Literature Essay 1900 words

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For your final essay, you should choose one of the following options.

 

  • Compare and contrast In Cold Blood to another filmed depiction of the true crime genre, whether in feature film or TV series form. Have a debatable, persuasive claim and focus on specific points of comparison, using the Lesson in week 7 to guide your structure. Please consult MLA guidance to see how to cite television and film!

 

  • View the list of essayists in the Lesson for week 7. Search the internet for an essay by your selected author and read it. Compose a thesis that has a persuasive, debatable claim about the significance of the message or theme in the essay or the success/effectiveness of the essay as a whole. Summarize the essay in your intro paragraph, end the paragraph with your thesis, and be sure to include your three points of evidence in your thesis statement. Cite the essay as you would any article on the internet as you examine your points of evidence.

 

  • Compare and contrast John Grisham’s piece to any essay, long-form article on a website like The Atlantic or other news sources,  or film/documentary that explores a contemporary social issue that matters to you. Have a debatable, persuasive claim and focus on specific points of comparison, using the Lesson in week 7 to guide your structure.

 

Submission Instructions:

Your essays should be in MLA Style and approximately 1625-1950 words, not including the Work(s) Cited page. Meeting the minimum word requirement makes you eligible for a C grade. Meeting the maximum word requirements makes you eligible for an A grade. As with most academic writing, this essay should be written in third person. Please avoid both first person (I, we, our, etc.) and second person (you, your).

In the upper left-hand corner of the paper, place your name, the professor’s name, the course name, and the due date for the assignment on consecutive lines. Double space your information from your name onward, and don’t forget a title. All papers should be in Times New Roman font with 12-point type with one-inch margins all the way around your paper. All paragraph indentations should be indented five spaces (use the tab key) from the left margin. All work is to be left justified. When quoting lines in literature, please research the proper way to cite short stories, plays, or poems.

You should use the online APUS library to look for scholarly sources. Be careful that you don’t create a “cut and paste” paper of information from your various sources. Your ideas are to be new and freshly constructed. Also, take great care not to plagiarize.

 

How to Read and Understand an Expository Essay
 
The Initial Reading
 
Read the first paragraph (or section for a longer essay). Then, read the conclusion. Identify what seem to be key concepts introduced in the opening of the essay and those concepts that have been emphasized or that have emerged in the conclusion.
Scan any headings or subheadings for a sense of progression of the development of key points.
With a pen in hand, begin reading the essay from the beginning, marking in your notes or on the printed page the main ideas as you see them appearing.
From your list of main ideas, annotated in the margins of each paragraph and copied to a separate page or note card, try to reconstruct mentally the main ideas of each paragraph.
 
Identify key passages that you may wish to use as direct quotations, paraphrases, summaries, or allusions in the drafts of an essay.
 
 
Subsequent Readings/Reviews
Always begin by reviewing first your notes and note cards on which you have copied the annotations of main ideas from each paragraph.
Turn to the text of the essay only when you fail to remember the exact reference made in the annotations of main ideas.
 
Identify the Mode of Development
 
Is the purpose of the essay to inform, persuade, entertain, or to explore?
What is the conclusion of any argument the author may be developing?
As an informational work, is the author’s voice prominent or muted?
Be sure that you understand the writer’s viewpoint and purpose:
Is the writer trying to explain his or her own opinion? Trying to attack another’s position? Trying to examine two sides of an issue without judgment? 
Is the writer being persuasive or just commenting on or describing a unique, funny, or interesting aspect of life and what it ‘says about us’? 

As a piece of entertainment, what specific literary humorous devices does the author employ? (See burlesque, hyperbole, understatement, other figures of speech.)
As an exploratory work, what is the focus of the inquiry? What is the author’s relationship to that focus? Is s/he supportive, hostile, indifferent? What?
Analysis of the Author
 
Explain the author’s attitude toward the subject of the essay. Is s/he sympathetic to the thesis, issue, or key concepts?
Explore on the Internet and/or other electronic or print media any information you can find about the author and the essay. Explain how this external information better helps to understand the essay.
Explain what seems to be the author’s motivation in writing the essay and what s/he hopes to accomplish with the composition.
Identify any other factors in the author’s biography or notes that seem relevant to the purpose of the composition.
 
Some Major Essayists
 
Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790)
St. John de Crevecœur (1725–1813)
Thomas Paine (1737–1809)
Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826)
James Madison (1751–1836)
Alexander Hamilton (1757–1804)
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882)
Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865)
Margaret Fuller (1810–1850)
Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)
Frederick Douglass (1817?–1895)
Herman Melville (1819–1891
James Russell Lowell (1819–1891)
Mark Twain (1835–1910)
Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815–1902)
H. L. Menken (1880–1956)
E. B. White (1899–  )
Ralph Ellison (1913–1994)
Louis Auchincloss (1917–  )
Betty Friedan (1921–  )
James Baldwin (1924–1987)
William F. Buckley Jr. (1925–  )
Gore Vidal (1925–  )
Edward Abbey (1927–1989)
Martin Luther King Jr. (1929–1968)
John McPhee (1931–  )
Joan Didion (1934–  )
Garry Wills (1934–  )
Jonathan Kozol (1936–  )
Barbara Ehrenreich (1941–  )
Stephen Jay Gould (1941–2002)
George F. Will (1941–  )
Garrison Keillor (1942–  )
Annie Dillard (1945–  )
Dave Barry (1947–  )
Katha Pollitt (1949–  )
Bill Bryson (1951–  )
Brent Staples  (1951–  )
Deborah Tannen (1951–  )
Anna Quindlen (1952–  )
Cornel West (1953–  )
David Sedaris (1956–  )
Malcolm Gladwell (1963–  )
 
 
Reading and Writing about Film
 
Truman Capote is not an essayist, but he is a major American literary figure. His work is paired with the Grisham piece this week because of the emphasis on Post-modern theme and the non-fictional nature of the story told in the film.  Capote was undoubtedly one of the more flamboyant characters to grace American literature. In a sharp contrast to his own persona, he set out to write a novel chronicling the murders of an all-American family in the heartland. What he produced was an epic conglomeration of his own experience as an outsider to the rural area, social weaknesses, and the faultiness of perception.
This interview in The Paris Review “Truman Capote, The Art of Fiction No. 17” offers some interesting insight into Capote, the person and the author. Of particular interest is Capote’s views on his own work and, to some extent, his motivation. Even in that first published story, it is easy to see the origins of In Cold Blood
 
Expository essay analysis can be applied to this piece just as it could a documentary film. 

When watching and analyzing a purely fictional film, you can treat it as you would a novel, creating your analysis based on any of the critical schools of thought we’ve examined in this class, and thinking about fictional devices such as setting, plot, character, symbol, presence of irony, point-of-view, structure as well as the devices that are particular to the form of ‘film’- cinematography, special effects, directorial choices, acting, music, costume, etc. 
 
Like novels, films can be analyzed as singular events, or they can be compared/contrasted in a broader conversation. You might look at other works featuring the same main actor, the same main character, or that are by the same director ( comparing “Batmans”, for example).  You might look at the same film in its original and re-make form ( comparing versions of The Great Gatsby, for example).  Of course, is a movie is part of a larger series or has a book/comic tie-in, you can create an analysis of the movie based on how it compares to the literary version or how it works in the larger series (analyzing any of the Marvel comic movies, James Bond, Star Wars, Twilight, or the Hobbit films, for example). There are lots of options. When asked to analyze a film try to think of a persuasive thesis ( an opinion) about the film, then brainstorm at least three forms of evidence to help you construct the body paragraphs. When writing a compare/contrast, you want to think of your three forms of ‘evidence’  instead as your ‘three points of comparison’. 
 
A film analysis, then, might have thesis statement like this:
 
The Departed deserved the Best Picture Academy Award for the superb performances by Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, and Jack Nicholson.
 
I would then construct the body of the paper to explore and discuss the performances of these three lead actors.
 
 
I could have said:
 
The Departed deserved the Best Picture Academy Award due to its gritty realism, its masterful irony, and its cinematography.
 
The evidence I choose to support my opinion helps me to structure my piece, no matter what the evidence is.
 
 
Compare and Contrast Writing 
If I’m comparing/contrasting, I might think of two subjects ( the original “The Great Gatsby” and the remake by Baz Luhrmann in 2013) and then three ways to compare/contrast them, my “points of comparison.”
In this case, my thesis might be this:
 
The 2013 Luhrmann “Gatsby” is superior to the original because of its use of music, color, and symbol to truly capture the spirit of the Roaring 20s and the conflict at the center of the story in a haunting and memorable way.
 
I would then, most likely, structure the body of my paper like this:
 
Intro with thesis 
 
1st body paragraph: Music-discuss both films and how they handled the musical accompaniment.
 
2nd body paragraph: Color- and again, I would discuss both movies.
 
3rd body paragraph: Symbol- discuss both movies. 
 
Then I would conclude.
 
 
This is called a point-by-point arrangement and can be applied to any compare and contrast assignment, whether you are examining movies, poems, generals, disease treatment protocols, presidents, graduate schools, etc. 

 

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