Purpose: This is your capstone project, demonstrating what you have learned throughout this semester. Completing it will improve your critical thinking and organization (logic) skills as well as your ability to analyze for meaning. In addition, this essay will help to improve your writing skills, from grammatical correctness to varying your sentence openings and structures. Finally, this paper will help you practice and gain experience with proper quotation and citation style, all of which is invaluable knowledge for your future classes and for your ability to write in many career and life situations.
Task: The assignment for this essay is to analyze a drama (a play). You may choose a drama that we have not discussed in class or that is not on the list given in class; however, if you do this, you must have the drama approved by me (this is to prevent you from choosing a topic that will give you problems and lower your grade, so do not ignore this rule). If you choose your own, choose one you have read recently in its entirety and remember well; you may not have time to reread it and lack of familiarity can cause you to write a failing essay.
Four outside sources (at least one critical book–usually online but print is also permissible–and three critical database articles) must be quoted in this paper. Internet sources are prohibited. Be sure you cite correctly all information taken from sources both in the text (parenthetically) and in your Works Cited page using the Citation Style handout.
You should also use quotations from the play to demonstrate your points. Each quotation and analysis must be clearly related to your thesis and topic sentence and to the sentences before and after it. Be sure you have at least one sentence of explanation after each quotation to show how it relates to your thesis and topic sentence. Follow proper quotation and citation style as reviewed in the Quotation handout and Citation Style handout (also available as a PowerPoint presentation).
As always, your essay must have a strong, clear thesis. For example, “There is symbolism in ‘A Doll House’” is not making a strong point. A better thesis would be: “The play’s symbolism helps strengthen Ibsen’s point that individual freedom is more important than social conventions.” As always, the thesis should be the last sentence in your introduction and each body paragraph of the essay should have a topic sentence that relates clearly to the thesis. The reader of your essay should always be able to read only your thesis and topic sentences and still see a clear outline of the essay.
You may discuss characterization (how the character changes throughout the play works especially well for this assignment), symbolism, irony, or theme(s) for this project. One way to find a thesis is to discuss the characters in a drama with strong
characterization, such as the characters in A Doll House. Again, some of the aspects to consider for a character analysis are:
What details in the drama show you what kind of person the character is?
What are some of the personality traits of the character and how are these suggested in the play?
What does the character interaction (the way the character reacts to other characters) tell you about the character?
What function does the character serve in the play?
How does the author use the character to reveal the play’s theme or the issues it presents?
How does the character change throughout the play and why?
Another way to find a thesis is to discuss the theme of a drama. Here you are discussing what the drama means and what the author is using the drama to suggest. An example of this would be, “In A Doll House, Ibsen shows the influence that money can have on marriage.”
Again, all essays should be in third person and double-spaced using MLA format.
As always, AVOID summarizing the plot. Assume that the reader of your paper has read the drama and remembers it well. Don’t tell the reader what happens in the play; instead, explain the meaning of the drama (or some aspect of the drama such as a character or symbolism).
Begin now on your essay. Choose a topic in the next two days and begin brainstorming. Remember to allow sufficient time to research and to read and incorporate your sources.
Let me know during office hours, before class or by email or phone if you have any questions or problems. Contact me as soon as you realize there is a problem; do not wait until just before the paper is due.
Criteria: See the Guide for Evaluating Essays for details on the grading system. Areas evaluated will include content, organization with thesis and topic sentences, support using quotations and examples from the play, quotation and citation style, use of sources, and variety of sentence openings and styles. You may use the Drama Essay Self-Quiz to remind yourself of all the aspects of the paper that you need to include. For more information on A Dolls House Research Paper check out: https://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/educational-magazines/dolls-house
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