Posted: February 22nd, 2022
Paper #1: Speakers & Responses Purpose: The main purpose of this assignment is to demonstrate your ability to interpret one of poems we have read for class. Your paper should demonstrate your ability to develop a “close reading” of the poem: that is, you should include detailed evidence from the poem to support and develop your thesis, and you should discuss both the poem’s meaning and its poetics, in his case the poem’s speaker. Topics: You may write your paper about any of the poems on the syllabus. In class, we have discussed many of these poems. Of course, there are also some we have not had a chance to discuss. Regardless, all of these poems lend themselves to further interpretation. In your paper, make sure that you clearly state your own thesis, which involves a significant judgment about the meaning of the poem. Then, throughout the essay, support and develop this judgement. Option one is an interpretation of a poem focusing on the speaker. If you choose this option, make sure that you explain how and why the author creates a particular speaker. For instance, you might consider how Etheridge Knight creates the speaker of “Hard Rock Returns to Prison from the Hospital for the Criminal Insane” to explore the power dynamics within the prison. Or, you might consider how Walt Whitman’s creates of a speaker who reflects and expresses his ideal of American democracy. As much as possible, choose a topic that you find interesting and that will allow you to develop a significant thesis. If you have any questions—about a possible topic, a thesis, sources, etc.—ask. You may use your online reflections for ideas about a topic. That is one of the purposes of these reflections: to help you try out ideas that might lead you to fuller explanation and/or investigation. Poem Title: We Wear The Mask (Paul Laurence Dunbar) Guidelines: Make sure that your essay includes the following: 1. A title that clearly reflects the topic and thesis. 2. An introduction that focuses the topic, engages the reader, and includes the thesis. 3. A thesis or central proposition that involves a significant judgment about the meaning of the poem. 4. A careful and detailed analysis—a “close reading” of the poem—that supports and develops your thesis with attention to both the meaning and the poetics. 5. Appropriate and careful documentation of your sources using MLA style.
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