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(info) Share your completed essay in Google docs between 11/16 and 11/28.

Your model for the second paper should be the kind of "They say/I say" combination we created in Google docs here.

In other words, your opening paragraph should contain a "They say" statement that asserts something reasonable about the work you seek to understand. This "They say" should be followed by an "I say" that complicates the "They say," agreeing with it to some extent but significantly disagreeing as well.

One way you can write the paragraph is to begin with a statement that seems to be true about the work at first glance or on the surface, then go on to assert that the truth turns out to be more complicated when you examine more closely, dig deeper, consider certain facts or ideas from outside the work, or consider the work in comparison with another work on the syllabus.

The body of your essay will make the case for this more complicated view of the work you're focusing on, using that evidence which is only discoverable by examining more closely, digging deeper, considering additional facts or ideas, or comparing this work to another. Thus, the evidence will take the form of quotations (for written works); specific references to image, sound, and word (in the case of film); and cited references to external facts and ideas.

As sources for external facts or ideas, you can use the annotations in annotated editions of the Alice stories or A Christmas Carol, entries in the Abrams Glossary, or any of the assigned readings (e.g., from Frye, MacIntyre, Hardy, Lessig, Eagleton, Gilbert and Gubar, Benjamin).

What kinds of claims should your "They say" and "I say" statements make? They can be interpretive claims (about what the work "says" or "means"), or they can be claims about how the work uses the resources available to writers and filmmakers for saying things (e.g., narrative structure or cultural re-mixing). These are some obvious choices but not the only ones. The important thing is for you to have something to say about the work you choose that isn't trivially true (in other words, that requires evidence to support it). The body of your essay must provide that support.

You should find it helpful to review the advice about organization in the Geneseo Writing Guide. Pay particular attention to the Guide's advice about treating fiction analytically. If the motor driving your essay is the plot ("In the next chapter, Alice meets the Caterpillar…"), you're probably not being analytical. The motor driving your essay should be the idea you wish to argue for.

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3 Comments

  1. Unknown User (ncs3)

    where do we post the essay?

    1. As with the first paper, share it in Google docs.

      1. Unknown User (ncs3)

        Ok I did. I'm not sure if it went through.