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I’m sorry for making you write this essay; i just have too many things to worry about at the moment, and having this ontop of me is pretty stressful.

“For whichever text you choose from the list below (just choose one), you will be expected to hand in a text analysis paper. A text analysis paper will focus upon an area of the work that you find interesting, significant, or feel merits discussion. A text analysis paper should be fairly formal and should genuinely attempt to shed light on one or more aspects of the work. You may discuss the significance of character, plot, setting, symbol?whatever catches your fancy. Overall, I am looking for interesting and original insights concerning the reading assignment.

An ideal text analysis will be from 1-2 pages in length, double spaced, typed. Your paper will explore a problem or point of interest created by a work of literature (this includes, but is not limited to, character motivation, thematic elements, symbol, irony, etc.). Your ideas and insights will be based on information from the pages in the text we have read so far (outside research is encouraged, but not at all necessary), calling upon specific examples to illustrate the idea or issue you are exploring. Your grade will be based on the quality and depth of your insights, and on the use of specific textual evidence as support. (Avoid the obvious! Take risks! Make it interesting! This is an issue that the class may be asked to discuss at a later date.)

Possible starting places for your text analysis include an author?s life, politics, the social context of the work, philosophical musings, how and why the work evokes a particular feeling in you, cultural relevance, or the components of the text such as the significance of setting, narrative voice, imagery, or symbolism. Or, perhaps you will read a critical approach to the text and use it as a springboard for your own ideas (the library database Contemporary Literary Criticism Select is often a nice starting place). Or, you may wish to explore the relationship between elements of the text (How does setting influence character?). As we move on into the later weeks of the course, you may even wish to direct your questions toward identifying patterns between texts, and asking what the significance of these patterns might be.

The Dos and Don?ts of Text Analysis Papers:

DO NOT: Only summarize plot

DO: Analyze the thematic and symbolic significance of events in the story.

DO NOT: Say you didn?t like a character

DO: Explain how a character was unlikable, and why that may or may not have been the author?s intent.

DO NOT: Generalize and provide vague

DO: Use specific examples from the text reasons behind your Text Analysis (including quotes, if significant).

DO NOT: Make superficial, obvious insights (eg: This Boy?s Life is about the struggles of growing up)

DO: Think deeply, and look closely into the work. Notice things that a casual reader would not.

DO NOT: Simply repeat ideas mentioned in class by the instructor or by other students.

DO: Build off ideas mentioned in class, adding your own thoughts and insights to the discussion.

**Remember: Text analysis papers must be typed and submitted on time. They will be evaluated on the basis of focus, development, use of evidence, creativity, and level of insight. They will count as 10% of your final grade.

Texts to choose from:

Ancient World

Epic of Gilgamesh ? Anonymous
Hymn to the Aten ? Akhenaten
Euthyphro Dialogue ? Plato
Any poem by Sappho
Antigone – Sophocles
Meditations ? Marcus Aurelius
I Ching ? Anonymous
The Golden Ass ? Apuleius
City of God ? St Augustine
Medieval World

Inferno ? Dante Alighieri
Decameron ? Giovanni Bocaccio (choose just one tale)
Canterbury Tales ? Geoffrey Chaucer (choose just one tale)
Nibelungenlied ? Anonymous
El Cid ? Anonymous
Song of Roland ? Anonymous
Njal?s Saga ? Anonymous
Guide for the Perplexed ? Maimonides
Ibn Battuta?s Journeys ? Ibn Battuta
The Tale of Genji ? Murasaki Shikibu
Renaissance and Early Modern World

The Prince ? Machiavelli
Praise of Folly ? Desiderius Erasmus
Utopia ? Thomas More
Faerie Queene ? Edmund Spenser
Titus Andronicus ? Shakespeare
A Modest Proposal ? Jonathan Swift

Any poem with professor approval
Metamorphosis ? Franz Kafka
A Short Narrative of My Life ? Samson Occom
Night ? Eli Wiesel
Maus ? Art Spiegelman
The Color Purple ? Alice Walker
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings ? Maya Angelou
Notes of a Native Son ? James Baldwin
One Today ? Richard Blanc