Academic Analysis Of Literature Due Week 5

First Essay Assignment –Thematic Analysis 15%

Argument:
This assignment will allow you to explore a theme in Elizabeth Strout's writing. You will identify a theme and trace that theme in the text, supporting it with ample textual evidence (close reading of details, passages, and scenes form the book). There will be lots of class time spent discussing themes and approaches to the text - students are actively discouraged from reading secondary sources about the stories.

Theme:
A theme is what a book says about an issue. If “sex” is an issue in the novel, then “The novel argues that sexual desire is really a desire for acceptance” is a theme. Reasonable people can disagree with this theme - in other words, you have to make your case.

For such a short essay, you will need to pay special attention to narrowing your theme. “Family is important” is much too broad and vague a theme. “Family kinship is more important in the novel than individual desire” is a narrower and more specific theme.

Requirements:
The essay needs to be approximately three to four pages double-spaced, Times New Roman 12 inch Font. It will need to correctly cite and/or paraphrase passages from the text in correct MLA form.

Possible Issues:
The class will come up with a list of possible issues. You will want to choose an issue about which you are excited, one that intrigues you and that will hold your interest for the weeks that you work on this essay. Remember that the best essays attempt to answer questions (what is the novel saying about sex?); they don’t start with answers.

Process:
After choosing an issue that interests you, return to the text. Skim the text with this issue in mind, marking down relevant passages. Think of what the novel is saying about this issue (i.e. your theme), marshal evidence from the text, and sketch out an essay draft for conference. As you revise the essay, think about organization and argument support, be sure you cite specific details, lines, passages or scenes to support your claims, and be sure you explain how they support your claims. Remember that revision is not correction, it is a re-seeing of your argument and involves content and organization. Finally, edit the essay at the sentence level for style and grammar. The final version of the essay is due in a folder that includes 2 final copies and the first draft with my comments.

Grading Criteria:
A passing essay must:
Content

  • have a clear, focused, and arguable thesis statement
  • develop this argument thoroughly
  • support this argument adequately with passages from the text
  • integrate supporting quotes and paraphrases smoothly and correctly into the argument (make sure quotes are accurate)
  • adequately addresses opposing evidence
  • conclude somewhere near the bottom of page three (or on a subsequent page)
  • demonstrate revision (there should be substantial differences between the first and final draft)
  • be submitted in a folder with all required components

Organization

  • have an introduction that adequately introduces the argument
  • have a conclusion that adequately concludes the essay
  • as a whole, be logically organized into well-developed, well-organized paragraphs
  • use transitions between paragraphs to make paper organization clear for readers
  • use transitions between sentences to make paragraph organization clear to readers
  • avoid unnecessary repetition

Style

  • be clean stylistically, using concise and clear sentences, strong verbs and active voice, and sentence variety
  • be grammatically correct, avoiding “this” or “that” as a pronoun, using commas with an introductory phrases, using a comma and a conjunction to connect two independent phrases (phrases that can stand alone as sentences), using only a conjunction with compound verbs
  • employ a voice and tone appropriate for academic discourse
  • demonstrate conscientious word choice and diction
  • be formatted correctly? (1inch margins and Times Roman 12inch font)
  • include a works cited page, in correct MLA format, that lists the texts to which your paper refers
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