Close reading about the story: town and country lovers

Close reading about the story: town and country lovers. Titles of complete books should be italicized. Titles of essays or poems or short stories or other works that were not published as complete books should be placed in quotation marks.

— Use active rather than passive verbs whenever possible. Sometimes you will need to use passive constructions, but use them as sparingly as possible.

— Avoid using “this” without a specific word following it to indicate what “this” refers to. Don’t just say, “This makes it clear;” instead, say, “This argument makes it clear.”

Introduce your quotations. Quotations can either be incorporated into the flow of the sentence or introduced by an introductory phrase. For example: “As Shelley writes, “Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.” If it doesn’t flow naturally from the phrase that precedes, but comes after a pause, a quotation should be introduced with a colon.

— Use single quotation marks only for a quotation within a quotation.

— Quotations of more than four or more lines should be single-spaced and indented slightly from the left-hand margin; quotations of three or less lines should be incorporated within the main body of your paragraph. Indented quotations should not have quotation marks – the indentation already marks it off as a quotation.

— The rules for quoting poetry are as follows. You should type out the quoted material exactly as it appears in the text, including elisions (i.e. chang’d), capitalization, and even misspellings. Line breaks should be indicated with slashes (“/”) after the final word of each line. Quotations of four or more lines should be formatted in your paper exactly as they appear on the original page, single-spaced and indented from your normal margin.

– If a quotation is part of a sentence, change the quotation to fit the grammar of the sentence, using brackets (“[ ]”) to introduce changes. For example: Before the modern era, perhaps, “poets [were] the unacknowledged legislators of the world,” but not anymore.

— Avoid opening or concluding your paragraphs with a quotation.

— Commas and periods always go inside quotation marks; page and line references and other forms of punctuation, such as semicolons or colons, always go outside. Question marks and exclamation points should appear within the quotation marks if they are a part of the quoted passage but after the parenthetical citation if they are a part of your text. For example: If you’re using a page reference, then the period comes at the very end, after the page reference: “Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.” With a page reference, it becomes: “Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world” (305).

— Just use page numbers or line numbers in parentheses, if you’re citing or quoting from a common course text. If not, you need to provide a footnote or endnote citing your source when you quote from it for the first time. Use an identifying name for the source if the source isn’t clear from the context: i.e. (Shelley 305).

— If you add a word or words in a quotation, you should put brackets around the words to indicate that they are not part of the original text. If you omit a word or words from a quotation, you should indicate the deleted word or words by using ellipsis marks, which are three periods (…) preceded and followed by a space.

— If two or more authors have the same last name, provide both authors’ first initials (or even the authors’ full name if different authors share initials) in your citation.

— If you cite more than one work by a particular author, include a shortened title for the particular work from which you are quoting to distinguish it from the others.

— Sometimes you may have to use an indirect source. An indirect source is a source cited in another source. For such indirect quotations, use “qtd. in” to indicate the source you actually consulted.

Paper Format — Unless instructed otherwise by your teacher, follow these directions for paper formats. Double-space the text of your paper, and use Times New Roman; the font size should be 12 pt. Leave only one space after periods or other punctuation marks. Set the margins of your document to 1 inch on all sides. Indent the first line of a paragraph one half-inch (five spaces or press tab once) from the left margin. Create a header that numbers all pages consecutively in the upper right-hand corner, one-half inch from the top and flush with the right margin. In the upper left-hand corner of the first page, list your name, your instructor’s name, the course, and the date. Center the title. Don’t underline your title or put it in quotation marks; write the title in Title Case, not in all capital letters.

30 May 2018 19:34

Essays 2 and 3: Literary Analysis Essays
These analysis essays build on your close-reading skills but ask you to develop an analytic argument about a text. But these essays also will need to present some sort of interpretive argument, and thus will need a clear introduction setting up your claim and a conclusion that sums up your work.

You should attempt to make a claim about the overall text, but you should not expect to discuss the whole text in detail in such a short paper. Make sure to articulate a focused, narrow, and sharp thesis for these essays, – i.e. a claim that you can support in a short essay. Use close reading to focus in on passages from the story that illustrate and support your claim especially well. Assume a knowledgeable audience who does not require extensive summary to understand the context.

Close reading about


1. Reading Gender. Several of the texts we have read so far deal directly with the impact of gender. Write an essay in which you analyze the significance of gender in one of the texts. For instance, you might ask: how does this text depict gender, and to what artistic and thematic ends? What does it mean to be a man or a woman in this text? How do we know, and why is it important to an understanding of the text overall? Note: Avoid biographical criticism (in which you base your argument on the biography or the gender of the author). 

2. Reading Journey/Migration/Movement. In many of the stories we’ve read, a character undertakes a journey. This might include immigrating to a new country (whether fleeing what’s behind or seeking what’s ahead), moving house, going away to school, traveling overseas, returning to the homeland after sojourns abroad, or all of these. Explain the effects of travel and/or forced migration either on a particular character from a story or on the plot as a whole. 

3. Reading Form. This essay topic asks you to focus on a formal aspect of a particular text to show how an element such as narratorial position, image, symbol, an element of plot such as foreshadowing or flashbacks, or use of dialogue shape our understanding. Write an essay in which you analyze some aspect of a text’s form to help us understand its themes or subject matter. Be specific about the formal element you intend to discuss, and explain clearly why it is significant and how analyzing it helps us to understand the text overall.

4. Reading a Character. Pick any one character (major or minor) from a text and define their narrative function, role, and purpose in the text. Your thesis should state the importance of this character for understanding some aspect/theme of the text.

As you begin planning to write on this topic, ask yourself a range of questions such as: Is the character the main protagonist of the story? If not, what is the character’s relationship to the protagonist of the novel and to the main plot? What role does the character play in shaping our interpretations of, and attitudes toward, the main character? Is the character a “foil” (contrast) to another character? Is the character a “round” character (complex in temperament and motivation), a “flat” character (one/two-dimensional), or a “stock” character (a “type” with quickly recognizable attributes)? What do you make of the author’s choice of making this character a foil/round/flat? What category/categories (socio-economic class, gender, sexuality, age, religion, race, nationality, etc) does the character belong in and why might that matter? What emotional, moral, and intellectual qualities does the character possess? How does the author establish these qualities (through dialogue, action, inner thoughts and feelings, imagery, physical attributes, etc)? How does the character assist the author in setting a particular tone/mood/evoking atmosphere? Similarly, you can ask questions about the things that we are not explicitly told about the character. How might what we don’t know about a character be as revealing and significant as what we do know? Ultimately, all these questions will help you in thinking about the character’s place/role/function in the text. Note: You don’t have to necessarily answer all these questions; these questions are meant to get you started!

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