Essay Prompt: Write an essay of at least 6 full pages in which you respond to ONE of the following prompts:
- Analyze a specific character, passage, symbol, or theme (from one of the works we’ve read of your choosing) in order to develop a thesis about the significance of that specific character, passage, symbol, or theme within the literary text as a whole.
- Analyze the ways in which issues of race, gender, and/or class shape the selected work/s of literature (from one of the works we’ve read of your choosing).
- Analyze the ways in which the selected literature reflects and also contributes to its particular historical moment and cultural context (from one or perhaps two of the works we’ve read of your choosing).
After you choose the topic you want to explore and the literary work(s) you will write about from the works we’ve read in the course, then draft a thesis that will guide your paper. Please make sure your thesis is debatable or arguable. Please do not try to prove something that we already know, such as African Americans have had to persevere. I’m not sure that anyone can argue with you about this point.
Write an introduction that:
- Grabs your audience’s attention
- Names work and author
- Indicates your approach
- States thesis
Write body paragraphs that:
- Have clear points: explicit topic sentences
- Relate to thesis supporting and developing it
- Have relevant, appropriate, logically developed supporting details
- Include supporting quotes from the text (remember though that your writing is the voice driving the paper, not the text!)
Write a conclusion that:
- Sums up
- Shows significance or relevance of analysis
Research: You are required to do some research to support your argument. You must include at least three credible, scholarly sources in your essay (in addition to the text). You must use the CCBC database or library to locate this source. Jstor is the literary scholarly database. Please note: Two of the three required scholarly sources must be literary sources, not sources written about psychology or other academic areas. Remember, too, that the goal of the research is to understand the larger scholarly discussion of the text about which you write so that you may situate your interpretation and analysis within that literary discussion. This may include the historical, cultural, and political conditions of the author and text, as well as the available literary criticism. Please remember that using random famous quotes in your essay does not constitute the inclusion of a scholarly source that supports your argument.
Audience: Since your audience will be your instructor and other members of the class, you will not have to summarize the work. However, you will be required to cite specific examples from the text as you make the points of the argument.