1. What is the main theme of W.S. Merwin’s “Late Wonders”?
2. What is the main theme of Jacob Lawrence’s painting “The Lovers”?
3. What is the relationship between the past and present in Faith Shearin’s “Fields”?
4. In what ways does Tim O’Brien’s “The Things They Carried” seek to de-romanticize war?
5. What was your favorite song that we listened to this semester? Why?
6. What character (from the short stories) did you most identify with this semester? How so?
7. Analyze Ted Chiang’s “The Great Silence.”
8. Do you think the mother in Jamaica Kinkaid’s “Girl” is a good mother? If so, how so? If not, why not?
9. What is the main theme of Denis Johnson’s “Emergency”?
10. What was your favorite painting (or photograph) we studied this semester? Why?
Also here are the rules :
2. When analyzing literature, poetry, film, theater, or music, you must employ the present tense. In other words, Gatsby “dreams” of gaining back Daisy’s love, rather than Gatsby “dreamed” of gaining back Daisy’s love. (The only appropriate times to use past tense during a literary analysis essay is when you are referring to events that took place before the narrative began.)
3. Under no circumstances should you employ 2nd person in your essays. There are no exceptions to this rule. The use of 2nd person creates a problematic, condescending tone, and often serves to distance your reader from your analysis.
4. No contractions.
5. The words “similar” and “different” should be used rarely, if ever, in an essay. These words are far too vague to provide the necessary critical rigor your paper should be employing.
6. The word “thing” should not appear in your essays; there are far more dynamic words to employ in its place.
7. Avoid absolutes. (“Always”, “never”, “everyone”, “no one”, etc.)
8. Avoid anecdotal evidence.
9. Keep pathos to a minimum.
10. Always define key terms that are, by definition, vague. (For instance, when you use a word like “normal”, be certain to define what you mean by that word. Remember: your reader might have a vastly opposing idea of what that word implies to them.)
11. Novel titles must be either italicized or underlined. The same goes for film titles, play titles, and titles of poetry collections and essay collections.
12. Individual poem titles should be in quotation marks, as should individual song titles, and individual essay titles.
13. Avoid vague phrases that verge on the colloquial: “back in the day”, “since the beginning of time”, etc.
14. When referring to the author of the text you are discussing, use his/her full name the first time you mention them, and their last name for the duration of the essay. Do not refer to them only by their first name; this implies a closeness and personal familiarity with them that you do not possess.
15. Be sure that you meet the minimum page requirements of the assignment. (i.e. if the instructor says your essay must be a minimum of 4 pages, then make sure your paper is at least 4 pages, rather than 31/2 or 3/14. And remember: Works Cited pages are not included in this count.)
16. Wikipedia, Sparknotes, and Cliffnotes are not valid scholarly sources.
17. Grammar and spelling matter.
18. There is no excuse for spelling the name of the author you are discussing incorrectly, or getting the title of the book you are discussing wrong. These types of mistakes will leave the reader with the impression that your entire paper has been produced in a lazy, haphazard fashion.
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