General Explanation of the Assignment

General Explanation of the Assignment:
FORMAT: This is a 3-page minimum essay, 12-point, Times Roman font, one-inch margins, no
extra space between paragraphs. (Points take off if format is not followed.)

SUBMIT: Deliver a hard copy on the due date at the beginning of class; also on that date submit
the paper as a Word attachment on the Turnitin link in Blackboard Learn.
AVOID consulting outside sources, particularly anything on the internet. Use your own good
mind here.

As with all papers, you will develop a thesis and organize your essay around the development of
that thesis. That thesis should appear near the beginning of the essay, and you should use it to
help you organize your discussion. In this essay, you will work with one of our readings,
developing an analysis that examines how a text uses rhetorical elements (for example, narrative
voice, diction, imagery, characterization, setting, dialogue, tone, irony, historical context, sense
of audience) to develop its central theme. Base your discussion on careful, close reading of the
text. Make yourself an expert on how your chosen story works. Your major focus will be a close

reading of particular passages and how you interpret them, but you will also want to draw on the
discussions of historical context we have had in class. (You may, if you like, consider a
comparison between two stories or essays). Questions you’ll likely consider as you are analyzing
passages to develop evidence for your argument may include the following:
• What central metaphors or images are used in each text, and how do they develop the
central ideas? What comparisons/contrasts might you find?
• How are characters developed? What characters change? What conflicts do they have,

and what does the story attempt to say about those conflicts?
• How is the form of each piece–its language and structure–related to the ideas it attempts
to get across? Is there a critique being offered in the piece?
• Pay close attention to language choice. What does it tell you about tone? Is the prose
distanced, passionate, ironic, understated?
• What is the attitude of the narrative voice?
NOTE #1: All literary elements used (characterization, plot, patterns of imagery, setting, diction,
dialogue, etc.) can be analyzed separately, but must be brought into an understanding of how
they work in concert to convey major themes of a story. Think always about how the parts you
are analyzing fit together.


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