Monday, October 6, 2008

Prompt for Essays Two and Three

For your next two essays, you will be following the same guidelines. I want you to write an essay that analyzes how the writers we are reading use text and image to put forth a particular point. The specific focus of your essays will be up to you. Basically, you need to analyze and compare each book in regards to a whatever thesis you want to prove. Essay Two will focus on Bechdel and Thompson, and Essay Three will focus on Spiegelman and Satrapi.

One of the big traps to avoid is to make sure that you analyze rather than summarize. Summary is where you focus on what happens in a text; analysis is where you focus on how and why an author presents things. The strongest essays will use some of the theories in Understanding Comics to guide their analysis; I'll talk about how in class.

In fact, we'll spend lots of time in class talking about these essays. There will be several writing workshops in class, too. Know now that I will be looking for several things in this essay such as your ability to create a strong thesis, develop focused paragraphs with detailed evidence, and compose clear sentences. All evidence you cite for these essays should be in MLA format, whcih I will go over in class; I also expect you to use A Writer's Resource as your guide for all formatting and editing issues.

Essay Two is due by noon on Sunday, October 26, and Essay Three is due by noon on Sunday, November 23 (there is an error on the Course Schedule, but November 23 is the correct date). Each essay should be 4-6 pages long. Remember that essays should be in .doc or .rtf format, not .docx. Do not count on revising these essays, so make sure to turn in your best efforts.

Addendum: One thing I did not make clear early on is the issue of audience. You are not writing for me or your peers in this class. Write for a general, college-level audience who does not know these texts. In other words, you will need to describe things for readers who do not have the books in front of them or who were not privy to what we have discussed in class. Writing for a broader audience like this helps show me how well you can describe and analyze these images and words. In your revisions of the second essay and in the third essay, I will expect you to show an understanding of audience in this way.

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