Literary Analysis Essay (100 points): Entropy Unit
YOUR TASK: Write
an essay (1200-1500 wods long, Times New Roman, 12 font, double spaced) that explores the ideas presented in
the entropy unit. You may either write
about Zoline’s story alone OR write about Wells’ The Time Machine alone
OR develop a controlling idea about The
Time Machine paired with “The
Heat Death of the Universe.” In addition to having an interesting talking
point, you must also discuss the literary techniques used to develop and
support your position. Please bold each term in each paragraph.
[characterization, symbolism, illeism, asyndeton, tone,
mood, juxtaposition, structure, imagery, point of view, foreshadowing, etc.]*
Please submit your
final essay, double spaced to Turnitin by the due
date. Plan ahead: get yourself to the Writing Center at any stage of your
essay for extra help. Get documentation
to submit for extra credit.
Your controlling idea
[thesis] should be a specific, interesting, and an arguable position. Your
job is to explore the text/s and teach your reader what you found. Beyond
stating the obvious, your position should explore why/how the author/s has/have
created this work. In other words, what
commentary does the author make about society/values?
*You should also find NATURAL WAYS to include the author’s techniques within your analysis. The obvious ones are characterization and
symbol, but there are many others to consider: shift in tone, juxtaposition,
motif, metaphorical language, allusions, etc. Do not say, “The author uses
characterization to develop theme.” Rather, “Sarah Boyle is characterized as a
misanthropic, obsessive woman experiencing a nervous breakdown because she
forced into the life of domestic servitude….”
Zoline Only Essay:
Before you read any of the prompts, think about what really
struck you. Consider a theory, question
or an idea that you could use to discuss the text. You may also find a lens (for example, a
Freudian reading, a Jungian archetype, determinism, or any other concept you
learned about in another area that you could use to think about this story…)
one or more of the terms from the pre-reading list to help you construct a
controlling idea. The terms fall under two categories: specifically cited
in the story OR potential lenses for how to explore the story.
Cited in the story
story is a fugue
story is a Dada text
This is a feminist text
Emerson’s Transparent Eyeball
how this is an Absurd text (commentary on the human condition) and how this
enhances social commentary (i.e., being forced into a role as housewife).
Sarah Boyle is modern Kali Goddess of Chaos.
- Consider a topic and develop a stance:
story uses art is used to make social commentary. What is the social
story uses the theme of opposing forces/dualities to develop (fill in
story uses the theme of [choose one] reproduction / mass production /
replication / cancer / absorption / etc. to reveal _____.
world is sick and dying because _____.
story’s emphasis on color/art/music shows (insert theme).
patterns / math / number significance.
What is the mathematical truth of this text?
one or more other analogy (beyond Entropy/Heat Death) to explore this
text as a metaphysical conceit. What previously unlikely comparison
allows us to gain new insight?
how the theme of consumption is used. How / why does Sarah Boyle
experience a crisis in identity?
gives life value.
Modern Hero? Tragic hero? What is she?
how this story is structured very much like a Greek Tragedy.
Lens: Paragraph (insert number) or “a quote from the story” (or an external
quote) can be used to analyze the rest story as (what is being revealed).
and discuss Cyriak’s “Malfunction” with the
story. Have clear purpose.
idea? The possibilities are endless.
Idea Bank The Time Machine
- Discuss how the Time
Traveler is more Morlockian than Eloian.
- How reliable is the TT?
Does it matter?
- Read TS Eliot’s poem “The
Hollow Men” and write a comparison paper.
- Examine the role and
importance of community in the narrative.
- Discuss the concept of
consumption in the novel.
- Your choice?
Idea Bank for Pairing
The Time Machine and “The Heat Death of the
a controlling idea about two works we read. Consider one or more of the following
ideas + how/why:
how imbalanced societies cannot last.
+ how/why or examine how society/civilization is built/maintained
one passage from one work to use as a base for analyzing the other/s.
the structure of the works. How is
the structure important to understanding the content? Opposing forces
gives life value. The texts force the reader to contemplate ____.
an allusion / symbol from each work and explore how it is important to the
work as a whole.
- All direct quotes are in quotation
marks and cited with a page number. If a quote is five or more lines long,
use BLOCK QUOTING structure. For either type of quoting, use proper MLA
parenthetical citations and punctuation. See “MLA In-Text Citations
(Step-by-Step Guide)” for a video tutorial
on YouTube [URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTaUHS1mnvw]
or use Purdue’s Online Writing Lab (OWL)
[https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/] for all your MLA citation questions.
For parenthetical citations, start here: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/02/)
- Use formal language. For
example, use “mother” instead of “mom.”
- Use the present tense in
your writing. Leave the author’s
tense as is in the direct quotes.
- The first time you mention
a work, cite the author’s full name.
From thereon, use ONLY the last name. Also, there is no need to keep telling
your reader who wrote what. Once is
enough. Same applies to character names.
who said what and often when. Set up the context of all quotes.
your reader is aware of the text – no plot summary is needed; however, you
should set up quotes to “refresh” your reader’s memory.
- Always analyze what evidence you
present. Don’t expect your reader
to do the analysis. Your analysis should be lengthier than your
- Alternate between direct
quotes and paraphrases. Use the
author’s or character’s exact words when they are perfect to support your controlling idea; paraphrase when you
can do as well to cover the material needed to support your controlling
- Develop each section of
your responses/essay equally.
- Spell out all numbers 100
or that begin a sentence.
- Avoid generalizations or
Captain Obvious statements.
- Do visit the Writing
Center for extra credit at any stage of your writing process.
- Do check that EVERY piece
of evidence and analysis leads back to support your thesis.
- Use the ACTIVE voice
rather than PASSIVE voice in your writing. See Grammar Girl’s Tips
or OWL [https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/539/02/]
- Read your writing aloud!
You will catch most of your troubles this way.
- Do use specific word
choices. Vary your vocabulary.
Never take reading short cuts such as Sparknotes or Wikipedia, etc. What’s the point?
ever plagiarize. Whether it be a phrase, an idea, or analysis from any
uncited source other than yourself, it
is plagiarism. Plagiarism is the intentional or unintentional use of
someone else’s ideas and presenting them as your own. Even the smallest
infraction will result in termination of your project. Always cite any words or
ideas from anywhere other than your own mind. See above MLA citing.
Do not plot summarize. Select your evidence deliberately.
Do not be sloppy. This is not a text, and you
should not rush. Even a paper that has
sound ideas but is sloppy cannot receive higher than a B.
Do not wait until the last minute to complete
your reading or writing.
Do not use “I” or “you” in your writing.
- Do not use contractions! “Doesn’t” should be
“does not,” for example.