4-6 Pages
Working Thesis: October 27
Rough Draft Due: November 3
Final Draft Due: November 10

This essay asks you to formulate an innovative thesis considering the relationship between any of the formal elements we?ve studied thus far (narration, time, point of view, character, plot, style) and content in either What Maisie New or The Catcher in the Rye. You may go about this in a number of ways, but your essay should do the following:

Have a specific, clearly worded, and non-obvious thesis considering how the text uses formal elements to convey content.

To make your thesis as specific as possible, you should focus on a particular question of content (e.g. marriage, boredom, identity, smallness, masculinity, urban space, and so on) and a particular formal device or devices (so, for instance, you might want to consider how the use of, say, subsequent narration in What Maisie Knew informs the text?s approach to childhood, etc).
If your paper doesn?t fit squarely into the guidelines above, feel free to run it by me first. Above all, I want essays that demonstrate interesting and careful close readings of texts.

However you choose to narrow your topic and thesis, be sure to stay focused on developing your thesis as the essay progresses. In other words, try not to meander off into irrelevant asides, summaries of the text, or broad musings. Make sure to structure your essay?and each paragraph?consciously, providing evidence and analysis for every important point you make and making sure each point builds toward your thesis. If you were not in class when we discussed strong paragraph form, check in with me during office hours.

Use your close reading skills. Make sure that you have a point, that you provide analysis of evidence in support of that point, and that you close your essay with a reading of the text (i.e., a sense of it?s ?natural laws?) that builds from those close readings.

Be sure to proofread for spelling and grammar and format your paper according to MLA style guidelines (Double-spaced in 12 point, Times New Roman Font with a separate Works Cited page).