Analyze a historical and literary text

Analyze a historical and literary text

topic : Analyze a historical and literary text

Essay 2

Choose an idea to analyze from one of the texts we discussed so far (do not
choose a topic you already wrote about. You may also choose from one of the
sample prompts listed at the end of the document. Make a claim (thesis
statement about that idea) in the introduction and explain, discuss, and defend
it in the body of your essay.

Purpose &
Objectives: The purpose of this essay is to encourage you to explore
possible interpretations of literature, consider historical and cultural
attitudes and philosophies, and form your own perspectives of these ideas. You
will engage in the literature in both an exploratory and analytic manner. You
will be assessed based on your ability to achieve the following objectives:

Analyze a historical and/or literary text for
underlying meanings

Use evidence from the literature to express and
defend your interpretation

Articulate your critical interpretation in

Form an organized essay that reflects structured

Use appropriate grammar and mechanics in writing

Expected Essay
Components & Parameters: The following guidelines should help
you frame and develop your essay as regards content. Listed also are the
specific formatting expectations.

Provide insight into the literature and its
actual and implied ideas.

Make a claim that explores meaning beyond the
obvious (read between the lines)

Includes an introduction that states the topic and
subject, provides brief background,
and states the thesis.

Include multiple
body paragraphs that focus on supporting points and show a clear connection to
the thesis through discussion, evidence/quotes, and explanation.

Includes a brief
but effective conclusion that states the importance of the topic.

Reflects grammatically correct sentences with
appropriate punctuation.

Use a sophisticated tone (not conversational)
but plain, clear language.

Format your essay according to MLA design and
documentation. You will not need secondary sources, but you will need to
document the primary source (the primary source is the literature you selected
to write about).

Essay should be at least 2 full pages and no more than 3.

Include a Works Cited page.

Assessment & Grading: Your
paper will be graded according to whether or not you include the above
components and the quality of your content.

Possible Prompts: These
questions may guide you to an idea or topic for your essay.

Compare and contrast the differences between
authors’ perspectives of American identity, or Americanism. Both positive and
negative views are expressed, but do we see a shared idea of what an American

Consider the vision of new, independent America
and the reality of that idea throughout our readings. Does the reality align
with the vision?

In Emerson’s “Self-Reliance,” social convention
and conformity is challenged. Though, in essence, his philosophy was created on
the foundation of many other philosophies, Emerson attempts to represent genius
in his challenge against the “lie” of society, of man. The question is, can man
actually transcend this lie and rely on his inner self, or is man’s truth the
lie? Are we creatures of nature and creativity, or creatures of community and
imitation? Do we have to choose?

Stylistically, how do our authors differ in their
arguments? We have very different styles and methods of argument from
Crévecoeur to Paine to Murray to Irving to Emerson to, finally, Longfellow. How
do these literary practices reflect changes in political and cultural thought
in America?

Even though Thomas Paine’s Age of Reason was originally rejected and earned him a bad
reputation, it reflected the changing religious and theological attitudes of
early America. How does Age of Reason
anticipate the eventual shift to ideological or philosophical visions that may
or may not defend theology?

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