English 300 Fall 2020 Essay #1 Assignment WHAT: a literary analysis essay, using close readings and literary theory WHY: For the past month and a half, you’ve studied one literary theory in depth; learned about four other theories from your classmates; and analyzed five texts using those theories. We’ve also talked about how to craft a thesis about a text and how to support your claims about a text by using textual evidence and close readings. Now, you get to apply all of that in an essay! HOW: Start by reading the prompts below and/or thinking about which text you want to write about. You will only write about ONE text for this essay! You may choose a prompt that uses a theory other than the one your group studied. (For example, if your group studied Marxism but you really want to write about the way the witch is portrayed in Into the Woods using a feminist lens, go for it.) On Wednesday, October 14, you’ll brainstorm a tentative thesis. On Monday, October 19, our Collaborate session will consist of a peer review session: make sure you have a full draft written by then – even if it’s a fully shitty draft. You’ll have a little time to revise based on your classmates’ comments, and then you’ll submit your first draft by Tuesday, October 20. I’ll comment on your drafts and return them to you by Friday, at which point you’ll have the weekend to revise, and you’ll submit your final draft by Monday, October 26. Prompts: Choose ONE prompt to jumpstart your thinking. If your idea takes you away from answering the question precisely, that’s fine – as long as you have a clear thesis about the text. If you have other ideas based on class discussions, that’s fine too. “The Reluctant Dragon” subverts the usual knight-princess-dragon story. Discuss how these subversions affect the story’s themes. Some possible approaches: Use a feminist lens to consider whether gender roles are affected, and how. Use a psychoanalytic lens to consider how the subversion affects the portrayal of various characters’ interior lives. Use a deconstructive lens to consider whether the subversion smashes the binary of human/non-human etc. How does A Tale Dark and Grimm portray women? Does the text lump all women together and make a statement about the way all women are? Or does the text provide multiple versions of what a woman can be? Most fairytales have a clear division between rich and poor, noble and peasant. How does A Tale Dark and Grimm deal with that fairytale element? How does Into the Woods deal with it? People who experience trauma often repress their memories of the trauma. In psychoanalysis, repression also occurs as a result of desires that society considers taboo or shameful. Focusing on one character in A Tale Dark and Grimm, “Goblin Market,” or Into the Woods, discuss how trauma and repressed memories or repressed desires show up in the text (these can be either as real trauma and repressed memories as part of the story, or elements of the story that can be interpreted as trauma and repressed memories or desires). Requirements/Rubric: Formatting: 5-6 pages Times New Roman, 12pt font double-spaced MLA heading and page numbers MLA in-text citations Works Cited Page Content: clear thesis in the introduction thesis includes a “so what” or “why does this matter” component every point relates back to the thesis each paragraph contains one idea, no more every point is explained in your own words every point is supported or developed via textual evidence (quote, paraphrase, or summary) the last paragraph concludes the essay by returning to the thesis
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