Context: For this essay, metaphor and symbol will be our focuses. But we will relate these elements of narrative to a larger theme or message so that you can practice connecting little details to larger ideas (in other words, you’ll be working a lot like Sherlock Holmes does!). Remember that your body paragraphs’ examples will come from close reading, but the analysis of your paragraphs will come from you explaining how your examples prove your thesis. It might help you to keep in mind that the larger point of this course is to hone your analytical and interpretive skills.
Texts: F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and at least 2 well-chosen, well-incorporated scholarly secondary texts
Task: You will select a metaphor or symbol that you find in The Great Gatsby. Then, in a well-written, thesis-driven essay of 4 to 5 pages, you will answer the following question:
How does the metaphor or symbol that you have chosen indicate a larger theme of the novel?
Tips to help you:
- You will need to find outside sources on your own, but since we will have an in-class library research instruction session, you might find that that’s enough time to find all necessary sources. These must be scholarly sources, not popular sources, and we will discuss what that means.
- Note that you will need at least five sources for an assignment due on March 21.
- Pay attention to the page length, and use your additional sources as springboards for discussion to meet this essay’s length requirement.
- Check the blog posts on this website on grading and on essay expectations.
- Like Sherlock Holmes, pay attention to detail: close reading of passages will help you to prove your larger point.
- A strong thesis will have one clear, unifying reason rather than a list of the points that you’re going to make.
- I’ve set up some links for more information on writing introductions and on incorporating quotations into your essay.
- Remember to look at the syllabus for the instructions on formatting your essay.
- Try writing an outline in which you list the points that you plan to make in your essay. Knowing your points before you write your draft will help give your essay more strength, unity, and clarity.
Annotated bibliography: You will turn in an annotated bibliography of at least 5 potential scholarly sources for your essay. It will include the full bibliographic information of each source as it should appear on your Works Cited sheet. Additionally, for each source, you will write a short (3-5 sentence) explanation of how you think the source might help you in your essay. To do this, you will most likely have to summarize the point or points from the source that you think will help you.
Schedule of Important Dates
Library instruction session: Monday, March 14, 2011. On this day, class will meet in the 1st-floor computer lab in Daniel Library.
Annotated bibliography due: Friday, March 21, 2011. This will be worth 30 quiz points, so it’s extremely important to turn this in on time and to present your work carefully.
Due date: Wednesday, April 6, 2011