There is no time like the present to begin planning for your second essay for the course!
One of the primary ways that scholars analyze literary works, especially works of fiction, is to look at them using different literary perspectives to arrive at a unique conclusion about what the story [or poem] has to offer. It is through this type of literary analysis that someone might arrive at the idea that Edgar Allan Poe wrote stories of revenge because of his hatred toward his stepfather or that Emily Dickinson’s poems express her distrust of society or that Walt Whitman’s poems cross the line between male friendship and homoerotic desire while trying to hide that fact. One could also use literary analysis to investigate the ways that women are empowered or confined by society or the ways that a specific author investigates how money and power are entangled.
For your second essay, you will select any one text from the second part of the semester. You may choose one of the poets from this week and next week OR you may wish to wait for the short stories in weeks 13-14. [Of course, you can also read ahead].
There are several steps to this process –
1. Pick a text, of course! From weeks 11-14 ONLY
2. Carefully read and annotate
3. Look through the list of literary perspective questions. Choose Two or Three literary perspectives that interest you and seem to apply to your text and answer the questions listed for your text
4. Use this analysis to decide on a specific point you want to make or thesis you want to argue or idea you want to prove regarding that text.
5. Do any research necessary simply to help you [for instance, if you need to know more about women’s rights in 1820 or what was required of a domestic servant in 1780] – be sure to keep track of these sources and be very careful about internet sources since many people claim to know more than they actually do.
6. Go back through the text looking for supporting details you can use.
7. Find a minimum of 2 scholarly sources – one you can use as an expert to help prove your theory and one you can use to refute or argue with.
8. IF YOU WISH, you can also use other texts from the anthology for further evidence/support.
9. Write an essay that is at least 5 full pages when formatted correctly.
10. Be sure to include proper citations both in the text and in a citation page, that follows a consistent format.
11. Submit your finished essay and the questions you answered for step 3 above.
Your essay will be evaluated according to the University Rubric for Written Expression.
This second essay is due in five weeks – during Week 15. Begin thinking about your texts now; please e-mail me with your selections (as well as any questions you have about this essay assignment) at any time.