For this assignment you will be writing an interpretive essay about Montana 1948

For this assignment you will be writing an interpretive essay about Montana 1948; this assignment does not require the use of secondary sources. In other words, DO NOT do any research for this paper. The specific topic of your essay is up to you. Look at the your list of terms for the semester, discussion boards, and exam for topic ideas. You might find it helpful to begin by asking yourself a question, and in the first draft you attempt to answer that question with your thesis statement.
TOPICS: There are many ways you might go about this assignment. You might write about themes, settings, symbols, plot (conflict, suspense, and/or resolution), structure, imagery,… The choice is yours. Any one of these topic can be broken down further. For example, you might write about Montana 1948 by focusing on one character (major or minor), or you might write about characters’ relationships. When writing about characters consider their motives, actions, and words. If you want to write about a significant theme, consider some of the themes we have already identified this semester. Montana 1948 has lots of themes, so pay carefully attention to the discussion board postings and take reading notes, which you can use to begin your essay.
SUGGESTIONS FOR WRITING ABOUT LITERATURE
–Be sure to include the title and author of the work you are discussing in the title of your essay as well as in your first paragraph.
–Write about literature in the present tense; it’s called the literary present. Even if a work is set in past tense, you have to use present tense to introduce and to interpret the evidence you cite.
–Assume your reader has read the book.
–Avoid going line by line or chapter by chapter, or you will end up with a dull summary.
–Use text references to show the connections between the work and your interpretations. Direct quotes are best, but don’t just let the quote sit there; make sure you reader knows what to look for in it and that you indicate the meanings of the passages you cite. Parenthetical citations will be sufficient.
–Remember that you should use direct quotes and paraphrases in your interpretation. If you are using a quotation of +4 lines, you must indent the entire quotation. In a paper of 5 pages you probably won’t need any long quotations, but if you decide to include block quotations, don’t have more than 2-3, and be sure that you fully interpret all of the long quotations.
–The goal of this paper is to present an interpretation NOT to describe what the text said. We want to avoid retelling the novel, summarizing the plot, and describing our reactions.
–Please follow the format used in the sample essay; it’s standard Modern Language Association (MLA) format.
CAUTIONS: #1: Whatever you decide to write about, be aware that you must write your own essay; make sure that your ideas for your essay come from you. Plagiarism is grounds for failing a class and for possible dismissal from the college.
#2: If you decide to change your topic after your first draft, you must submit a new first draft and receive new comments from me and your colleagues; obviously, this is impractical. Please work within the topic you have selected; typically, writers use just a small part of the larger topic of their first drafts; if you turn in a totally new draft as a final draft, you won’t be successful.
RESOURCES: Take advantage of the material in our textbook when working on your paper.

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