Persuasive thesis on the lathe of heaven and circle

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Choose between The Lathe of Heaven, and The Circle)

In your fourth paper, you will attempt to mount a persuasive thesis about any of the texts we have read this semester by analyzing the significance of at least four technical elements of the genre of the work and showing the connection between technical structure and the the production of meaning in the text. Please reference the genre-specific introductory powerpoints on our class Blackboard site for refreshers on technical vocabulary.*

As with the analytical paper, you will attempt to argue for a particular interpretation of the novel. Your thesis must comprise a DEBATABLE, INTERPRETIVE claim that provides the answer to a question, and it must be clearly established by the end of your introductory paragraph.

Before you can work on your thesis, then, you must first start by formulating a clear question-and, all too frequently, coming up with a relevant and engaging question is the most difficult task when writing an English paper. For this assignment, I recommend starting with one of the key themes of the text and then ask a question that links a formal element to that theme. Please include the writing question that your thesis will go on to answer as the title of your paper. Your question may have more than one part, as you must address at least three key formal elements in the course of the paper, but all the questions must be linked and answered by the thesis statement.

Regarding the introductory paragraph of your paper: in contrast with the analytical paper, you must also frame the significance of your close reading by connecting your interpretations back to the big questions that form the foundation of the course. We discussed some of those big themes during class in the week of Nov 16/18, but you may reference any of the recommended texts posted to Blackboard during the first week of the semester. In other words, to establish the significance of your argument, you must connect the novel to a key debate currently going on about the relationship between humanities education and the "STEM" disciplines.

Regarding the body of the paper: as with the analytical essay, for evidence to support your claim, you must perform a close reading of the text, describing and adeptly interpreting what is there on the page. Make SURE to include ample direct quotations from the text as evidence, or this will have a negative impact on your grade.

Remember that the formal elements of prose fiction, drama, narrative nonfiction, and poetry all include rhetorical structures-

• Identifying contradictions and or paradoxes as well as consistencies
• Defining significant parts and how they're related
• Making the implicit explicit
• Highlighting patterns of repetition and contrast/anomalies

-as well as aesthetic forms.
• Diction(s)
• Imagery (tropes)
• Narrative structures
• Organization of time
• Focalization and other elements affecting point of view

And remember: When writing an English paper, there is little to gain by narrowing your thinking to the point that one interpretation can be "established as true." Instead, a literary essay grapples with the act of interpretation. Rather than simply proving a claim, then, the goal of this assignment is to open up the meaning and significance of some aspect of the novel for an audience of your peers in the course. Think of it as helping a fellow reader wrestle with the material by offering particular insights that your own personal wrestling has yielded up. Persuasion is just fine-but proving, as a final goal, belongs to fields that are far more invested in empirical reproducibility.

You could say that the goal of this assignment is to prompt you to begin to imagine how a thesis can simultaneously make a clear, debatable claim-and avoid making a "provable" claim.


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