAS and THOUGHTS and PERSPECTIVE.

Having both read and listened to "This is Water," using the 3 sources (above) on how to write a response paper (or others you find), write your paper.

If that's not quite enough for you, I've put a discussion board in ANGEL if you'd like to bounce ideas around with one another. This discussion is OPTIONAL but certainly could help you flesh out ideas and discuss credibility of your sources as well as help you decide how to best approach this assignment.