THE CASK OF AMONTILLADO
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- Paper instructions:i
1. Use your theory to develop a working thesis statement for your paper.
2. Develop an outline for the paper. In order to prove your thesis, what claims will you make about how the chosen passage demonstrates the theory you’ve formulated about the work’s meaning? What evidence will you need? What order should it go in? How will you connect it all?
3. Draft the paper.
a. Don’t summarize or describe what happens–focus on HOW and WHY
b. For every main and supporting claim you make about a work, you must have evidence–you should be able to paraphrase/quote from/refer to specific passages in both the primary and secondary sources. DON’T quote long passages–only quote enough to support or demonstrate the point you’re making. DON’T quote something and then say “this shows that…”: 1) Make your point, 2) quote/paraphrase, then explain how (1) and (2) relate to one another and to your thesis.
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c. Cite everything using MLA format.
4. Revise. Show the paper to your classmates, a writing center instructor, or me. Get feedback. Revise some more.
The primary rhetorical purpose of each of these papers is argumentative—you’re trying to persuade an audience of learned colleagues (hint: you’re one of them) that your analysis of a given text’s structure and themes is valid. In order to have strong appeals to both logos and ethos, you’ll need lots of careful analysis, and lots of good evidence. In literary analysis, the most important evidence comes from close textual analysis of the works in question, so a vital part of writing each of these papers is reading and re-reading your primary sources—the stories, plays, or poems you’re interested in. You should KNOW what ever single word in the text means. LOOK STUFF UP. You cannot write a strong analysis based on incomplete reading (relying on context clues=incomplete).
Additionally, you might need evidence from other reputable sources: you may want or need to consider the historical and social context of a work as well as details about the author’s life and beliefs (religious, philosophical, idiosyncratic); the more advanced move is to find out what your learned colleagues have already been saying about each work’s meaning and significance and integrate their findings with your own. Finding good secondary sources takes work, and time—overestimate how much time you’ll need. Be prepared to get creative and exert yourselves. Using a basic web search will NOT be enough, guaranteed. The MCPHS library has a lot of good resources in databases and the e-brary. If you find sources using Google Scholar (not regular google) the library can usually get those materials to you fairly quickly, though not automatically, through interlibrary loan (ILL). Other libraries (COF colleges, the BPL) have better databases, such as the MLA, JStor, and Project Muse. If you want to challenge yourselves a bit (and leave the building) you can find everything you need.