SUBJECT: Interpretive or Critical Paper
This paper will help you practice gathering evidence to develop an in-depth exploration of a complex idea in a literary work.
“ The way To Wealth” Benjamin Franklin
You can choose your own topic for this paper, as long as you focus on one of the literary texts we’ve read this semester. Whatever topic you choose should help your reader see the complexity in your selected text. You’ll want to create a central claim in your paper that moves from a surface summary of the text to a deeper interpretation.
What ideas have stood out to you from our readings? What questions do you have from your reading?
Your main audience will be me, but write with the expectation of speaking to a larger academic community. That means you should avoid referencing things we’ve discussed in class and should not use a casual tone.
That doesn’t mean your voice has to be excessively formal. You can use the first person and contractions, for instance. You just want to be sure that your paper shows some care and planning, and doesn’t sound like something you hammered out an hour before it was due.
You should assume that your audience is familiar with the work you are analyzing, so you don’t need to summarize the plot before starting your analysis.
One of key features that will make this paper more formal than your reading journal will be a thoughtful organization of ideas. Be sure that you state your main point early in the paper, that each paragraph develops one idea, and that each paragraph builds on the previous one. See Ch. 13 of Digging into Literature for more advice on organization.
- Your essay should be between four to five pages in length, double-spaced, one inch margins, with twelve point font in a standard style, like Times New Roman or Cambria.
- In a single-spaced header on the first page, put your name, English 239, Greene, and the date.
- Your essay should have a descriptive title.
- Use MLA format for parenthetical citations after any direct quotes you use from the text. Include a Works Cited page for the books that you use in this paper.
- You do not need to include outside research in these essays. I am interested in your ability to read closely and create a unique analysis.