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E238 Essay Assignment Example

Another possibility for longer essays includes giving the student a choice of various strategies. It gives students five options for focus: 1) how ambiguity adds to the richness of a text, 2) a mythical interpretation, 3) a formalist analysis of a literary device (character, plot, voice, etc.), 4) contrasting and comparing two works, and 5) arguing how a work is of importance to today's society. Another unique aspect of this assignment is that it provides thesis statement/claim examples for each option. The essay guidelines also give a clear list of requirements and explanations of composition concepts for those students who may not have had the opportunity to take CO150 prior to enrolling in E238. Another great aspect about this assignment is that it includes information regarding the Writing Center as an additional composition resource. Finally, this assignment requires a thesis statement proposal before the drafting process begins. A strength for this option is that you can quickly view tentative arguments without overloading yourself with longer topic proposal papers which take more time to grade, but you also may not have a clear understanding of the argument as you would have with the longer topic proposal.

Criteria for Paper #1 Conway, E238

Purpose: To show your audience that you are able to think critically about literature by focusing on specific aspects of a text in order to enhance and expand the overall meaning.

Audience: Your instructor and your classmates.

Texts: "The Dead," Love Medicine, & One Hundred Years of Solitude. You should focus on one aspect of one novel (or the story) unless you choose the comparison topic option.


1) Explain how an ambiguity (see literary definitions in the file folder) contributes to the effectiveness and richness of a work.

Possible Thesis Statement: The many different ways that Garcia Marquez uses the word solitude in his novel One Hundred Years of Solitude both separates and connects the Buendia Family.

2)   Concentrate on a mythical aspect of a text and explain its universal meaning related to basic human experience. 

Possible Thesis Statement: In Love Medicine, Louise Erdrich borrows from characters in the tradition of the slave myths of the Black South to portray her character Gerry Nanapush’s opposition to power.

3)   Focus on an element of craft (character, plot, point of view, dialogue, description, setting, and voice) and explain how the author uses this effectively.

Possible Thesis Statement: In “The Dead,” James Joyce uses a powerful third person limited point of view in order to lure the reader frighteningly close to Gabriele’s psyche, before shattering the reader’s comfortable vantage point along with Gabriele’s world view.

4)  Compare similar aspects of two different texts.

Possible Thesis Statement: Both Louise Erdrich and Gabriel Garcia Marquez offer portraits of unique mother figures in their novels, Love Medicine and One Hundred Years of Solitude, which both challenge and expand the traditional matriarch role in Western Literature.

5)   Make a case for the contemporary significance of the text using compare and contrast techniques. 

Possible Thesis Statement: With the current wave of outsourcing by American Corporations, we should look at Gabriel Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude to see the effects that internationally owned businesses can have on small communities in Developing Nations.

Focus: Help your reader appropriately by announcing what you'll cover in the paper. A narrowly focused, clearly stated claim or thesis is both easier for readers to grasp and easier for you to develop or support.

Development: Support your claim(s) with specific detail from sources appropriate for your audience and purpose. Unsupported assertion isn't an acceptable approach in these papers. Moreover, details stick in readers' mind and make your point more effectively than do general statements. Check each point in your paper and make sure you back it up with adequate support. Evidence takes three forms, 1) personal experience, 2) directly from the primary text, 3) from outside secondary texts significant to the primary text.

Organization: Arrange your paper in a coherent, readable, logical manner. Avoid merely providing summaries of sources or a patchwork of material taken from various sources.

Sources and Documentation: Include at least one appropriate outside source and document it appropriately.

Format: Use MLA (Modern Language Association) style. See our weblinks for specific help with MLA, but to summarize what you'll find there: Typed, double-spaced, in 12 point "Time New Roman" font with one-inch margins. Each paper must be stapled.


Length: 3-5 pages

Resources: The Colorado State University Writing Center is dedicated to providing advice and help in every stage of the writing process. The Writing Center offers a free, confidential service with no appointment necessary to all writers within the CSU and Fort Collins community. Each session typically lasts about a half an hour.