argumentative literary analysis essay 1

in my class the readings are separated by modules and then the modules are separated by units. My professor is asking to pick 3 literary works from 3 separate units (not modules) in oder to present the argument that they can valuably be read in one unit for a specific reason. The professor said:

1. You must create your own theme to unify the works, and it should be a bit more specific than the broad subjects I have used to structure the course, but closer to a true literary theme. See the “theme” word of the week segment in unit 2 to help you. Important: You cannot use the subjects and movements we have already covered. Thus, an essay could propose, for example, that the three texts are all examples of works concerned with personal economy in the face of global power, denial serving as a motivator, crisis of faith bringing about change ……or any other of potentially thousands of thematic focuses. These are examples; you must construct your own. In short, you will be linking three previously unlinked pieces under any new thematic classification you create.

2. If your literary theme is in any way related to a general one we have covered, none of your selections can have originally been read under the unit’s theme I had already assigned them to. For example, if you choose to use any theme at all related to racism, you cannot use “Battle Royal,” and so on.

3. (And perhaps most importantly) You should avoid such overly broad themes as “love,” “social status,” “relationships,” or “death,” as almost all works have such components written into them in some way. In essence, if your theme can be expressed in one or two words, you will likely need to be more specific. Instead, you should narrow your theme down; for example, instead of “love,” you could write about how three works all show “marital economics as the principal cause of problems in modern American families,” for example.


Important: This should be more than a simple 5 paragraph essay. Each paper should open with an introductory paragraph hooking the reader, introducing and explaining the background of the issue being discussed, only quickly noting each work; do not spend space in the intro discussing the texts – the essay body will do this. The intro should include an argumentative thesis. Example: “Looking at literary works such as “Title” by Author, “Title” by Author, and even Author’s “Title,” readers can learn how [insert theme].” Please do not merely copy this thesis format; this is just an example.

The bulk of the paper should be devoted to each individual work – specifically, how it fits together with the others. You should assume your reader has read each text. So do not summarize the plot of each work, as this

is not a “book report”; highlight only how it fits into your thematic designation. You will need to reference specific points of action, plot, dialog, symbols or other elements, or descriptions. If you quote from the texts, and you should do so at times for close analysis, you will use MLA format in-text citations.

You should conclude without simply repeating your thesis or what you have covered in the essay itself. In fact, avoiding repetition throughout should be a focus in not only this but all good writing.

The essay will conclude with a properly formatted MLA Works Cited page. Important: At minimum, you must include on the Works Cited page the citations for each of the 3 readings and the required research.

The essay must be a 1200 word minimum and a 1600 maximum so 4-5 pages

The reading that we are allowed to pick from will be listed below.