Write a concise essay of 6-8 pages on one of the topics provided below. Your finished product should offer a convincing argument about the topic you choose, and it should substantiate whatever it claims with evidence derived from your close reading of the work of one or two authors from the course syllabus. Do not write about the author you discussed in your first essay.
Successful essays are argumentative and analytical throughout. Each part of the essay strives to draw connections to the materials it is analyzing. If you write about two authors, such connections may include instructive similarities and differences. The key thing is to analyze the materials while avoiding summary, generalization, or merely repeating others’ ideas (including points covered well in class).
As with the first essay, this one should state a clear, concise, and worthwhile thesis by the end of its introductory paragraph, and it should organize its following paragraphs as steps which prove that thesis. A worthwhile thesis is focused, not vague; it is based on textual evidence rather than on your feelings or impressions; and it is instructive and not obvious or self-evident. You can assume that your reader is familiar with the texts that you discuss. Do not summarize.
Review the guidelines for the first essay on the importance of strong evidence. These apply to this assignment, too. In a thematic analysis essay, once you are done brainstorming and note-taking, you need to arrange the steps of your proof clearly and sensibly into focused paragraphs that flow from one to another understandably and that feature instructive references to your text or texts.
For this assignment, there is no need to use secondary sources. However, if you do, do so sensibly and responsibly. Show that you have assessed others’ claims reasonably. Never use secondary sources as substitutes for your own analysis. Always acknowledge all sources from which you borrow. Consult the sections in the course syllabus on documentation, plagiarism, and style. Make sure that your essay conforms to the MLA style by using the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (Seventh Edition). You should never rely on Wikipedia, Sparknotes, or similar online primers, essay-mills, or plot-summary sources; they are notoriously unreliable, filled with inaccuracies, and are unsuitable for university-level work.
Proofread your essay carefully. While considering argument and analysis, your reader will also evaluate your essay’s organization, clarity of expression, grammar, punctuation, and MLA style. Do not be surprised when these matters receive attention.