Ms. Gokturk

Trends in Literature


Pamela Zoline’s “The Heat Death of the Universe”

Editorial Project (200 points)

(Adapted from University of Massachusetts’ Prof. Bob Crossley)


            Editorial work is an important scholarly activity in all literary studies, and especially so with texts of science fiction or that don’t have a canonical standing, unlike some of the big canonical works (Romeo and Juliet, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, etc.) This project is an introduction to annotating texts for readers.

            Imagine yourself part of a team of scholars contributing to an anthology. Your[*] job is to write an introduction to Pamela Zoline’s short story and then decide what you feel needs explanation for your readers who are reading the text for the first time. Your editor has asked you to do the following:


  1. INTRODUCE. Write an introduction to the text.
  2. DEFINE. Choose 20 points that you feel are the most important for a first time reader (without the guidance of fascinating end of the world class) to comprehend the story. Footnote any terms or allusions that are likely to be difficult, as well as any concepts that need explaining.
  3. EXPLICATE. You may also use your annotations to explore some of the literary elements for the story (i.e., structure, imagery, repetition, characterization, symbolism, theme, metaphor, etc…).
  4. CONNECT. Connect the significance of the research to the story. How does this fit in and help us glean more from the story?
  5. DEVELOP. The total length of your project should be 5-7 pages double spaced. You may decide what proportion to spend on the introduction and how much attention should be given to each footnoted item. REMEMBER: sometimes footnotes are longer than the actual piece cited!
  6. DIG DEEPER. You will see that there are 23 points already “highlighted” in your copy. There were more, but the  Xerox did not copy them; DO NOT limit yourself to these terms. Most of them are basic definitions. Use them as a guideline on what terms could be explained but look deeper. Be creative in your literary analysis and looks for obscure and unheard of points. In other words, if you find another term of idea that you are not familiar with, you should incorporate that.
  7. LABEL. Please indicate the paragraph number from which each point your annotated in your final project.
  8. DON”T PLAGIARIZE! Your final annotations must include 20 footnotes. Each footnote should provide enough explanation for the reader. This information should be in your own words. NO COPY AND PASTE.
  9. CLARITY. Please clearly number all footnotes and include the term. You may use the numbers provided in your text. If you are adding others, clearly label the paragraph number and term. (Ex. 2. Foraminifera: defining sentences…)
  10. ORGANZIE AND LABEL. Each term should begin a new paragraph. Each paragraph should be labeled, like the Zoline story, by the number of the paragraph from which the item comes. Pleas follow the chronology of the story.
  11. CITE YOUR CITATIONS. Here’s a weird requirement: Please footnote all footnotes with a proper citation. [see handout]
  12. EVALUTION. You will be graded on thoroughness, detail, and clarity.



    • Read over the story several times, annotating carefully each time.
    • Use the Internet, dictionaries, encyclopedias, mythology guides, etc.
    • Keep in mind all the things you as a reader would like to understand as you read.
    • Enlighten us!

[*] You may work with a partner for this project. If you choose to work with a partner, however, you must be sure that your project reflects “double the work” (as in, choose 40 points to annotate and/or develop research further…).