Building from those skills practiced in the first three essays this semester, in this assignment you will offer an interpretation of a fictional text or texts that we have read together this semester or one that is somehow closely related. You will choose a text, formulate a thesis based on an interpretation and analysis of the text, and your body paragraphs should interact with the text in such a way that you use the story to prove/argue your claim.
Different from the previous essays, however, you must incorporate at least three scholarly sources into your essay. These can be incorporated in a variety of ways, but they should indicate your research into the scholarship already published in your topic, thus strengthening your position by situating it within the larger scholarly community. These sources can be applied in one of three ways: support, counter-point, or supplemental information.
- Reading before writing – the more informed you are on a subject, the easier and more effective your writing will be.
- Scholarly sources – these are found almost solely through the databases accessed through the library. Scholarly sources are peer reviewed and published by universities or organizations affiliated directly with academic endeavors.
- Hard work – there is no shortcut to quality research. Recognize that this will take hours of your time, and do not procrastinate. Sloppy and/or rushed research usually leads to failing grades.
- Revision – rewriting is often the difference between passing and failing or an A and a B. It is not enough to simply spell check or grammar check; you must rework every aspect of your essay in painstaking detail to make sure it is as clear and well-executed as it can be. A repetition of small mistakes becomes a sizeable one, and the most salient point that is not well presented becomes nonsense.
- Argument, not Summary – remember your job is not to summarize the text for your reader; instead, quotation, paraphrase, and summary of the text should only be employed to illustrate the arguments that you make. Limit yourself to short quotations, and make sure that each are placed within an argument and effectively argued after they are used.
- Show, don’t Tell – even though your essay is all about your voice and your argument, stating something as fact without explanation does not make it so. Instead, everything that you Tell your reader must be Shown. The essence of showing is argument. Explain and argue every point that you make.
- Plagiarism – review the information related to properly citing, quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing another’s work, because you will be dealing with a variety of sources.