Two works chosen are Death of a Salesman and A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry
Paper 2: Literary Theme Analysis
(5 pages typed)
Typed using double-spacing and Times NR, Arial, or Calibri 12 point font; 1 inch margins Student’s name, assignment, course listed in top left corner of first page only (no cover page) Work Cited page and MLA in-text citation throughout
Plagiarism or cheating: Grade of zero. No make-ups.
For this paper, you will choose TWO texts work with. As with the last paper, do not summarize or retell the entire texts. Last paper asked you to perform a close reading. This paper asks that you find a similar element in two works and discuss both that element’s appearance and usage/meaning in both works.
You can choose works from throughout the syllabus—but you must use two separate authors.
• Two works/ two authors
• Similar element both works share
• Talk about what that element is, how it shows up in the works, and what you think it means that they both
share that element
• No outside sources
This “element” that the two works share is vague intentionally. I want you to be creative and to think about what stands out to you. It may be two works that have young boys as narrators (“Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking” and “Barn Burning”), big twists that come at the end of the work (spoilers!), authors talking about their identities (Souls of Black Folk and “How to be Colored Me”), similar settings (barns, states, parts of the country, time periods), imagery, shared themes, similar character types–etc. Think about what you have read and try some pairing out to see what works best in your head.
For this paper, you will
• Use no outside sources.
• Present the element of your choice and talk about how it appears in both works (ideally in that first paragraph)
• Explain what you think the shared aspect says about the authors, the works, or American literature
• If the work is fiction, you have characters. If the work is a poem, you have “the speaker.” If the work is
nonfiction, you have “the author”. Do not mix these up.
• Consider what the authors may have intended readers to “get” from the use of that element
• Discuss any differences that may arise between the element’s use in each source
• Identify any large questions or ideas that the element’s use arises or addresses
• Discuss how/whether you think the element’s use influences your interpretation
Fully explain your ideas. Your reader is one who has read the work (i.e. do not summarize), but who does not necessarily see what you see… yet. Convince them. Use quotes thoughtfully, not as filler. Essentially, imagine that you are answering a question in class and supporting your ideas with the text.
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