Unit Schedule and Due Dates

March 2-3: Essay proposal due, work on thesis and claims

March 4-5: Working thesis with five supporting claims due; writer’s workshop (outline)

March 9-10: Essay Outline due; writer’s workshop (rough draft) and conferences with Ms. Hayes (review/grade outline and KWL chart)

March 11-12: Continue conferences with Ms. Hayes (review/grade outline and KWL chart); writer’s workshop (rough draft)

March 16-17: Rough Draft due – peer editing

March 18: Create Works Cited page using MLA Format

March 23-24: Final Draft Due – Meet in H202

Essay Prompts

Select one of the prompts below in preparation for your Song of Solomon literary analysis essay. Please note that you will be required to cite three outside sources within your essay. 

Simply put, the Marxist literary critic is concerned with “issues of power and money and overcoming oppression.” In a well-developed essay, explore the relationship between racism and classism in Song of Solomon. Give examples of how each are portrayed and then reflect upon why Morrison chose to include these factors. When planning your essay, it may be helpful to conduct research on the individual histories of classism and racism in the United States. How do these concepts contribute to the meaning of the work as a whole?

Feminist literary criticism is concerned with “…the ways in which literature (and other cultural productions) reinforce or undermine the economic, political, social, and psychological oppression of women.” In a well-developed essay, explore how the role of women manifests throughout Song of Solomon. When planning your essay, it may be helpful to conduct research on the Women’s Rights Movement as well as on Toni Morrison’s life and background. How does this contribute to the meaning of the work as a whole?

Sociological literary criticism “examines literature in the cultural, economic, and political context in which it is written or received.” In a well-developed essay, explore how the historical allusions in Song of Solomon help shape Morrison’s political statement. When planning your essay, it may be helpful to conduct research on specific historical events as well as on Toni Morrison’s life and background. How does this contribute to the meaning of the work as a whole?

Archetypal literary criticism stems from the work of Carl Gustav Jung, particularly from his theory that “humanity has a ‘collective unconscious that manifests itself in dreams, myths, and literature through archetypes: persistent images, figures, and story patterns shared by people across diverse cultures.’” Furthermore, these patterns are “embedded deep in the ‘collective unconscious’ and involve ‘racial memories’ of situations, events, relationships from time immemorial.” In a well-developed essay, explore how Jung’s ideas are present in Song of Solomon. When planning your essay, it may be helpful to conduct research on specific allusions to various belief systems both ancient and modern.  How do these allusions support or debunk Jung’s theory about the collective unconscious and racial memories? How does this contribute to the meaning of the work as a whole?

Essay Requirements

  • 3-5 pages typed (Works Cited page not included in page length) in MLA format
    • White 8.5″ x 11″ paper
    • Double-spaced
    • 12 pt. Times New Roman (or similar) font
    • Leave only once space after punctuation
    • 1″ margins
    • Indent the first line of paragraphs one half-inch
  • Minimum of three outside sources cited within the essay
    • Minimum one book (not including Song of Solomon)
    • Minimum one website (you may not use Wikipedia as a source, but you may refer to it to help guide your research to reliable sources)
    • Third source is up to you! 🙂

Essay Writing Resources

Download and use this Literary Analysis KWL Chart while in the early stages of planning your essay.

Check out this sample literary analysis essay written in MLA format.

A strong essay starts with a strong thesis statement! Refer to BenchPrep’s great post, “Writing an Effective Thesis“.

Use this outline format to plan your essay. Make sure you’re writing full sentences for your outline! This will help you write a much stronger rough draft.Download the format as a word document to type your essay directly onto a pre-made outline.

Make sure you’re citing reliable sources from the internet! Refer to this helpful handout on finding quality websites from Minnesota State University before using a site for research.

Revisit the MLA Formatting PowerPoint Presentation to make sure you’re citing your sources properly.

Here’s a digital copy of the handout on Archetypes that I gave you in class.

Use out this handout on Patterns for Incorporating Quotations into Sentences when embedding textual evidence and research into your essay.

Make sure you avoid plot summary and plot interpretation with this handy dandy handout on Plot Summary vs. Plot Interpretation vs. Literary Analysis.

Revisit this TedEd video titled “Mining Literature for Deeper Meanings” when trying to figure out what to say in your essay.

Revisit my post on Deepening Analysis for your Macbeth Director’s Notebook assignment. The texts and specific requirements may be different, but the skills are exactly the same.

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