This first should explore some of the major themes we have read and written about so far in one or two works of literature (I suggest covering two texts if you choose shorter texts/poems, and one if it’s a longer text/essay) from Volume 1 ONLY. Your essay should be 3-5 pages and be in MLA format (double-spaced, Times New Roman, 12 pt font, and with proper in-text and works cited page documentation). These should be well developed, argument-based essays in which you clearly state your interpretation of the text, and support that assertion with examples from the text. Be sure to make the focus of your essay the literature we’ve read, as opposed to some of the context about literature and history we’ve read. IF you use these context readings as all, keep it to a minimum using only one or two context references in your essay. DO NOT USE ANY OTHER SOURCES besides the Norton Anthology to write your essay.
Introduction and Thesis (one paragraph)-Your paper should begin by stating the general topic and themes you’ll write about, stating your text (full title and author’s full name), a brief summary of the narrative or essay, and some context (when it was written and any relevant historical background). Your thesis should be stated at the end of the Introduction paragraph, and should make an assertion about the way you think the text(s) should be read and what you think they mean overall. It should be argumentative and analytical, not merely observational. Consider ANSWERING any one of these question in developing a thesis statement:
FORM: how does the way the text is written help you understand the overall meaning?
IDENTITY: how does, culture, race, nationality of characters help you understand overall meaning?
Nature of REALITY: what interesting conclusions does the text draw about nature, reality, or humanity?
Body paragraphs-Here is where you support the way you think the text(s) by closely examining specific characters, scenes and examples from the primary text(s) — that is, the literature, not the background reading about the literature. Give your paragraphs clear topic sentences/points of focus. Focus on aspects that you find most interesting, subtle, clever or skillful – you should NOT go through summarizing or paraphrasing the surface meaning of the text(s).
Each body paragraph should contain at least one (two is probably safer) direct quotations from your primary text(s). Read this to learn about how to use quotations well: https://writingcommons.org/avoid-dropped-quotations
Conclusion-Here, bring your discussion to a close thoughtfully, rather than by mechanically repeating what you’ve already said. It can be helpful to emphasize your main points with a small bit of repetition, but add some reflection on such topics as the value of analyzing the text(s) this way for contemporary readers, or the ways that your analysis helps readers understand the social contexts of the periods they were written in. In other words, it should answer the question: “So What?”
Format and Style-Your essay should be in MLA format, without block quotations (nothing longer than 2.5 lines), and without a title page or subheadings. Please see any MLA format handbook, online resource, or my MLA format document posted on Moodle for help with these technical aspects. You should use formal language and word choice.
A successful (A) essay will assert a unique and interesting claim, be logically organized, have clearly focused paragraphs, offer textual support (at least once) in each body paragraph, and come to a logical and compelling close. An acceptable essay (B or C) will still have a clear thesis and body paragraph development (to meet the page/content requirement), but will somehow fall short by, for example, not presenting a logical organization. An insufficient essay (D or F) will not meet the length/development requirement, and fail to appropriately use textual support and documentation, and/or be off-topic. A grading rubric should be attached to the assignment with more details.