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Instructions: This first essay asks you to consider The Strange Case of Dr. Jek
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Instructions: This first essay asks you to consider The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and produce a close reading. You will analyze a detail (a short passage or several related short passages) of the story and argue for how the detail develops the story’s meaning or significance. Close reading is a skill that “begins with a sensitivity to the words of the text and all their denotative and connotative values and implications” (Guerin A Handbook of Critical Approaches to Literature). Denotation refers to what something is (definition) and connotation refers to what something means beyond its strict definition. While symbolism is an easy way to think about denotation and connotation (Apple – fruit, sin), you are not required to write about a symbol from one of the stories, although you may. You could, however, think about the way a story is structured or patterns in a character’s behavior. Because this assignment is focused on your own skills of analysis, no secondary source should be used.
Potential pitfalls to avoid:
Mistaking summary for analysis
Clichéd or obvious readings of details
Organization by example rather than by sub claims – usually due to a simplistic thesis
While this is definitely not a five-paragraph formulaic essay, you may follow this general framework: The first paragraph introduces the text and your focus. This paragraph should conclude with a clear thesis that argues a point (example: In Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, silence serves the important function of X). Body paragraphs should begin with topic sentences that argue a part of the thesis. These paragraphs should prove their claims by quoting the text and then analyzing the quotes to explain how they function as support. Each body paragraph should end with a concluding sentence that explains how it relates to the thesis. The essay should conclude with a final paragraph that explains: 1) how the body arguments come together to prove the thesis; and 2) the significance of the claims made in the essay.
Keep in mind you are writing an essay that is analytical and persuasive; you need to take a position and argue a point of view, not merely summarize the text without offering evidence to support your own argument (an original position/opinion) about its meaning or significance. Evidence comes from the text itself. Please remember that grammatical, coherent, logical writing is the minimum requirement for a passing grade; points will be deducted from essays that are incoherent and make significant numbers of grammatical errors.
Assignment Checklist: Part 1. Introduction (1 paragraph)
1. Introduce the topic/establish exigency, significance, or advance a “centrality claim.”
2. Introduce the context: author, text, purpose.
3. Thesis (metadiscourse)—explain your project (what your paper will argue). State the direction of your analysis and the steps you will take to get there; i.e., “This project argues [what claim?] through/by [what means/evidence?].” (This orients the reader but will also be where you reveal your own stance.)
4. The thesis MUST be the last sentence of the first paragraph. The first part will reveal your argument, while the second part will disclose two or three major claims (aka sub-claims/sub-topics/proofs) that support your argument.
Part 2. The Body, your central analysis
In this section, you will analyze each of your major claims laid out in your thesis.
For each claim, you will:
State one of your claims and briefly describe how the text supports the claim.
Give a salient example, and nail your example with a quote.
Explain the quotation by telling what the text is doing (not saying) and delineating the ways it ties back to your argument.
Explain and discuss the significance of the connection.
Include a closing to each paragraph that ties together the topic and the overall point.
Part 3: Your conclusion, which tells us, “So what?”
In this section, discuss issues of significance / effectiveness.
Consider as a whole what the text does to your argument.
Consider the strengths/weaknesses and effectiveness of your argument.
Discuss the social, cultural, biological, economic, etc. stakes of your argument and reasoning—why does it matter?
Part 4: All pages must be properly formatted using MLA Guidelines (See the Purdue Owl website.)
Headers/pagination (except on page 1).
1” margins on all sides.
Parenthetical quotations using correct punctuation placement; i.e., (Hemingway 89).
• Accurately describe your argument in a clear thesis sentence.
• Signal each topic and give a clear indicationof how the paper will proceed.
.• Locate evidence (directly from the text) tosmoothly integrate into each body paragraph.
• Analyze this evidence in order to show how it illustrates your arguments.
• Present a strong overall argument and conclusion using active verbs and avoiding vagueness.
• Use an effective structure that carefully guides the reader from one idea to the next and is thoro