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Length: 1000-1200 words

Your first essay assignment of the semester will ask you to put into writing the type of “close reading” analysis we have been undertaking in our class discussion. There are two options for approaching this essay, both of which offer generous room for personal choice in selecting your specific topic. You need not answer all of the “questions” in the following options; these are merely there to help with your planning and line of thought.

1) Choose any one story we have read so far this semester and write an essay in which you attempt to explain, to the best of your ability, the story’s theme or overall meaning. In short, what do you think the author was trying to say by writing this story. What specific passages from the text support your argument about the story’s purpose. You should review the chapter on theme handed out. In considering  overall meaning, you should consider formal aspect’s of the story’s composition, including its narrative technique, its characters, plot, setting, use of symbolism, etc.

2) Choose any two stories from the semester to write a comparative or synthesis essay.  This essay should not simply be a list of similarities and differences (i.e., compare/contrast), but should offer an overall argument that illuminates both works by examining them in relation to one another. It should pay particular attention to how narrative voice functions in each text, if possible.

Each essay should begin with an introduction that ends with a clear thesis statement that tells the reader what you will attempt to demonstrate in the essay. Generally, in a literature paper, the thesis statement is an interpretive or analytical claim that is, an argument about literary meaning or style. In the body paragraphs, you should engage in the analysis of SPECIFIC TEXTUAL EXAMPLES that support the claims you are trying to make. Specifically, your essay should contain numerous quotes from the text (block quotes for longer passages) that will function as evidence. You should do no outside research for this essay, but if you look at any outside sources PLEASE CITE ANYTHING THAT IS NOT YOUR OWN IDEA. If you are caught plagiarizing you will fail, no questions asked.