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The Soloist By Steve Lopez - The Peay Read

Creative Response Guide

The Peay Read is intended to help you open your mind to new ideas and to think critically about issues that face our society. Saints at the River by Ron Rash was selected for the Fall 2013 Peay Read because it presents rich themes for the reader’s consideration.

Thematic Topics in Saints at the River:

Power of the Press
Framing the Message
Politically Correct Language
Ethics and Philosophy
Choices and Consequences
Learning from Failure
Costs of Failure
Life’s Chilling Truths
Social, Economic, and Political Aspects
Influence of Family
Personal Perception of Change over Time
Man vs. Nature
Sustainability of Nature
Rigidity of Nature: fracking, strip mining, electric fish nets, etc.

While this list of topics is not an exhaustive list, we would like you to keep these topics in mind as you are reading the book and to then explore them further by developing one of them into a creative response to the book. Your response can take the form of a poem, essay, screenplay, sculpture, video, choreography, photography, musical composition, painting, drawing, or anything else you come up with! We want to see what your mind can create.


  1. You must complete the Plagiarism Tutorial prior to submitting your project. It is imperative that you cite sources properly.
  2. 2. Your creative response should be in a format that is compatible with Microsoft (.doc, .docx, .ppt, .pptx). If you complete a piece of art or a visual project, please upload a digital image of the work in an easily viewable format (.jpg, ppt.). Videos should be uploaded to YouTube, and the link should be submitted. Any work that is submitted as a video must be limited to three minutes.
  3. ALL projects must be accompanied by a brief written description (no more than 100 words) explaining what the project is, why you created it, which theme(s) or topic (s) it relates to, and how it connects to a specific passage or passages in the book.
  4. An essay project should be no more than two double-spaced pages in 12-point Times font submitted in the format (MLA or APS, for example) the APSU 1000 instructor specifies.

Grading Criteria:

All projects will be reviewed by your APSU 1000 Instructor as well as the APSU 1000 judges. These criteria are what they will be assessing in your projects:

  • Evidence of original thought and rigorous approach to interpreting the book
  • Evidence of a clear relationship to the themes listed above
  • Evidence of clear connections to the book
  • Evidence of critical and/or creative analysis
  • Evidence of proper citation of sources
  • Evidence of distinctive quality

Adapted from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville’s Life of the Mind Consortium.