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E238 Essay Assignment Example

The final example assignment for longer essays requires students to branch out of their comfort zone by asking them to look at a text through an interpretive approach not typically associated with that particular text. These options would vary greatly depending on the focus of the lectures or the texts read in E238. A strength of this assignment is that it allows students to practice their interpretive skills and use critical thinking strategies instead of merely regurgitating information from class lectures as is often the case in many essays.

Essay #2: Critical Approach/Genre Interpretation

Requirements: 4-6 pages. Stapled. Double-spaced. Times New Roman 12 point font. All citations will be MLA Parenthetical citation.  Include a “Works Cited” page.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez once said, “The interpretation of our reality through patterns not our own, serves only to make us ever more unknown, ever less free, ever more solitary,” meaning that we limit our own freedom and experience of the world if we only rely on the world view or interpretations of others. In this light, creating your own interpretations of texts increases the realm of possibility and enriches your own experience of reading and engaging texts. We have heard several various lectures on literary movements and critical approaches used in literary theory to further understand and interpret texts. With these lectures in mind, please write a formal essay in which you analyze and interpret one (or two maximum) work(s) through the lens of one of the lectures presented in class. Here is the catch: you may not use the particular lecture we discussed in regards to the context of its associated text (see the voided texts below). In other words, you may not interpret Kafka’s stories through the lens of ‘Minor Literature’ or Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude in respect to ‘Magical Realism’ and so on.Any other combinations are valid. You should anchor your essay with one of the various critical approaches used for studying literature or discuss the text in light of one of the genre lectures. Be sure to focus your argument with a strong, clear thesis, and support your claim with ample evidence from the fiction. The best essays will follow the conventions of academic papers as given in the ‘Materials’ section of our class page. Outside research for this assignment is not required, but it is permitted (though keep in mind that I am more interested in your own critical thinking and writing than the interpretations of other critics).

Critical Approaches/Theories:
Formalist Approach
Biographical Approach
Historicist Approach
Marxist Approach
Feminist or Gender Approach (void with Mrs. Dalloway)
Psychoanalytical Approach
Postcolonialism (void with Untouchable)
Poststructuralism/Deconstruction Approach

Genre/Literary Movement Lectures:
Utopian/Dystopian (void with We)
Modernism (void with Mrs. Dalloway)
Minor Literature (void with Kafka’s stories)
Postmodernism (void with Flight to Canada)
Magical Realism (void with One Hundred Years of Solitude)

**Please Note: the last two lectures (‘Politics and Literature’ and ‘The Future of Literature’) are not valid lectures to use for this assignment.**