Building on the close-reading and interpretive skills required for the first essay, Essay #2 will require you to develop your own thesis and then to make an argument based on that thesis using close-reading of at least two or more passages from a selected text. For this assignment, students will select one of the works listed below and use close-reading analysis to demonstrate how evidence from the text supports a clear thesis argument. Remember that a thesis is a statement that your essay asserts as true (you make a claim) but that requires proof (through textual analysis) that it is true. Summary or opinion without substantive literary analysis is not interpretation, and therefore not proof of an argument.
In the Tarot deck, the ?Death? card is not read as an ominous foreboding of doom but rather as a sign of change and transformation. In essence, it signifies that something must end in order for something new to begin ? a sign of change and transformation. Similarly, in the works we have read that are listed below, death marks a beginning or a transformation for a character or others. In other words, in these works, one can argue that death makes possible change so that something new (be that an event, life path, or new perspective or idea) can arise in the wake of a tragic ending. For this essay, you will make a thesis driven argument on why a death (an ending) makes transformation (change) possible and what is at stake in that transformation for the character(s) or the world that character inhabits.
For example: With the death of Othello, what changes take place that otherwise may not have happened among the leaders of Venice? Or, why must the wedding-guest have to hear the ancient mariner?s tale of death in order to get on with his life? Or, why does Electra need the death of her mother in order for her life to have meaning? Or, why does death both define and protect the hamlet of Sleepy Hollow from change? Or, how does the recognition of death define the world of ?In a Bamboo Grove? and ?Rashomon?? These are some questions to jump start your brainstorming and thesis developing process ? but you are not limited to addressing one of these questions; in fact, you are encouraged to develop your own. An essay that merely answers one of these questions will not be very original ? since we are providing the question ? and therefore not very successful.
You can select to write on one (and only one) of the following texts:
Ryūnosuke Akutagawa, ?In a Bamboo Grove? or ?Rashomon?
Samuel Coleridge, ?The Rime of the Ancient Mariner?
William Shakespeare, Othello
Washington Irving, ?The Legend of Sleepy Hollow?
Important Components of your Essay:
1) Make sure you have a clear thesis, which makes an argument (not a summary) about the text
2) Make sure to support your argument with evidence from the text
3) Make sure to close-read that evidence, and tie your reading into your thesis argument
4) Pay attention to advice provided in Dr. Valint?s ?Writing Workshop? for detailed information about structuring your essay
5) We strongly encourage you to make an appointment with the Writing Center ? either in person or online ? well in advance of the essay?s due date. Keep in mind that Essay 2 is due after Spring Break and that the Writing Center will be closed during Spring Break.
Minimum Expectations for Structuring Your Essay:
? A specific introduction that leads up to a clear thesis statement (offering an argument, with a point of view, instead of a summary), and ends in a strong transition to your next paragraph
Paragraph 2, 3, 4 (as many paragraphs as needed)
? Each with a clear topic sentence forecasting your next paragraph, one argument that supports your thesis, textual evidence supporting your argument, and close-reading of that evidence
Paragraph 5 (last paragraph)
? A closing paragraph that reasserts and restates (in new words) your argument and the conclusion you draw from that argument.
-Paper must include the academic honesty statement at the top of the first page
-Paper must be a minimum of 850 words in length, not including the heading/title, plagiarism statement, running headers, footnotes or endnotes, and the works cited page
-Paper must have an interesting and original title
-Paper must offer a clear argument (not just a summary)
-Paper must provide close-reading analysis of at least one passage from the primary text
-Paper must include a works cited page
-Paper must be typed, double-spaced, written in 12-point Times or Times New Roman font, and formatted according to standard MLA style
-Paper file name must conform to the following: essay1lastnamefirstname.
For example, if your name is John Doe, your file name would be: essay1doejohn
-Any evidence of plagiarism will be result in the immediate failure of the essay and, potentially, of the class.
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