two critics argue similarly W r i t i n g
n this essay, you will put together an argument about a specific interpretation, idea, issue, concern, or concept in a text (one or two) of your choosing from our readings this semester. The substantial difference here from our previous assignments is that your argument should respond to a problem, issue, or exigence that you find in the scholarship on the text or texts. If you would like to use the same journal article that you used for the Source Essay, that is fine. You may use an additional journal article or scholarly essay, but you may not use more than two in total. The big idea here is that you are situating what you have to say about a text within the larger critical conversation that scholars are having about the text.
What the final product will look like
In an introduction of about 300 words, you will first set up your argument, describing the interpretation, idea, issue, concern or concept you will be discussing and the argument you will make in the essay. This introduction should include a clear articulation of your argumentative thesis, and it should otherwise be focused directly on your specific topic.
Then, in about 600 words, you will need to describe what your source or sources have to say about the text and the issue, theme, or concern you are addressing. Here, I want you to focus on clearly articulating what the author’s argument is, or, if you are working with two sources, how they interact with each other, where they agree or disagree with each other, where they converge or diverge from each other, where their claims, interpretations, assumptions, or mistakes overlap with each other. Be attentive to the complexities of literary argumentation when writing the review. In the end, you will want to arrive at a way of characterizing what your source(s) are arguing (“So-and-so argues that…” or “These two critics argue similarly that…”) that directs our attention to your essay’s particular focus.
Once you articulate your argumentative thesis, the rest of your essay (about 1200 words) will be dedicated to analyzing how the author or authors design the text(s) to arrive at a specific understanding of that theme, idea, concern, or issue. This section will look very much like your short essay(s). You should pay attention to the details of the plot, the development of character, the use of dialogue, the point of view of the narrator(s), the structure (or organization) of the story or narrative, important symbols or imagery, the author’s writing style, word choice (diction), the arrangement of words (syntax), and any other details that seem to you to be significant (the use of dialect, for example). The bulk of your analysis should be devoted to explaining how the author uses these elements to construct that specific understanding of their theme, idea, concern, or issue you are discussing.
Nuts and Bolts
You should include specific details (paraphrase, summary, and direct quotation) from the text or texts as evidence for your claims. Use in-text citations when you do, and include a works cited page at the end of your essay. In-text citations and the works cited page should be in MLA format. While you should feel free to bring in information from outside sources, you are not required to conduct any additional research for this essay.
The essay should have a clear argumentative thesis stated in the introductory paragraph, body paragraphs that clearly relate to and support that thesis, and a conclusion that does not simply repeat your thesis. Please use a standard font, 12-point script, and 1″ margins. Include your name, the course name, number, and section number somewhere at the top of the first page. Do not include a separate title page. Please number your pages.