critical essay

Project Description:

5 pages
double spaced
no plagiarism
due by tuesday oct 13

reference: america is in the heart by carlos bulosan (book)

content: analyze one topic of your choice pertaining to asian american literature (one book we read in class). make a persuasive presentation of your ideas. overall content must be original, sophisticated and insightful. the paper analyzes the topic thoroughly; no grammatical errors, no inaccurate citations or inaccurate paraphrasing from the readings.

organization: paper develops an argument or thesis statement rather than merely listing evidence. body paragraphs of the essay are clearly linked to the thesis and follow logically from it (make sure that you have good transitions between paragraphs); each paragraph adds a new evidence to demonstrate the thesis. make sure to choose a thesis that is both broad enough for 5-7 pages, but narrow enough to tackle in only 5-7 pages.
conclusion considers the ramifications of the thesis (or answer the question, “so what?”).

evidence: argument is convincingly supported by evidence such as quotations from the assigned reading texts or analysis of a specific scene in a film; quotes are integrated into the paper using parenthetical citation (identify author’s last name, and cite page of the text); quotes are followed by a thorough analysis that shows how they are evidence. you need to use at least two citations (ie: one from your reading and one from the library—not from the web). include a bibliography at the back of the paper.

do not plagiarize (university offense).

all submitted papers must be typed, double-spaced, 12 point font with 1 inch margins on both sides. palatino font or times new roman is preferred (not bold or italics). papers should be single-sided and stapled.

be sure to understand the terms that you use in your paper. if a term is not clear, define it within the body of the paper,


style:
1. structure: paper should have a title, an introduction, thesis, supportive evidences, and a conclusion. be sure to use explicit examples in order to support your argument. do not forget the title!

2. avoid the passive voice.

3. write with confidence. not “i think that maybe the main character doesn’t feel comfortable in his own skin” but “the main character does not feel comfortable in his own skin.”

4. be careful of broad generalizations and opinions. your work should be analytical. (ask yourself: how do i know this is true?)

5. use specific examples to support your arguments. prove or show your reader that your statement is correct.

6. cite all quotes.

7. watch for common grammar problems: run-on sentences, incomplete sentences, and improper matching of tense.

8. write clearly. is what you are writing understandable? read your paper out loud. ask someone else to read your paper. did they understand it?

9. use correct punctuation.

10. avoid slang and cliché’s. ie: “this story rocked.” “she bit the dust.” “this movie is cool” etc.

11. when summarizing the narrative of a film, use the present tense.

12. proofread. watch for spelling mistakes



preparation for writing a paper


formulating an argument

1) decide on a subject or topic. begin by asking yourself: “what really interests or moves me in this book/topic?”

2) formulate provisional questions about your topic, based on your preliminary reading and your sense of how the text defines your topic by connecting it to other important issues.

3) identify central passages that will enable you to answer those questions.

4) before starting to write the essay itself, analyze the passages you’ve selected slowly, carefully, and patiently. identify every word, phrase, and sentence that tells you something about the questions you’ve posed, and write out provisional analyses of them on a separate sheet of paper.

5) refine and reformulate your questions.

6) re-analyze your passages, and formulate new answers that are fully complex, non-reductive and non-judgmental. you should at this point be able to turn each passage you’ve analyzed into one body paragraph, with a detailed yet precise topic sentence and a fully logical demonstration through analysis in the paragraph itself.

7) formulate a thesis that organizes and states clearly the answers to the questions you’ve posed—that is, the thesis should bring together and logically connect the arguments you’ve developed about each of your passages.

8) if you develop preliminary answers and theses as you go, you need continually to revise these as you continue to analyze. your answers and your argument should be increasingly complex and sophisticated, as well as increasingly clear.

analysis
your paper should have:
- a title that reflects the main idea of your thesis;
- an introduction: that have a clear and detailed arguments that summarizes the answers you’ve learned to the questions you’ve posed. (your introd
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