Essay 2

ENG 2800 – Great Works of Literature

Second Essay Assignment 

Due date: November 5, by 11:59 PM. Please submit your paper via Blackboard.

Guidelines: 5 pages, double-spaced, 1-inch margins, parenthetical citations (no bibliography required). Please do not use outside sources.

In this assignment, I ask you to write a five-page analysis with an argumentative thesis focused on a particular topic, idea, theme, or motif from one of the literary texts we have read thus far. Please do not write on the same text that you chose for Essay 1. By analysis, I mean that your paper should engage closely with the language of the text. A close reading typically does the following:

It strives to

  • Focus on linguistic details, such as an author’s use of figurative language
  • Draw meaning from the details of the text
  • Connect broader claims to textual evidence
  • Show sophisticated attention to themes and ideas that are not self-evident (i.e., that are not simply true or false)
  • Demonstrate the evolution of a concept or idea (for example, “law” in Antigone, or “love” in Ovid’s Metamorphoses: how do these ideas evolve throughout the text?)

It avoids

  • Plot summary/paraphrase
  • Digression
  • Over-use of quotation
  • Broad generalization (e.g., “Since the beginning of time …” or “In Shakespeare’s time in general …”)
  • Vague language

I encourage you to meet with me for a one-on-one conference over Zoom if you would like to discuss your essay and strategies for good writing. I also encourage you to take advantage of the Baruch Writing Center by scheduling a consultation to discuss your writing before the essay assignment is due.

This essay requires you to focus your observations and claims to extract the most from your analysis in a small amount of space. If you have any questions about close reading or what I am asking you to do, again, please speak with me directly or refer to our weekly blog for examples of concise, focused analysis.

I am not providing prompts for this assignment, but do feel free to chat with me about your ideas and how to develop them into an argumentative thesis.