ESSAY

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Assignment Instructions

Write a 500-750 word essay on ONE of the following topics. The word count does not include formatting or the works cited page.   

  • Option 1: Write a critical analysis of one of the works from weeks 1 or 2. An overview of approaches can be found here, but many are quite straightforward. Psychological, gender, sociological, biographical, and historical are all approaches that many use naturally in viewing a work. 
  • Option 2: Compare and contrast two of the works from weeks 1 and 2. Be sure that you have isolated a strong and debatable thesis on which to build the essay. Simply pointing out the differences is not analysis. Toward that end, you may want to focus on a specific element of the stories.
  • Option 3: If there's an aspect of the works from these two weeks that particularly interests you, you may choose your own topic, but you must run it by me first to be sure it is headed in an analytical direction.

Your essay should be formatted in MLA style, including double spacing throughout. All sources should be properly cited both in the text and on a works cited page. As with most academic writing, this essay should be written in third person. Please avoid both first person (I, we, our, etc.) and second person (you, your).   In the upper left-hand corner of the paper, place your name, the professor’s name, the course name, and the due date for the assignment on consecutive lines. Double space your information from your name onward, and don't forget a title. All papers should be in Times New Roman font with 12-point type with one-inch margins all the way around your paper. All paragraph indentations should be indented five spaces (use the tab key) from the left margin. All work is to be left justified. When quoting lines in literature, please research the proper way to cite short stories, plays, or poems. 


Assigned Readings for Week One 

Week One: Identity and Post-Civil War Poetry

1. Emily Dickinson," I'm Nobody! Who Are You?"

2. Emily Dickinson Biography
3. Walt Whitman: author biography and literary analysis "The Good Gray Poet"
4. Walt Whitman, "Song of Myself"
5. Walt Whitman, "A Noiseless Patient Spider"


Assigned Readings for Week TWO

Mark Twain, "War Prayer"
Charlotte Perkins Gilman, "The Yellow Wallpaper"
Robert Frost: "Mending Wall"
Edwin Arlington Robinson, "Richard Cory"
Edwin Arlington Robinson, "Miniver Cheevy"

Varshika Srivastava "Modernist Exponents in Robert Frost's Poetry: A Critical Analysis"

Danny Heitman "Verse and Adverse"

Finding Literary Criticism

Writing About Literature

Thesis Statement Development

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  • Assignment Instructions

    Write a 500-750 word essay on one of the following topics. The word count does not include formatting or the works cited page.

    • Write a critical analysis of one of the works from …