English 202: Final Essay Assignment—Fall, 2016
Date Due: December 19, noon (or anytime before 12/19). Put your essay in my English Department mailbox, Robinson A487.
1.Write an interpretive essay (1,200 words, minimum, double-spaced) about Rooftops of Tehran: In your introduction, state and develop the novel’s theme. (Hint: the theme should be a statement about the meaning and importance of “that.”) Then interpret one or more of the elements of the work, showing how it/they contribute to the theme. For instance, you might discuss one or several of the following: “a full discussion of “that,” one or two characters, the symbolism of the red rose, or the subtheme (or setting) that involves the U.S., the Shah, and SAVAK. Remember that a theme is not a plot summary or the simple statement of a topic. Instead it is a general statement that provides a brief summary of the literary work’s informing idea (or central meaning or message). All parts (or elements) of the work—characters, setting, symbolism, etc.–contribute to the theme.
For organizing your essay, use a specific thesis statement that lists the topics you will develop in the body of your essay (listed in the order you will discuss them). For example, if you were to write about the development of Pasha, you might list three ways in which he matures (or three new values he acquires). Or again, you might write about the symbolism of the stars and/or rose and/or seasons.
This paper should have the same structure as your in-class essays, but instead of writing one paragraph to support each topic of your specific thesis statement, you will write two or three. Paragraphs for a fairly short paper of this length should (as a general rule) range from about 100 to 150 words.
Be sure to support your argument with specific references to the text. Usually these should be short quotations of a few words (or a sentence) or very precise paraphrases of particular passages. Provide the page numbers in parenthetical citations. Demonstrate that you have read the book very carefully.
Follow the “Tips” sheets for style and organization.
Note well: Length = 1,200 words minimum, double-spaced.
(If you wish, you can email me your specific thesis statement on or before December 12, and I will check it for correctness of form. Don’t send me more than the thesis statement.)
2 Instead of writing on Rooftops, you may choose to make an interpretation of and important aspect of The Quiet American. If so, follow all of the above rules. As an example of a sample paper topic, you might—after first stating and developing the novel’s theme–discuss three important aspects of the character of Fowler or Pyle, showing how these contribute to the theme. Or you might discuss three aspects of the setting that will make it difficult or impossible for the U.S. to make a successful intervention. Or, again, you might briefly discuss the setting and the characters of Fowler and Pyle.
- Similarly, you might interpret an important aspect of How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia. Again, follow the instructions as listed above in #s 1 & 2.
- Imagine that you are Riverbend and write a letter to an American college student that presents three well-developed short arguments for why the U.S. should not have invaded Iraq or three criticisms that Riverbend makes of the U.S. invasion/occupation. Use a specific thesis statement to structure your letter. Draw upon particular passages in Baghdad Burning to support your arguments (and give the page numbers in parenthetical citations). You are expected to present Riverbend’s ideas, not your own.
- If you have an alternative topic (different from the above four) you would like to write about, feel free to propose it to me. The paper you suggest must include a close analysis of aspects of one or more of the class texts. Don’t write on an alternative topic unless I have given you permission.
Rooftops of Tehran