Literary Analysis Papers Assignment Sheet

Literary Analysis Papers Assignment Sheet
Literary Analysis Papers Assignment Sheet

Write two 4-page literary analysis papers that provide developed, thesis-driven arguments. You have the option of incorporating one of the literary theories we’ve discussed in class. For these papers you will have to choose one of the literary text(s) we’ve read this semester, develop an argument, and support your thesis with evidence from the literature of your choice.

Again, the goal in each paper is to develop your own original argument about a text, rather than to repeat what we already have discussed in class.  By “original,” I mean attending to questions, issues, and/or sections of the text that we have not addressed. Your paper need not say something that no one else has ever said; it simply needs to strike out in a direction that we have not covered with respect to the text(s) about which you’re writing, which can include ideas and problems we discussed with respect to other texts. Ask yourself what interests you about the text(s), and use that answer as a way of guiding you to your own interpretation.


Things to Note:

Writing Rubric:

Such papers have to focus on 6 main areas

- Thesis – Is there a definite argument laid out in the introduction (as opposed to just a statement of the topic or topics you’ll address)?  Do you make clear what aspects of the text or texts you will be examining and why they are significant?  Is the argument sustained throughout the essay?  (Often the clearest statement of the thesis can be found in the conclusion, since you’ve discovered it while writing.  You might want to put that statement in the introduction and rewrite accordingly.)

- Evidence – Is every point supported through direct evidence from the text?  Do you make clear precisely where the text does what you claim?  Are your claims based on explicit proof, or are they more or less assertions without direct substantiation in the essay?  Does the evidence you’ve quoted fit the point(s) you’re trying to make?

- Explanation/Explication – Do you make clear how the evidence you present does what you say it does?  Do you offer discussion of the details or tone of the quotes you present?  Do you draw on those details as a way of developing and nuancing your points? i.e. Close-read portions of the text to support your argument.

- Transitions – Does the topic sentence of each paragraph make clear what that paragraph will be arguing?  Does the topic sentence make clear how that paragraph follows from or builds on the one before it?  Do you tell your reader why this paragraph comes after the previous one?  Do the paragraphs seem more like a list than an argument (“another example...”)?  Is the structure chronological (just following the order of events in the text), or is it logical (organized around the main points of your argument)?

- Style – Have you proofread for spelling, punctuation, and grammar?  Are your sentences clear, and do they flow?  Are there any awkward or vague moments?  Do you offer any turns of phrase that capture your points in a particularly evocative or compelling way?

- Overall Coherence – Do the parts of the essay all work together?  Does it read like a unified whole?



Literary Analysis Papers Assignment Sheet

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