THE DIALECTICAL JOURNAL

Through Jurassic Park

Introduction

A dialectical journal is a conversation between you and what you are reading. You simply write down passages that make you think or interest you and write about your thoughts. This process is an important way to understand a piece of literature. By writing about literature, you make your own meaning of the work in order to truly understand it. When you do this yourself, then the text belongs to you--you have made it yours. The passages are there for everyone to read; however, the connections and interpretations are uniquely yours. You are neither right or wrong in your response. So be willing to take risks and be honest.

Objectives

By doing this assignment you will:

* bring your own background and experience to the reading;

* construct your own meaning from the text of the novel;

* provide direct feedback to yourself and your teacher on your thoughts and understanding as you read;

* gain insight into the plot, action, and significance of events and details in the novel.

Procedure

* Journals are evaluated on the quality of your response.

* Select at least one passage for every 40 pages of the book. You will have 10 entries by the end.

* Select passages that YOU WANT to write about.

* Write a detailed response to the passage you have chosen.

* Simply read, think, and write as much as you can.

* Always be sincere about what you are saying in your writing.

* If you get stuck, use the following list to help you get started.

WRITE ABOUT: what you like, what you dislike, what seems confusing, what seems unusual, what you think something means, what personal connections you make, what predictions you can pose. Possible sentence lead-ins might begin like:

* I really don't understand this because. . .

* I really like/dislike this idea because. . .

* This idea/event seems to be important because. . .

* I think the author is trying to say that . . .

* This passage reminds me of a time in my life when . . .

* If I were (name of character), at this point I would . . .

* This part doesn't make sense because . . .

* This character reminds me of (name of person) because . . .