Approach this essay trying to answer the question, WHAT IS THE TEXT DOING? In other words, state your thesis in such a way as to ARGUE that the TEXT is DOING SOMETHING.
choose a passage from the giving story and FOLLOW the instructions WORD-by-WORD
3 Pages long, 12 pt, times new roman, and MLA style
Read the instrictions
Read the story
For your second essay, you will use a passage. You will once again choose a specific passage on which to focus. Create a thesis that is both specific and original.You will then support your point with a close analysis of the quote you’ve chosen. For this paper, you may introduce other quotes from the story (you won’t be required to do this), but your main focus should be on the quote you chose initially. The length of your essay should be between 2-3 pages. You should include a Works Cited page (not included in the page count) that lists the story, but again you may not use or cite any other sources. The essay and Works Cited should be formatted according to MLA Guidelines and use Times New Roman in a 12pt font.
MOVING FORWARD: In thinking about how to improve your writing from Essay 1, here are some further things to consider:
Beginning with a Strong Thesis
Based on what most people needed to work on in Essay #1, I’ve listed below a few steps that should help you create a stronger thesis, and by doing so create a much stronger paper.
1. As before, CHOOSE a SPECIFIC PASSAGE with which to begin. This should be anywhere between a single paragraph to roughly a single page.
2. Approach this essay trying to answer the question, WHAT IS THE TEXT DOING? In other words, state your thesis in such a way as to ARGUE that the TEXT is DOING SOMETHING.
DO NOT TALK ABOUT HOW THIS TEXT RELATES TO THE OUTSIDE WORLD. DO NOT IMMEDIATELY START TYING THIS PASSAGE TO OTHER PASSAGES. DO NOT TALK ABOUT “THEMES.”
DO FOCUS ON THE PASSAGE YOU’VE CHOSEN AND CLOSELY ANALYZE IT.
3. Start with an OBSERVATION that shows a CLOSE READING. If we think of writing critically about literature as part of a larger discussion in which we LEARN more about literature, then CLOSE READING becomes important to our overall understanding of the literature by providing us new perspectives on the work.
EXAMPLE OF A CLOSE OBSERVATION: The beginning of Wang Meng’s “Kite Streamers” places two symbols of two different social systems next to each other.
But this is only half a thesis . . .?4. SECOND AND MOST IMPORTANT PART OF A THESIS: PROVIDE YOUR TAKE ON WHAT THIS
EXAMPLE: In the beginning of Wang Meng’s “Kite Streamers,” by placing two symbols of two different social systems next to one another, Meng suggests that any kind of system creates constraints for individuals in day- to-day living.
But this can still be improved upon . . .
5. BE VERY SPECIFIC. When you say what it is that the text is doing, make your thesis stronger by being more specific. This limits how a reader might interpret what you’re saying to exactly what you mean and keeps you on track for creating a strong, focused paper.
EXAMPLE (improved on the above): The use of the capitalist symbols of the billboards and the communist symbol of the slogan in the beginning of Wang Meng’s “Kite Streamers” suggests that both systems impose societal constraints on individuals, implying that no matter what system one lives under, one must pursue personal goals that fulfill individual needs of a more personal nature.
6. NOW, ONLY USE QUOTES FROM THIS PASSAGE or QUOTES RELATED TO THIS IDEA that SUPPORT THIS IDEA. DO NOT EVER use an example in support of your thesis WITHOUT QUOTING IT.
To sum up, here are the parameters again. TEXT: Short Story
To do a close reading, you choose a specific passage and analyze it in fine detail, as if with a magnifying glass. You then comment on points of style and on your reactions as a reader. Close reading is important because it is the building block for larger analysis. Your thoughts evolve not from someone else’s truth about the reading, but from your own observations. The more closely you can observe, the more original and exact your ideas will be. To begin your close reading, ask yourself several specific questions about the passage. The following questions are not a formula, but a starting point for your own thoughts. When you arrive at some answers, you are ready to organize and write. You should organize your close reading like any other kind of essay.
THE BASICS (What to do):
1) Format your paper according to MLA style guidelines (see owl.english.purdue.edu/owl if you need help). Please remember to double space and write only in Times New Roman, 12 point font. Please use WORD DOCUMENT format when submitting on BlackBoard.?2) Select a passage no longer than 6 lines to analyze; place this quotation at the top of the page in quotation marks. Please include the parenthetical citation information in MLA style.
. 3) Compose a 2-3 page close reading on your passage using the definition and questions above. ?
. 4) You may use the first person, but only on a limited basis. Though it’s not strictly prohibited, ?
it should be rare that you need to use “I” in a paper like this.?5) If you would like feedback, you must meet with Dr. Armstrong during his office hours/set up an appointment early enough to give yourself time to implement this discussion into your paper. 6) You will be submitting your paper via Blackboard. A hard copy of your thesis, and possibly your paper, will be required in class if we discuss them before the due date. Bringing drafts and lead-in assignments to class will count as an assignment grade.
7) No outside resources should be or may be used in your analysis.