Trifles

Trifles.

Trifles Paper instructions: For Essay 2, please write a literary analysis that examines a single poem or short story that you read in Weeks 4-5 (from authors Susan Glaspell, Eugene O’Neill, Langston Hughes, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Ernest Hemingway). Support your claim(s) about the text with examples and details from the poem or story. There are several ways to analyze a work of literature. Two of the most common are below: 1. A formal approach“which examines one (or more) of the literary elements in a work and explains how it relates to the whole, thus contributing to a text’s overall meaning or significance. Possible elements to consider include plot, character, theme, setting, conflict, structure, point of view, genre, style, tone, imagery, symbolism, irony, narrator, foreshadowing, paradox, allusion, metaphor, rhythm, rhyme, etc. 2. A critical approach“which examines a work by relating it to the historical, social, cultural, or political situations in which it was written to show how the author was influenced by personal experiences, events, prevailing attitudes, or contemporary values. Each of these approaches requires careful reading of the primary text, as well as a debatable claim that will need to be supported or œproved with evidence (direct references, quotations) from the text. Remember, writing about literature is a way to broaden your own understanding and to share your own reading experience. While the second option (a critical approach) will obviously involve some background reading, you should not be going to outside sources with the idea of creating a œcut and pasted paper of others’ ideas. Your primary concern for either approach should be an examination of the work of literature you selected. Example of a poor thesis: œTrifles is a play about a woman who murders her husband. (not debatable) Example of a good thesis with a formal approach: œMrs. Wright’s bird is the symbolic key to œunlock the reason why she killed her husband. (debatable! Requires textual support to œprove.) Example of a good thesis with a critical approach: œMrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale share experiences from their own lives as country wives that make clear why they are empathetic to Mrs. Wright’s situation and right to withhold their discovery from their investigators. (debatable! Requires feminist analysis of story to œprove.) Because you are essentially arguing that your perspective is a valid one, you have to support it effectively with evidence from the primary source that you select (direct references to specific quotations, lines, passages, scenes, etc.). Remember that an analysis is not driven by plot. It’s driven by the œidea that you want to communicate about the story or poem. If you consult secondary sources, be sure that quotations from them do not dominate your essay. You are not writing an informational report but rather a literary analysis that requires a close reading of the text.

Trifles

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