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4-5 pages DS (try not to exceed 7) and a Works Cited page

What do you do? Similar to Unit 1, select 2 of the following texts: Hamlet, Antigone, or Oedipus Rex, and a Literary School of Criticism of your choice

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How do you write the summary? In Unit 1, you were asked to create an interpretation of the text that you selected, focusing on the text itself. In this paper, I am asking you to select a main text and a school of criticism, which means you will need to focus on something significant that will allow you to center your critical reading of the text to the material itself. You will likely want to focus on characters, contexts, themes, symbolism, or some other larger concept; this paper is less about what a text “means”, and more about how to create a persuasive and compelling reading of a text through a theoretical lens.

In general, there are many possible interpretations of any text, depending on what you choose to focus on. Your job is not to try to cover every possible perspective, but instead to focus on whichever perspective the text seems to you to most emphasize. There may be more than one interpretation, but there are more and less plausible interpretations.

Much like the first paper, this one is asking that you create a critical thesis and support it using your interpretations from the texts you have chosen. However, this paper requires that you add in the tool of Literary Theory to the mix. In this case, it is most likely the best idea that you select a common element (character, theme, contrasting ideas) and utilize that to work from. Unit 2 does best when you have a strong central thesis that you are examining; a compelling “so what” goes a far deal further than copious summary and retreading story beats. Your ability to quote, draw conclusions, and show evidence are a major portion of this paper’s function.

What is the purpose of this assignment? This paper operates similarly to the first paper but is asking you now to add in some critical themes to deepen your analysis. The “how” and “why” of the writing is now much broader—you should be looking for things that link, compellingly, your selected work and theory. You should also look for tonal patterns, re-use of specific types of imagery, etc. This is less focused on “summary” as it is on the “how” and “why” so make sure you are paying closer attention to those aspects, and a key facet of theoretical readings is that they are exactly that: theoretical. While you must still focus on reading and interpreting the text correctly, theory papers succeed on how interesting your approach is and how you back it up, not just that you can show reading comprehension.

WARNING: Resist only responding to part of a prompt; for example, don’t only talk the text and then barely touch on the theory! This results in an incomplete section as the unarticulated attitudes, beliefs, and values also needs addressed. Make sure you CITE where it’s required. A works cited page IS required!

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