Ms. Gokturk

Writing 21st C.

Multi-Genre Essay


YOUR TASK: Choose one of the following essay types to write. Your essay should be 1000 words and use direct quotes and evidence from the works, The Stranger and The Misunderstanding.


OPTION 1: The multi-genre essay.

Option 2: The critical lens essay.

You will write a comparative essay in which you will analyze at least two of the pieces provided.  After reading and analyzing all pieces, create a controlling idea about what you see (a thesis statement) that will drive your essay.


Lens: “Life is for each man a solitary call whose walls are mirrors.” – Eugene O’Neill


(You may choose to find another lens)


Write a critical essay in which you discuss both works of literature we read from the particular perspective of the statement that is provided for you. In your essay, provide a valid interpretation of the statement, agree or disagree with the statement as you have interpreted it, and support your opinion using specific references to appropriate literary elements from the two works.


ü      Use specific evidence from BOTH texts to establish a controlling idea (thesis) about how life is absurd. (You may choose another focus if you prefer)

ü      Use specific and relevant evidence from the works to develop your thesis.

ü      Show how the author uses specific literary elements (symbolism, irony, repetition, etc.) to portray how different authors reveal New York to their readers.

ü      Organize your ideas in a coherent way.



• Provide a valid interpretation of the critical lens that clearly establishes the criteria for


• Indicate whether you agree or disagree with the statement as you have interpreted it

• Use BOTH works

• Use the criteria suggested by the critical lens to analyze the works you have chosen

• Avoid plot summary. Instead, use specific references to appropriate literary elements

(for example: theme, characterization, setting, point of view) to develop your analysis

• Organize your ideas in a unified and coherent manner

• Specify the titles and authors of the literature you choose

• Follow the conventions of standard written English



We often tend to look at literary elements separately: structure (plot), symbolism, point-of-view, setting, theme, etc. In general, though, it’s often wise to combine these elements in an analytical essay. You may also write about character as long as you are combining it with an analysis of one or more of the above elements. Therefore, you can choose to focus on one of these elements, or you can write an essay which considers two or more of these elements. Which element(s) you choose to write on is entirely up to you, as is the choice of story, but if you choose to combine elements, you must show how these elements are related (for example, how setting helps us to understand how a character acts).

You probably want to begin by formulating a question, then answering that question in your thesis. Your question can involve any element of fiction: you can analyze how the story’s setting impacts the plot; the effect of a certain point of view upon the narrative; whether the first-person narrator is reliable, unreliable or naive; how a central symbol functions in the story; why the story is structured oddly or non-chronologically; and so on.

No plot summary allowed; thesis and topic sentences must all be related analytical assertions; all assertions must be supported with textual evidence.

General Questions to Consider:

Analysis of Structure

Analysis of Imagery and Symbolism

Point-of-View Analysis

Analysis of Setting and Atmosphere

Analysis of Theme

Analysis of Language Use