Acquaint yourself with a range of valid critical inquiries into different aspects of the text
Expand and deepen your understanding of the play through research/ reading critical literary essays
Use these critical essays as models for your own academic essay; apply appropriate insights from these examples about structure, argument, and academic tone
Integrate ideas, insights and evidence from one or both of your chosen two texts as sources for your Othello essay.
Using one of these readings is required; using both is optional.
Other acceptable sources to use for your paper, in addition to the critical database readings are the assigned videos from the Drama Unit and other assigned readings, etc. See Essay Instructions for details.
You will be reading two selections from the database and writing a two-paragraph summary/analysis for each one — a total of FOUR paragraphs. (Obviously, you are encouraged to read as many of these critical essays as you like to enlarge your understanding and stimulate your thinking about the play, and you’re welcome to use additional sources in your essay.) Remember that for your essay, you must also cite the play itself among your sources. See the formal essay instructions for details about sources, source types, and the Works Cited.
INSTRUCTIONS: (scroll to the bottom for the resources you’ll need for this journal)
STEP 1: READING from the Critical Database
TIP: Before choosing from the Othello Database of Critical Articles and Essays, first click some of them open and scan the first few paragraphs before deciding on the one(s) you want to read more closely – note that the subject matter and focus is not always clear just from the titles, so do not base your choices exclusively on titles.
The database readings vary widely in focus, tone, subject matter and approach to the play. Click open enough of them to get a sense of the variety.
Choose the first text related to YOUR TOPIC that you will summarize and analyze for this Journal. It might be one you plan to use as important background, or as direct support of your thesis, or as a counterargument to your thesis.
It’s important that you read attentively, as it will help you arrive at your own interpretation and ideas about the play, and that will be demonstrated in your essay.
STEP 2: WRITING a 2-paragraph response to Text #1
LAYOUT, FORMATTING & CITING:
Prepare the document in MLA format. Formatting counts
At the top, above your first paragraph, include an MLA citation (Links to an external site.)of the text you chose to write about – format it the way you would an entry on a Works Cited page. (Visit the Purdue OWL MLA Format Guide (Links to an external site.) for instructions and examples).
Label each paragraph with the appropriate boldface heading
Part 1: Summary
Part 2: Analysis
Paragraph 1: Summary (250-300 words):
In your well-written and well-developed first paragraph, you will present a concise, accurate and sufficiently detailed SUMMARY that accurately captures the thesis and main ideas in the critical reading. Remember the characteristics of an effective summary! It does not contain opinion; it should not be vague or overly general, and should include the most important information and details.
Identify and briefly explain the author’s subject matter, thesis and critical approach
Summarize the key points and the writer’s conclusion(s) Summaries DO include key details.
Include 1 quote from the article, cited properly, and that you’ve chosen for relevance to include in the summary paragraph. (Quotes should be integrated and cited properly, and be as short as possible while still conveying their intended point).
Paragraph 2: Analysis (300 words):
In your well-written and well-developed ANALYSIS paragraph, you will address the following tasks:
Consider the writer’s implicit and explicit arguments. Then assess the article’s or critical essay’s persuasiveness: What was most persuasive (or not) about the writer’s thesis and interpretation? Why?
What did you find most illuminating, unexpected, or thought provoking in this critical essay?
Is there a possible alternate viewpoint, counterargument, or other interpretation of the evidence that should be considered? Briefly discuss.
Was the writer’s argument shaped by a specific critical model? Identify whether it is a formalist, gender-masculinity-LGBT, feminist, or race-ethnicity-post-colonialism analysis, (or possibly a combination) and explain how you arrived at your conclusion (including if you decide that it was none of the above). Be specific. Explain your reasoning.
How does this writer’s interpretation/argument affect your understanding of and possibly your approach to the play? Briefly discuss.
Finally, assess the relevance of the essay to your chosen prompt. How is it relevant? Briefly explain. For your own essay, can you employ elements of the writer’s ideas in support of your thesis-in-progress or as counter-argument? Briefly explain.
STEP 3: Repeat the process above for your SECOND chosen reading.
When you’re done, your completed Journal assignment will consist of:
A) A two-paragraph summary and analysis of your chosen critical reading # 1 from the Database
B) A two-paragraph summary and analysis of your chosen critical reading #2 from the Database
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