Literary Analysis #2: Theme in Literature
Introduction:According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a theme in general terms is defined as the subject of a talk, a piece of writing, a person’s thoughts, or an exhibition, a topic. A musical piece contains a theme; a speech contains a theme; a work of art contains a theme. In literature, specifically, theme is considered to be a literary device, a tool that a writer uses when creating a literary work.
The theme of a literary work is the main idea or an underlying meaning, which may be stated directly or indirectly. As a literary device, theme binds together various elements of a narrative and is often a universal truth, standing true for people of all cultures. Through themes, a writer tries to give readers an insight into human beings and what it means to be human.
Theme gives readers a better understanding of the main character’s conflicts, experiences, discoveries, and emotions. Readers can identify themes by examining plot, characterization and the major conflict in stories while also noting important symbols in the story.
Course Objectives Fulfilled by the Assignment:
Directions: For this second and final formal essay, you will write a 3-4 page literary analysis examining the ways in which one writer uses one literary device to convey one particular theme in a literary work. In your essay, you will follow the MLA formatand the structure of a literary analysis, including a thesis. Your introduction should reveal the title of the story that you will be analyzing while your thesis should answer the following questions:
For instance, if you decide to write about the theme of imagination and knowledge in “The Mark on the Wall,” you may write about Woolf’s use of symbolism to express the idea that imagination is more important to a person’s well-being than knowledge. If you decide to write about the relationship between the creator and creation in R.U.R., you may explore Capek’s use of character to convey the idea that creations tend to reject their creators. In other words, you will be analyzing the ways in which a writer uses a particular literary device to shape and express a particular theme.
For your analysis, you may choose to write about one theme and story from the following list:
To choose a particular literary device, return to the list of literary devices posted in “Reading Guides.” Also, keep in mind that writers usually use plot, character and conflict to express the theme as well as symbolism.
December 4: We’ll meet with tutors from the Writing Center from 2-2:50 p.m. via Blackboard Collaborate in a mandatory tutoring session (I will provide instructions and the Collaborate link before our session). The tutors will provide critical feedback for the revision process. Also, post your rough draft anytime to the class wiki labeled “Literary Analysis #2.”
December 5: Respond to one of your peers’ rough drafts on the class wiki by 8 p.m. Remember, your constructive feedback will guide your peer during the revision process.
December 10: Final draft submitted anytime to “Turnitin.”
The Essay’s Format
You’ll use the MLA (Modern Language Association) format for academic essays. Once again, MLA has several requirements:
Important Note: While I will not be reading the rough drafts for this essay, revision is still a critical component of the writing process in our course. Therefore, posting your draft to the class wiki is mandatory. Also, the tutoring session on December 4 from 2-2:50 p.m. is mandatory. If you cannot attend this session, please email me immediately, so that we may work together to schedule an appointment for you to work with a tutor on your own time. Keep in mind that working with a tutor will not only give you the opportunity to craft a finely tuned essay but will also contribute five points to your grade for this essay as part of the revision process.
In addition, posting your essay on the class wiki and providing constructive criticism to a peer are crucial components of the writing process; posting your work and providing feedback contribute an additional five points to your essay. In total, revision and constructive criticism contribute ten points to your work. Don’t throw away ten points simply because you will not write a rough draft, attend a tutoring session, post to the class wiki, and provide constructive criticism to your peer.
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No late submissions will be accepted. If you are struggling with the essay, please speak with me as soon as possible.
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