Assignment: Write an essay that defends a thesis you developed through a close critical reading/analysis of a poem listed on the syllabus/weekly activities and supported by at least three secondary sources. This essay still relies on textual support from the primary text, but includes at least three secondary sources that support/sustain the student’s argument. Do not confuse “critical analysis” with “summary” nor should you speak of “relating” to the poem; the goal is to develop, sustain, and advance a thesis based on a critique of the primary text but also supported by at least three secondary sources. Use the MLA International Bibliography, JSTOR, and/or Project MUSE as in Essay 3 to support your ideas and thesis.
Choose one of the poems in chapters 9-16 in Backpack Literature (excluding William Blake’s “London” and the extremely short poems or the doggerel like the satire of Shakespeare’s ‘Thou art as lovely as a summer’s day’ as that will be covered by a sample essay) and write a three to four page essay analyzing it through a close reading that takes the poem completely apart. As we did in discussing Shakespeare’s soliloquies and other speeches (and as some of you did in Essay 3) each line of the poem should be discussed in depth to support your thesis. Examine the words and the word origins, the images, the diction and tone that build up in the poem, the structure of the poem through its rhythm, rhyme, and meter. This is a difficult assignment, though it may appear simple. Don’t wait until the last minute to begin.
After you turn the paper in through Canvas, I will grade and return it to you via email as a Word or OpenOffice file. I will make comments throughout the paper to offer guidance on how to improve the paper and your writing in general. If you choose, you may revise the paper once for a new grade—I am a big believer in revision, so I urge you to take advantage of this option. You may have until the end of the term to re-submit any or all of your formal essays for a re-grade.
·Double space your essay; include your name, the course number and section at the top of the first page
·Avoid the use of the second person as it is conversational and too direct. Use the first person to describe your own thoughts, but better to use the third person.
·Introduce your poems and authors by full title and his/her full name early in the paper. Thereafter, only use his/her last name.
·Do not focus on the writing process.
·Be sure that you do not simply summarize or paraphrase the poem. Assume the reader knows the poem you are talking about; your job is to help the reader see below the surface and understand the poem better.
·Write in the present tense, but do use tenses to show chronology in the speech itself as needed.
·Always use direct quotes to support your claim, and thoroughly explain what each quote means and why it is important to your thesis. A good rule of thumb is one quote per paragraph, though with a poem it may that be several quotes per paragraph are needed.
·Examine how your poet uses language—including similes, metaphors, and other comparisons, symbols, rhymes that link concepts, archaic meanings of words and their etymologies—use the OED through the links at the Troy library website (you pay for the subscription as part of your tuition—use it), etc.