COMPOSITION II ASSIGNMENT SHEET FOR FINAL PAPER In this paper, you will choose a larger subject to examine analytically. The subject for this paper could be a novel, a collection of short stories, a play, a television series, a movie, or a group, institution, or idea in society, among other possible topics. You will need to have a clear, narrowed, and focused thesis statement that is analytical in nature and will need to examine the subject from this focused and narrowed lens. An important step in writing analytical essays is to ask a good analytical question, one that poses a challenging way to address the subject you will write about. Establishing that question wont be your first stepyoull need to do some observing and annotating, and even some interpreting, as a way of developing the question itself. But focusing on what that question might be early in your analysis helps you approach your essay with something to explore, an idea to discover (that will inform your thesis) for both you and your readers. A good analytical question: (1) speaks to a genuine dilemma in the text. In other words, the question focuses on a real confusion, ambiguity, or grey area of the text, about which readers will conceivably have different reactions, opinions, or interpretations. (2) yields an answer that is not obvious. In a question such as Why did Hamlet leave Denmark? theres nothing to explore; its too specific and can be answered too easily. (3) suggests an answer complex enough to require a whole essays worth of argument. If the question is too vague, it wont suggest a line of argument (e.g., Why are there so many references to acting in the play?). The question should elicit analysis and argument rather than summary or description. (4) can be answered by the text, rather than by generalizations or by copious external research (e.g., Why did Shakespeare depict madness in the way that he did?). Tips to keep in mind: How and why questions generally require more analysis than who/ what/when/where. Good analytical questions can highlight patterns/connections, or contradictions/dilemmas/ problems. Good analytical questions can also ask about some implications or consequences of your analysis. Thus, the question should be answerable, given the available evidence, but not immediately, and not in the same way by all readers. Your thesis should give at least a provisional answer to the question, an answer that needs to be defended and developed. Your goal is to help readers understand why this question is worth answering, why this feature of the text is problematic, and to send them back to the text with a new perspective or a different focus.* Remember to avoid the following in your writing: A common sense approach Teaching or exposing a moral or life lesson Unnecessary plot summary A subjective tone (no I believe or I feel) Writing this as a report (a presentation of information without analysis) Unsupported points or comments (including avoiding generalizations) With all that said, here is what it required: 1. 5–7 pages, double–spaced, in a standard font 2. A minimum of 3 sources beyond the primary work. 3. A focused and overt thesis statement, which is analytical in natureone clear idea that you develop throughout the essay.
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