English Composition 2

[Writing Task & Purpose]
For this assignment you are tasked with using analysis to write a 2 – 3 page descriptive composition that presents a thesis (argument) about how you would stage or film a version of a story or poem(s) we have read to date. To this end, I am showing the 2011 film Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy in class this week.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is based on a novel from 1974. The director uses different techniques to emphasize certain themes in the work. When you craft the assignment, consider how you can use light or shadow, music, costume, setting and character to create a visual fabric for the story. If you consider a piece that has been filmed before, think of how you would improve the previous effort. 

Keep in mind that this short essay is argumentative. Therefore, your thesis should be persuasive (but arguable), and your essay should be driven by analysis (subsequent claims and evidence). Remember that the purpose of this essay is not to merely summarize (simply report what the poems are about) or to write about some idea (culture, identity) in general, but to critically consider how some idea is represented in a particular text we have read.

Make sure to construct an argument that is complex/interesting enough (the main claim is not straightforward or obvious) for you to be able to write a minimum of 2 ½ full pages about it. Assume that your audience has already read (but not thought deeply about) the poems you chose. Therefore, you do not need to (and you should not) spend a lot of space summarizing the text. A close reading is not a line-by-line analysis of an entire text but rather a coherent argument based a painstaking analysis of some aspect of the text. Choose specific quotes and examples from the text that are relevant to your claims and use them in the service of supporting these ideas. Remember that each quote/example should be introduced, explained/analyzed, and relevant (and cited!).

You should not consult outside sources: this essay builds from a close reading of the poems you choose.

Structure the essay according to your argument, avoiding mere summary, on the one hand, and the five-paragraph essay, on the other. When arguing for your interpretation of the text, you should structure your essay according to your thesis about the short story you chose, not necessarily according to the order of the text itself.

Your essay should include: a focused thesis paragraph; body paragraphs provide additional claims (topic sentences) and specific, concrete details/examples in support of both these claims and your overall thesis (do not keep repeating the same idea over and over again in different ideas); logical connections/transitions among sentences, paragraphs, and ideas (claims); a concluding paragraph.

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