For your essay (to be turned in between 3/17 and 4/17), you will create an argument for one or more possible readings of a text of your choice. You will base your argument on a close reading that focuses on one particular element of that text. You are welcome to speak with me about the element you choose after any class or during any Tuesday office hours.
Examples of particular elements include but are not limited to: a striking or repeating image, a set of related images, a specific kind of vocabulary, a turn or a tonal shift, a structural element like form or rhyme scheme, a narrative element like point of view, a striking or crucial scene, a seemingly extraneous scene, etc.
Before you begin, you should be able to describe this element, but you do not need to know how it works in the text. Think of your writing process as an investigation into the text that tries to uncover how this element influences the meaning of the larger poem, story, essay, or novel. You will consider why the element you choose might exist in the text, what it achieves, what it implies, and how it supports or hinders other elements, arguments, or meaning within the text.
This essay will require you to incorporate one outside source that you find though the library website (www.lib.ua.edu). You should do this research after you determine your topic. You may use your outside source in any part of your essay (as a jumping-off point, as a counterargument, as support for one point of an argument you are making, etc.). Remember that your essay is about the poem, story, essay, or novel you have chosen, not about the outside source.
For help using the library website, please follow the directions posted on BlackBoard for finding Dipasquale’s essay on the “harmonious chime” in Donne’s “To His Mistress Going to Bed.” Her essay, posted on BlackBoard with explanatory annotations, will also help you understand what a close textual analysis is. Notice that the particular element she chose to write about was only two words of the poem, “harmonious chime,” though she used other parts of the poem and outside sources to help support her argument about it.
Essays will be graded according to your ability to choose a specific element of a text to analyze, to develop and support an extended reading of it or argument about it, to incorporate one outside text into this argument, to organize this argument logically and coherently, and to write without distracting mechanical errors.
Your essay must be a minimum of 4 full pages, double-spaced, Times New Roman, with 1-inch margins. Essays that fall short of this requirement will be penalized, as will late essays.