Essay 2 (4-6 pages)
Entering the Discourse: Essay on Drama
After practicing with your own analysis, you may think that most critical analysis has already been done or said or thought about all the works we are discussing in class. Indeed, there is a large collection of articles in journals that review the same stories, plays, novels, and poems we read in class. For this next assignment, I want you to learn how to engage with the criticism that already exists for these works and experience what it is like to contribute to such research in a meaningful way.
Your first objective in this assignment is to locate several articles on a play from our class textbook or from the supplemental reading list provided on Blackboard. The articles you locate must come from one of the academic databases or be approved by your instructor. Suggested databases include: Literature Resources from Gale, MLA International Bibliography (many of these articles may need to be Interlibrary loaned), EBSCO, Google Scholar (use the link from our database list, not the general internet link), JSTOR, Literature Resources from Gale, and ProQuest. For a detailed set of directions on locating articles from our university databases, look on Blackboard in Weekly Activities for the online class on We that required you to locate a scholarly article. You will need to bring printed or electronic copies of five potential articles with you for the first prewriting day.
After you have located the articles and completed the first prewriting exercise, you have a few options for how to proceed with the essay. Different types of articles will lead you to different choices in your own argument.
Option A: Furthering the Discourse
For the first option, you may find that an idea from a particular article works very well in uncovering some new idea within the literary piece you have found. If so, you need to consider what you, as a reader, can contribute to the article you have found. Is there some other element of the play that would add to the discussion in question, even though it was not covered in the article? Is there a different play from our book that could be read using these same methods to better understand the overall purpose and theme? If you choose this option, you should formulate a unique argument that meets the “how, what, why” thesis criteria and builds upon the arguments made in the initial article to understand some other part of the same literary work or some similar parts of a different work.
Option B: Filling in the Gap
You may find a good argument in one of your articles that leaves out some important idea from the literary work that would slightly alter the conclusions being made or more fully develop them. Filling in the gap requires you to make connections that have been overlooked by the author of the article to propose a slightly different understanding of the text. You will also need to develop a complete argument for this approach that may either address the article directly or simply address your new reading of the play, bringing in the article later to show its shortcomings.
Option C: Logical Flaws
When reading an article, you may find that some of the logic being used is faulty, given your understanding of the entire literary work or the author’s own purpose in creating that work. You may choose, in this instance, to critique the logic being used by the author of the article, using the literary work to support your claims as to how that logic does not work. For this approach, you will need to address directly in your thesis statement what part of the logic is faulty, how it is faulty, and why the work should be read differently to truly understand its purpose.
Option D: Faulty Conclusions
Just as you may opt to critique the logic being used by the author, you may also choose to disagree completely with the argument being made based on how the author of an article manipulates the content of the story, how the author approaches the subject, or any other problems with the article’s conclusions that you find to be incompatible with your own reading of the play. If you choose this option, you will need to locate a PRECISE way in which you disagree with the article and build upon this disagreement throughout the development of your supporting points. Your thesis statement will need to argue what about the article you find to be problematic, how it is problematic, and why a different reading of the text should be favored.
This essay requires at least three secondary sources and the play be cited within the essay and on the Works Cited page. One of the sources needs to be included in the introduction to show how you developed your thesis idea from an article. That source and the others will then be used individually in different body paragraphs to support your reading of the play.
Structure and Format
Your introduction needs to include:
- A discussion of the play with the author, title, and very brief summary.
- A description of the article from which your thesis was derived with the author, title of the article (not the title of the journal), and a very brief summary of the article’s main argument.
- A thesis statement that shows explicitly how your argument differs from the one being made in the article.
You should offer transitions, as needed, between these sections to make the introduction cohesive and coherent.
As with the last essay, body paragraphs should begin with a supporting point claim that serves as a mini-thesis and gives your argument, not the one being made in the article. You should then include your evidence with quotes and citations and an explanation of the evidence to show how it supports your claim. Because you are working with a primary source (the play) and secondary sources (the articles), there are two different ways in which you can structure body paragraphs:
- Point—evidence from play—evidence from article—explication of all evidence
- Point—evidence from play—explication of evidence from play—evidence from article—explication of evidence from article
NOTE: You must introduce each source before using it for the first time by giving the author’s name, the title of the source, and a brief description of the source. Always use the author’s last name without a salutation when referring to him or her in your essay.
- 4-6 pages in length (minimum of three full pages). Essays that are not at least four pages long will result in the lowest scoring category for each item on the rubric, regardless of quality.
- Times New Roman, 12 pt. font
- Heading in MLA style on the top left of the first page with your name, my name, and class name, and the date the essay is due. The heading should be double-spaced. The date should be the day the essay is due, written with the day, month, and year in MLA format (11 January 2013)
- Title should go between the heading and body of the essay. The title should be centered without any special formatting. No large font or bolding of font or italics or quotation marks around your title. The title should be original and provocative, not simply “Essay 1” or the title of the story you are analyzing.
- All pages should include a header with your last name and the page number on the top right corner. Theses should be true headers that occur above the margin of the page and not simply typed onto the first line of each page. Make sure your header is also in Times New Roman 12 point font.
- Works Cited go on the very last page of the essay and should be composed in MLA style. Make sure you cite the play from the anthology and not simply the anthology by itself.