Essay #1: Character Analysis Purpose: To begin our study of literature, particul


Essay #1: Character Analysis
Purpose: To begin our study of literature, particul

Essay #1: Character Analysis
Purpose: To begin our study of literature, particularly short fiction, it is crucial to practice close reading. This includes scrutinizing and evaluating important words, phrases, and passages from the text in order to have a better understanding of the story’s point of view, characters, setting, tone and style, themes, and symbols. This assignment will focus on studying characters, which are what add life to stories. They also help use better understand the themes, motifs, symbolism and more in stories. They do so by helping us better understand writers’ intentions and sometimes even motivations, which are not always literally revealed on the page. Sometimes we must read between the lines and offer our own opinions and interpretations in order to analyze successfully. This is what you will be asked to do in our first essay assignment.
– When (if) providing a character analysis, consider answering some of these questions in your analysis: does he/she undergo important changes, what are the facets of his/her personality or behavior, what is his/her relationship with other characters, what important actions does he/she take that helps us understand his/her character, what important conflicts does he/she encounter and how does he/she address or resolve those conflicts, and so on?
– Throughout this quarter, you are expected to work from the details of the text and employ “close reading” of short passages. A close reading is an examination of a passage in detail—line by line, sentence by sentence, thought by thought. On the basis of what you find, you should present a unified thesis or reading of the text. Be sure to find detailed passages from the text to help strengthen your analysis. Use a combination of quotes and paraphrases.
-Remember to always work towards internalizing the text, moving beyond a superficial reading of the words to a deeper understanding of the meaning of and motivation behind the words.
* Essays must be about 4 pages, typed in MLA format.
Due Dates:
Sunday, March 17 by 11:59pm
Writing Assignment: Choose 1 of the 5 topics to write about
Topic 1:
For as long as we can remember, women have been fighting against the constraints of a male dominated society; therefore, it is no surprise that the oppression of women is a common theme in a great deal of literature. In fact, in “The Story of an Hour,” by Kate Chopin, “The Chrysanthemums” by John Steinbeck, and “The Yellow Wallpaper,” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, the theme of oppression is certainly recognizable.
Write an essay in which you closely examine one of the characters from the stories mentioned above, and analyze how their character development leads to a deeper understanding of the theme of women’s oppression.
Topic 2:
Stories like “Open Boat,” “Story of an Hour” and “The Cathedral” are particularly unique in their ability to leave the readers awestruck with the uncanny irony at the end of each tale.
Identify the irony in one of the stories above, and analyze how it aids in the development of the story’s theme. Be sure to examine the specific character attributes which shed light on the ironical undertone of the story.
Topic 3:
What is symbolic about Elisa’s chrysanthemums in “The Chrysanthemums;” how about the dreadfully yellow colored wallpaper in “The Yellow Wallpaper?” Symbolic elements often appear in stories to help us better understand the characters, themes, and the overall underlying messages of the story.
Choose a work of short fiction from above, and analyze the symbolic elements of the story. Be sure to provide a detailed examination of what the symbolism in the story reveals about the characters and/or theme of the story.
Topic 4:
In both “A Tale-Tell Heart” and “A Rose for Emily,” we are introduced to protagonists who have a distorted view of reality. In a “Tell-Tell Heart,” the narrator promises us that “he isn’t mad,” but we know better. In “A Rose for Emily,” though we never personally meet Emily, based on what the townspeople say about her, we gain a fairly strong understanding of her lack of sanity. While both characters clearly have a distorted view of reality, they are the protagonists, and therefore, we often find ourselves rooting for them.
Write an essay in which you provide a character analysis of either Emily from “A Rose for Emily,” or the narrator from “A Tell-Tale Heart,” and examine how the character development deepens our understanding of the protagonist’s distorted reality. Be sure to identify what character aspects (if any) allow us to sympathize with them. Can we really sympathize with someone who is so far removed from reality?
Topic 5:
While in a “A Tale-Tell Heart” and “A Rose for Emily” we feel an obligation to try and sympathize with unreliable characters like Emily and the narrator who swears he isn’t mad, in other stories like “Where Are You Going, Where Have you Been,” and “A Good Man Is Hard to Find,” we are introduced to antagonists who unmistakably are standing in the way of our protagonists; however, despite our inclination to root for “the good guys,”, the complex portrayal of such characters leads us to a deeper understanding of them, (and maybe even a little sympathy?), as well.
Write an essay in which you provide a character analysis of “The Misfit” or Arnold Friend, and examine whether or not there are any redeeming qualities in their characters. Do we feel a slight sense of sympathy for the “villains,” or is the purpose of such characters simply to portray the evils of our world?
Rubric For Essay #1
Rubric For Essay #1
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeThesisThesis is strong, insightful and well-maintained. Student chose a strong character and explored this character in a thought-provoking evaluation, instead of just listing facts/observations about the character. Also, student has answered one of the five questions on character, symbolism, or theme in a clear, strong way.
25 ptsFull Marks
0 ptsNo Marks
25 pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeDevelopment/OrganizationParagraphs are developed with strong analysis that observes at least 2-3 unique facets of the chosen character, symbolism, or theme. The essay is also organized clearly with paragraphs that develop one main idea, have smooth transitions and an overall unified structure.
20 ptsFull Marks
0 ptsNo Marks
20 pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeCorrect Use of SourcesStudent uses sources in a strong way by integrating them, contextualizing them, establishing connections, citing them (in-text citations), and building their credibility. The sources help to enrich our understanding of the character/story/theme. The writer has gone beyond just the literal, surface-level observations and has observed subtleties and nuances in the character/story/play.
20 ptsFull Marks
0 ptsNo Marks
20 pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeSupportThere is sufficient support and detail in this essay in the form of quotations, paraphrases, summaries, examples, descriptions, and so on. Student shows a strong understanding of the text through “close reading” and works towards internalizing the text, moving beyond a superficial reading of the words to a deeper understanding of the meaning of and motivation behind the words.
20 ptsFull Marks
0 ptsNo Marks
20 pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeFormal RequirementsEssay meets formal requirements: it is in MLA format, about 4 pages, in-text citations, and an accurately formatted Works Cited page.
10 ptsFull Marks
0 ptsNo Marks
10 pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeGrammarEssay is mostly clear and avoids major errors. Though there might be occasional lapses, the writing is mostly fluent and shows that the writer has proofread his/her work.
5 ptsFull Marks
0 ptsNo Marks
5 pts
Total Points: 100



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