Paper #2: Textual Analysis

Length:††††††††††† 5 pages

Text:                Any work of fiction that we have read up to the due date of this paper (exceptions: do not write this paper on the same text on which you wrote your first paper or served as discussion leader)

Research:         None

Due date:

For your second paper, you will write a longer essay about a text, using the skills of close reading to support a coherent, well-developed argument about that text. This paper will be a sustained argument centered on a specific thesis, one that uses support from the novel you are analyzing. That support itself should be based on your close readings of the text.

The topic for this paper is open; you may write on any idea that you have found interesting in any of the texts we have examined. This paper could have a sharp focus, for example, on a character, a relationship, a conflict, a motif, or a question in the text you are discussing.

Your thesis should be specific, and it should be one that you can discuss completely in the space of five pages. In other words, donít choose a thesis that is too grand or too simplistic for you to prove adequately in the space allotted.

This paper is not simply an explication of a passage, as your first paper was. However, close reading is the spine of any good literary analysis, and you will need to do close readings of many passages to prepare for making your argument. Think of your previous, close reading paper as an exercise in preparation for this longer assignment. Literary critics donít usually just analyze one passage from a text. Rather, they analyze several lines and passages as support for their larger argument about that text. So donít be afraid to spend a lot of time in your paper on only a few quotes from the text. And plan to include one long passage in your paper that you will explicateódo a detailed close reading ofóin support of one of the points of your thesis. (Rather than attach a photocopy of this passage to your paper, as you did for the previous essay, instead check MLA format for how to block a long quote within the text of your paper). Body paragraphs are especially successful if they concentrate on specific passages rather than use the passages to merely punctuate the argument. 

Be sure to include a works cited page and in-text citations, according to MLA format. Again, I strongly encourage you to come to my office hours well in advance of the paper due date to discuss your thesis statement and support for this paper. You should also review all of the paper-writing materials in your course packet. And remember, late papers will be graded accordingly.