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Length: 1200 words (please provide a word count) Purpose: Your essay should demonstrate your understanding of the elements of literature and of how these elements function in the texts you choose to analyze. You will construct a response to one of the following prompts, using textual evidence (quotes from the literature) to support your thesis. Your essay should demonstrate your ability to make stylistic and structural choices appropriate to literary analysis (use present tense to describe literary content, craft paragraphs with effective topic sentences, avoid first person, incorporate quoted material effectively, use MLA format for parenthetical citations and your Work Cited entry, etc.). If you have questions about MLA format, the Purdue OWL website is a helpful resource: owl.english.purdue.edu. Your essay should demonstrate an understanding of comparison/contrast as a mode of literary analysis. Remember that when you quote lines from a poem, you should use a slash mark (/) to show where the line breaks occur and put the line numbers of the material you’ve quoted in parentheses after the quote (NOT the page number). If you must quote more than three lines, use block quote format (but try to avoid long quotes, since this is a short essay). Structure: Your essay should consist of three distinct parts—an introductory paragraph containing a brief contextual explanation of the texts you are analyzing and ending with your thesis statement, several body paragraphs that present clear points and evidence to support your thesis, and a conclusion paragraph. Your thesis should provide a direct response to the prompt. Please underline your thesis. Be sure to provide textual evidence to illustrate and support your claims. Choose ONE of the following prompts: 1) Paisley Rekdal’s Nightingale and Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye both address the transformative impact of trauma, though in quite different ways. Looking closely at both content and style, write an essay that explores at least one significant similarity and one significant difference in each text’s presentation of this theme. (Be sure to explore beyond the obvious here: both texts feature sexual assault, and one is poetry while the other is prose, but noting these facts doesn’t constitute analysis.) You may discuss several poems in your analysis, or you may focus on one. 2) On the surface, Paisley Rekdal’s Nightingale and George Saunders’ CivilWarLand in Bad Decline may seem to have little in common. One is poetry, the other prose, and while Rekdal often uses mythology and literature as the backdrop of her poems, Saunders often employs historical references/allusions combined with a dark humor not present in Rekdal’s poems. Despite these differences, however, both texts use characterization and narrative to dramatize various types of suffering inherent to the human condition. Choose one poem and one story that share this general theme, and write an essay that explores the significant similarities and differences in each author’s perspective and approach. 3) Although many of Paisley Rekdal’s poems portray negative transformations brought about by trauma, some of the poems in Nightingale present change in a more positive way. Similarly, many of the poems in Ada Limon’s Bright Dead Things explore change as a difficult but productive form of growth. Choose one or two poems from each book that deals with positive change and compare and contrast them, looking closely at how each poet uses such elements as tone, diction, imagery, comparison, and form to convey meaning. (Construct your essay around a significant similarity to establish a clear basis for your comparison.) 4) Many of the poems in Paisley Rekdal’s Nightingale and in Chen Chen’s When I Grow Up… present the speaker’s attempt to come to terms with the inevitability of time and death. Chose one or two poems from each book that deal with these concepts and compare and contrast them, looking closely at how each poet uses such elements as tone, diction, imagery, comparison, and form to convey meaning. (Construct your essay around a significant similarity to establish a clear basis for your comparison.)