Literature Final Essay


Essay 4: Final Exam

This assignment is worth 10% of your overall course grade. Your essay should be 3-4 double-spaced pages, formatted in MLA style.

The final exam asks you to review reading that we've done throughout the course then select three texts to analyze. You will write an essay that makes an argument about a connection between the three texts. The connection you discuss may be a connection regarding theme, characters, setting, or another aspect of the three texts. You will be brainstorming as a class about possible connections among the texts we've read in this course. Then, your paper will focus on one of the ideas from this discussion.

Criteria for selecting your texts:

  • select one poem, one short story, and one play (because it cannot be a play that has been a focus of an essay, the play must be Trifles)
  • each must be a text that was the focus of one of our discussions
  • you may not select a text about which you already wrote an essay

Your essay will be a comparison and contrast essay. Your essay must focus on the similarities and differences among the three texts.


The assignment does not ask you to use any sources other than our own discussions and the play itself. When you refer to your classmates’ ideas, you should cite them by giving them credit by name in your sentence. If you have used any other sources in developing your ideas, you will need to cite those sources in your essay, in addition to citing the play itself and the discussions. If you are unsure of what needs to be cited, first review the lecture on Writing about Literature Ethically.html then ask me any questions that you have.

Your essay should do the following:

  • focus on an idea of your choice that comes from the brainstorming discussion
  • focus on comparisons and contrasts among the three texts; the essay should not be 3 mini-essays but should support an argument that analyzes the similarities and differences
  • the essay does not need to present an equal number of similarities and differences (it is usually best to focus primarily on one or the other); the essay should spend approximately equal amounts of time on the three texts
  • develop a claim and support that claim with details from the texts
  • show how your ideas come from specific details and use page numbers to reference these details
  • include a Works Cited entry that gives all of the information about your edition; this is especially important if you are using an edition other than the one assigned for this course – your page numbers cited in your essay will need to match the page numbers in the edition listed in your Works Cited entry


Successful essays will


  1. Introduce and identify the focus of the essay in the introduction.
  2. Employ a clear thesis statement that states your claim about the story and forecasts the organization of the essay.
  3. Address an audience of reader that are familiar with the story and author’s work but unfamiliar with your interpretation of it (in other words, you need not summarize the stories but you do need to be specific about which parts of the story you find important for supporting your claim).
  4. Follows the conventions for writing about drama.
  5. Organize the paper and each paragraph effectively, given the purpose and audience. See the lesson on The Essential Moves of Literary Analysis in Topic 3 for more information on organizing your paragraphs.
  6. Show your critical thinking about the story by supporting your ideas and paragraphs with
    1. Textual evidence in the form of quotations and details from the story to support interpretations, and
    2. Explication (explanation of your reasoning—how you understand and interpret the evidence).
  7. Use Standard Edited American English.
  8. Follow MLA formatting conventions.


 Instead of posting a response to the discussion, you will be completing an assignment to turn into a dropbox to help you prepare for the final exame essay. For this follow-up, you will chooose a possible essay idea from the discussion. It may be the one you posted initially, or it could be one that someone else posted that presents a topic that you would like to turn into an essay. Then, you will write an outline for your essay. The outline

  • will be approximately one page
  • will include the main points you think you will make in your essay
  • will include descriptions of the details or quotations that you plan to use to support your points, with page numbers
  • will also include a brief explanation of why you chose this topic (you might put this in the introduction or conclusion of the essay)
My choice of literature piece:
Jewlery, Trifle, and “I celebrate and sing myself” by Walt Whitman. 
Try to write an essay that follows the instructions please!
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