Please see the attached files for the sources. Also, a “Brainstorming Activity” worksheet and a “PERT” worksheet must also be completed, both of which are attached.
Assignment-at-a-Glance: You are required to write an essay in which you learn a lesson about life and/or the world around us (it may be a message or a moral) from an assigned work of literature and then teach that lesson to your reader. In order to convey that lesson to your reader, you will need to: a.) attribute the lesson to the author (otherwise it’s YOUR lesson, not theirs), b.) identify a specific and insightful lesson that you extrapolate from the work of literature, and c.) explain HOW the work conveys that lesson. You will assume the role of teacher in your essay and actually teach how a work of literature conveys its wisdom!
Detailed Assignment: After reading BOTH of the assigned plays (along with the assigned secondary sources), choose one of the plays to analyze and write your essay on. You need to discuss what you think the author/work of art has to teach us about life and/or the world in which we live, using concrete examples from the text(s) to support your argument (and only the assigned text!). You can begin to approach this assignment by asking yourself these questions:
● What is the message of this work? Ex: What is Shakespeare trying to tell us in this play?
● How is this work of art still relevant for today’s world, independent of when it was written?
● How does it communicate its message?
• Then ask yourself: Where do I see this happening in the text?
You can choose to write on virtually ANY INSIGHTFUL LESSON you find in the reading as long as you are able to put that lesson into academic language and persuasive structure (Title, Hook, Intro strategy, Larger Social Significance, Thesis, PERT, etc.) and support it with textual evidence (do NOT discuss things that are outside of the text for this assignment). Moreover, you must use inductive reasoning (that is to say you must reason from the particular to the general). You have to generalize a lesson; you must infer a larger social purpose (not merely limited to the “actual” or even the historical events in the work). In other words, you are being asked to see how what happens in a work of art might be true for YOUR reader, and then you must find plenty of textual evidence from the readings in order to illustrate and support your thesis.
NOTE: You must develop an insightful thesis that goes beyond a surface-level argument. The lesson should go deeper than clichés and “stock wisdom.” If what you say in your thesis is something many people have heard before, it’s NOT insightful. Avoid clichés, stock phrases (that are repeated ad nauseum in our culture), and other surface-level ideas. Make sure that you are adding to your readers’ understanding of the work you are writing on; help them see something that you saw, that most people might not have seen on a first reading/viewing!
Two questions to ask yourself to see if your thesis is insightful enough:
1.) Does your reader already know this? (In other words, did they really have to read the work of art to discover the message you have in your thesis or have they probably heard many times before?)
2.) If your reader has read the work of art at least but haven’t memorized or analyzed it yet, is your thesis something they’d probably get out of a first reading? If yes, then your thesis isn’t quite insightful enough. That means you’re probably staying on the surface with your analysis. You can usually go deeper by trying to answer “how” the work of art tries to teach that lesson (as in What and Why/How indicated in Essay Writing Essentials).
In your essay, make sure to include:
1.) An Introduction with a Hook and Intro Strategy in order to establish the Larger Social Significance of your argument and build toward your Thesis.
2.) Develop four to six Body Paragraphs using P.E..R.T., with clear, concrete examples from the texts you’ve chosen to help your reader/audience understand your argument clearly;
This means you need to include at least TWO SOURCES per body paragraph in order to develop your argument and support your thesis! I recommend using a concrete example from your primary source (the play you’re writing about) for the first (Example/Evidence), follow that up with Reasoning (remember E:R = 1:2), then transition to another E from a secondary source (scholarly article) and follow up that Example with more Reasoning (1:2) that further explains and supports your Point before Transitioning to your next paragraph.
3.) Conclude by rephrasing your argument, using a Conclusion Strategy, and re-emphasizing its Larger Social Significance!
Minimum Requirements to pass the assignment (70/100 or a “C”):
Length: 6-8 paragraphs (approximately 1200-1600 words or about four-five pages).
Sources: Minimum of five sources (as outlined below):
a) Source 1: ONE of the Plays: Death of a Salesman OR Fences
b) Source 2: Provided Scholarly Article #1 on the Play
c) Source 3: Provided Scholarly Article #2 on the Play
d) Source 4: Third Scholarly Article on the Play
e) Source 5: Fourth Scholarly Article on the Play
Your essay must be typed using MLA format, 12-point font in Times New Roman, one-inch margins, and double-spacing. You must submit your essay electronically to TurnItIn.com as a .doc file. The essay is due by the start time of class on the day noted on the Course Calendar. No credit will be given for late essays.
Thesis: Pose an argument interpreting the play and how it challenges the way that you and/or the audience thinks. Your thesis could be phrased in the following manner: “A Raisin in the Sun, written by Lorraine Hansberry in 1959, helps audiences better understand the idea that African American culture must return to a more African-centered value system in order to find its lost identity, rooted in a place from which they were violently removed.” In any case, be original and thought-provoking.
Points/Paragraphs: All Points must support and expand on your thesis. Remember, answer your reader’s questions about your thesis such as how and/or why. Moreover, Points must be opinions/arguments, not facts or questions. Your paragraphs develop concrete examples that support your points through facts and reasoning. Remember P.E.R.T.: Point, Evidence, Reasoning, and Transition!
Conclusion: Beyond simply rephrasing your argument, you should include in your conclusion a way to help your reader see the larger social significance (LSS) of your argument.
Organize your essay logically and include smooth transitions throughout.
Finally, proofread your work to make it relatively free from grammatical errors.
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