Traditional Essay Prompt (Choice No. 1):
Compose an essay where you provide a close reading
analysis of the text of your choice and the author’s use of at
least two rhetorical strategies. If you are stuck, please use the
provided Close Reading Worksheet. In your thesis, you should
make a claim about the effectiveness of these strategies.
Make sure you show examples from the text that connects to
the point/claim you want to make and support your thesis.
(These examples form the I or Illustration of PIE format.) Also,
make sure to explain how the illustration proves your claim to
be correct. (This will form part of your E or Explanation in PIE
Your essay must include an
your chosen text.
That means you need a
which state your
why. You also
need support for your argument in the form of cited
material from the text itself.
Remember, your thesis needs to contain both your
limited subject and your attitude (claim) about your
For this essay, your limited subject is the
specific rhetorical strategies you choose to
focus on, and your attitude is whether or not
the author is successful in their implementation
of these strategies.
You must include a total of at least
SIX direct quotes
in your essay.
You are required to
cite your sources
, so don’t forget your
Length: 5-6 pages
Your essay needs to have a creative title.
Explains the significance of the quote.
In your conclusion, include
1.A brief summary of your key points
2. Restate your thesis
3.Final thoughts about your topic
Close Reading Worksheet
For example, look at
. What kinds of words does the author use? Look up any that
are unfamiliar. Does she or he aim for lofty diction (used for special occasions) or
common diction? Are the words long or short, Latinate or Anglo-Saxon, specialized (i.e.
legalistic, medical, jargon, elite) or ordinary? Remember that the rules for diction are
different at different times in history.
The PowerPoints for this week:
you narrow down what you want to focus on for your close reading.
3. Next, look at
. Can you map the sentences (find the subject
and verb, locate phrases and clauses)? Does the author use active or passive
verbs? What rhythms or patterns does the sentence structure create—long flowing
ones, short choppy ones—and how do these relate to the meaning?
4. Does the passage contain
? What sensory images or
metaphors or similes do you observe? What is the significance or effect of the
author’s use or lack of figurative language?
5. What do you notice about the
of the passage overall? Does it have a
climax or significant turning point? How does it organize or develop its ideas,
impressions, or themes?
6. You can also analyze
. Is the narrator being straightforward, factual, open?
Or is he taking a less direct route toward his meaning? Does the voice carry
emotion? Or is it detached from its subject? Do you hear irony? If so, what do you
make of it?
7. Once you have a grasp of the language, you can begin to look for
in your reading of the passage, to move beyond
. What are the effects of the technical features of the passage? In
the example above, you may discover some difference between what the author
appears to be doing (giving you a complete, unbiased narrative) and what she also
accomplishes (raising doubts about the narrator’s point of view, whether he fully
understands the implications of what he’s seen, whether this narrator can be
trusted, etc.). You can now begin to talk about the ways Shelley’s language,
to invite our confidence, is also raising these doubts.
8. At this point, you can propose a generic
, something like, “In this
passage, Shelley raises questions about Victor Frankenstein’s character through
her contrast between the violence Frankenstein witnesses and his seemingly
bland, even inappropriate response to it.” You can proceed to fill in the outlines of
this point by explaining what you mean, using details and quotations from the
passage to support your point.
9. You still need an argument and will need to go back to your opening to sharpen
the thesis. The question is
to what effect
Your thesis might build on
what you’ve already written by suggesting the larger implications of your
observations and by structuring your paper more rigorously.