ENGL 2331, Intro to World Literature: Short Response Paper Assignments
In your analysis, you will identify a specific theme, and then proceed to explain how that theme is expressed and developed throughout the text. You may also compare and contrast related themes found in two (but no more than two) texts. The only primary texts available to you for a response paper are the readings that we covered in the unit for which you are writing the paper.
You must support your explanation with strong and relevant evidence from the text. Evidence should come exclusively from primary text(s): examples of supporting evidence include literary techniques such as characterization, metaphor, tone, rhythm, dialogue, symbolism, among others. You will not use any secondary sources, scholarly or otherwise. Rather, this paper asks you to give a close reading of the text itself, demonstrating your ability to give a sophisticated and nuanced interpretation. The paper should be approximately 3-4 pages in length, plus a Works Cited page.
- Provide a brief (2-4 sentences) summary of the text or text, concentrating on aspects that are most relevant and will bear directly on your analysis.
- Articulate a clear thesis statement that identifies the theme (or perhaps themes) that you will address and signposts the ways that you will analyze that theme in greater depth.
- Determine two to three ways that the theme you will analyze manifests within the text. A theme might emerge from contrasting characters, the author’s choice of language, salient metaphors, motifs, or any number of other literary techniques and elements. These techniques and elements should be thought of as working together, not independently, though it is possible that different techniques produce contradictions.
- Each body paragraph of your analysis will focus on one of these techniques or elements in depth, elaborating its connection to your chosen theme. Keep paragraphs tightly focused. Concentrate on providing direct evidence from the text to support your thesis assertion, and develop that evidence by explaining its significance to your chosen theme.
- Restate the theme that you have analyzed, and reiterate your main points about that theme.
- Emphasize your answer to the “So what?” question. In other words, indicate why your analysis matters: what does it add to our understanding of the text? What light does it shed?
- Include a Works Cited page on a separate sheet attached to the end of your paper with an entry for your primary text, using proper MLA format.
- Use parenthetical citations to cite all quoted and paraphrased material throughout your paper.