Choose two of the texts (except for the literacy narratives) we have read so far this semester and write a 5- to 6-page essay that advances an argument explaining what those texts reveal about a larger theme. Your argument should include analysis that explains how specific details of the texts contribute to their larger meanings (remember, this process is called close reading and it’s what we’ve been doing in class all term).
It should provide a synthesis that explains what commonalities and patterns you see across the texts you’ve chosen. Your argument should demonstrate an awareness of how the texts are operating (by way of their style, symbols, themes, bonaries, characterization, and/or narrative tensions). Most importantly, your thesis should rely on specific details in the texts as evidence, and the conclusion should identify what’s at stake with your claim. You should NOT be using any outside texts–only the two primary texts from class that you are analyzing.
Note: When choosing which texts to write about, you are strongly encouraged to select texts that are not obviously connected. It’s easier and more generative to approach it this way, AND your paper will be richer, more nuanced, and more sophisticated if you do.
Your essay should begin with an introduction that states your argument clearly and in rich detail. Body paragraphs should develop in complexity at every step while advancing your argument through careful attention to sources, integrating quotations, and explaining their significance. Your conclusion should demonstrate that your thinking on the larger theme has evolved through sustained critical reading.
Your Two Texts in Conversation Paper should be between 1,500 and 2,000 words and in MLA format. Again, it should not use any outside sources for this assignment. All paragraphs should have strong topic sentences and clearly written internal transitions, and all sentences should be edited for precision, conciseness, variation, and clarity.
An “A” paper:
- Is submitted on time and complete;
- Advances a clearly stated argument that proceeds through explication and develops in complexity over the full course of the essay, using topic sentences and transitions effectively to signal the introduction of new ideas;
- Selects, analyzes, and synthesizes evidence from two or more texts, using both direct quotation and paraphrase while explaining in detail at each step how that evidence supports and complicates the argument;
- Identifies and differentiates among each text’s genre and mode, explaining how their generic elements contribute to their meaning;
- Explains how synthesizing the texts reveals a deeper understanding of a larger social issue; and
- Demonstrates a mastery of edited academic English, using proper spelling and punctuation with precision, conciseness, variation, and clarity.
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